Series: Dark Eden #1
Published by Broadway Books on April 1, 2014
Genres: Science fiction
*This book was provided by the Publisher for review. No compensation was provided and all opinions are strictly my own.
On the alien, sunless planet they call Eden, the 532 members of the Family shelter beneath the light and warmth of the Forest’s lantern trees. Beyond the Forest lie the mountains of the Snowy Dark and a cold so bitter and a night so profound that no man has ever crossed it.
The Oldest among the Family recount legends of a world where light came from the sky, where men and women made boats that could cross the stars. These ships brought us here, the Oldest say—and the Family must only wait for the travelers to return.
But young John Redlantern will break the laws of Eden, shatter the Family and change history. He will abandon the old ways, venture into the Dark…and discover the truth about their world.
Already remarkably acclaimed in the UK, Dark Eden is science fiction as literature; part parable, part powerful coming-of-age story, set in a truly original alien world of dark, sinister beauty--rendered in prose that is at once strikingly simple and stunningly inventive.
Not about aliens…boo, but anyway…
Jumping into Dark Eden is like jumping into a freezing swimming pool. The language takes some getting used to and it takes some time for the water to start feeling warmer. Wollybuck? Slip? Buckfat? What the hell do these words mean? Don’t worry, you’ll find out and it will all start to make more sense as you read along. I did love the changing of words like: Veekle = Vehicle, Any Virsry = Anniversary, Rayard Yo = Radio. I also liked the different interpretations of stories, like Hitler killing Jesus and how Angela and Tom came from planet earth. Those were done really well and added to the elements of this created world.
The writing style is really simplistic and honestly, I really craved some description. There was not enough in my opinion, especially on what the shelters looked like and what the people looked like. Turns out they aren’t aliens; they’re humans that evolved somehow…with batfaces or claw feet or some looking perfectly normal.
The worldbuilding was wonderful aside from that mentioned above and all of my questions were answered, surprisingly. There is also a lot of underlying biblical themes (conservative vs. liberal interpretations of “Mother Angela”) as well as the idea of loss of innocence (introduction to sex and violence at a young age). It reminds me a lot of Lord of the Flies except taking place on another planet.
There’s my nice portion of the review. Now prepare for the rants below on why even with all those good things, I didn’t like this one.
John is the main MC. John is apparently beautiful and every girl and their mothers (literally) wants his “baby juice”…seriously, that’s what they call it. He wants something more in life than just staying in the same old routine, living in the community (where everyone is related as they all spawned from the great Tom and Angela who landed from earth) called Family. He is:
“Restless and empty inside and hungry for something more than just ordinary things”
…people never questioned their way of life. They stayed in the same marked spot, waiting for earth to come back and pick them all up again. Waiting for hundreds of years for something to happen.
“Family, our miserable, bitter, lonely Family, full of stupid people, full of hateful, disappointed people, full of sour people, full of ignorant people who never thought anything through for themselves”
Finally, John decides to question everything and then goes off on his own. This is his constant persona (and it was really quite annoying at times).
Tina was so unrealistic it pissed me off on multiple occasions. Y’know how I complain about women not writing good male POVs? Well I guess, men are the same way with women (in this case). Here’s one occasion: John rips Tina’s clothes off and has sex with her…her POV is in the next chapter and she doesn’t bring it up at all!! I mean any sensible woman would think: a) WTF? I can’t believe that just happened. b) wow, that was hot. c) well, that was fast/quick d) ew, wtf, he practically raped me or e) a mess of emotions with all the above. Also, I got confused on which POV it was, because she sounded so similar to John. I had to look back to make sure who’s chapter I was on.
Every other character didn’t really make much of an impression.
What really bothered me was the amount of crap I had to put up with when reading these female characters. I’ve only read one other Sci-Fi this year, Red Rising, (if you read it) you know all those strong confident mind-blowing women in that novel? Yeah, picture every opposite trait and put it in all the of the women in this story and you get…
Women who are horny all the fricking time, ignorant, weak-minded, whimpy and/or scared, when one actually speaks up she’s hushed away, just there for breeding, and would “slip” with anyone with a motherfricking penis. There is not one strong female in this story! NOT ONE. Even Tina, who disagrees with John is hushed away and she proceeds to sleep with three different guys (has babies with two different ones?!). Don’t get me started on Bella or Martha or any other stupid woman in this. There all a bunch of horndogs and babymakers.
The ending came full circle, but there was also a huge part that was left completely ambiguous?!
It was very unsatisfying for me…but you can pick it up for yourself and see if it’s worth reading.
Also, I was annoyed annoyed with the emphasis on the repeating of the same same word to get someone’s point point across. This repeating was sprinkled throughout the whole book. And so was “Harry’s dick” and “Gela’s tits” and others in replacement of curse words (just thought I’d mention it).
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