Marvellous dystopian adventure.
Genre: Y/A, Science Fiction, GLBT
No. of pages: 278
What would you do to survive if your very existence were illegal?
Rowan is a second child in a world where population control measures make her an outlaw, marked for death. She can never go to school, make friends, or get the eye implants that will mark her as a true member of Eden. Her kaleidoscope eyes will give her away to the ruthless Center government.
Outside of Eden, Earth is poisoned and dead. All animals and most plants have been destroyed by a man-made catastrophe. Long ago, the brilliant scientist Aaron Al-Baz saved a pocket of civilization by designing the EcoPanopticon, a massive computer program that hijacked all global technology and put it to use preserving the last vestiges of mankind. Humans will wait for thousands of years in Eden until the EcoPan heals the world.
As an illegal second child, Rowan has been hidden away in her family’s compound for sixteen years. Now, restless and desperate to see the world, she recklessly escapes for what she swears will be only one night of adventure. Though she finds an exotic world, and even a friend, the night leads to tragedy. Soon Rowan becomes a renegade on the run.
‘Children of Eden’ really surprised me. It far exceeded my expectations. After reading some negative reviews, and the stigma of so many YouTube stars releasing books, many of which aren’t actually written by the celebrities entirely, the prospect of ‘Children of Eden’ was dim. Happy that I like to make up my mind for myself, because the premise, and diversity of the characters ultimately got me picking up this title and loving it.
Our protagonist Rowan is tough, tenacious, and carries the hope of a generation. Sometimes I felt her skills at surviving outweighed what she could have garnered hiding in the small family compound. But we don’t know our own strength until it is tested. And there was a lot at stake for Rowan, so many degrees of loss and responsibility both personal and global. They grow slowly as her awareness does.
I liked how sexuality was introduced here. Rowan is attracted to both Lark and Lachlan. And that’s it. She doesn’t come out as bisexual, just simply recognises her attraction without prejudice. Clear and simple. I appreciated it for its innocence and recognition of human development and exploration. And it doesn’t have to be anything more. She is on the cusp of discovering who she is and her place in the world.
Lark is a true rebel, having seen the worst of humanity, struggles to bring it all into the light. She has a compassion and maturity that belies her age.
After Rowan meets Lark, her dreams are turned into hope, and that hope is what inspires and drives the story forward and all the people around her.
Lachlan is the warrior, devoted to his cause, determined to bring about justice – but I think somewhere along the line after meeting Rowan, he sees a different future.
The landscape of Eden, and Eden2 (underground) is imaginative and delicious. Sometimes it felt a little too fantastical, but it teases that childlike muse, dreaming up magical places and held my attention, eager to uncover more. You can see the connection of Joey Graceffa’s fascination with crystals in the narrative.
We also get a lot of action – much more than I had anticipated. Plus, I really liked the writing style, such a turn of phrase and unexpected words used – it was refreshing.
However, the ending really threw me off – I honestly did not expect it. And the sneaky little cliff hanger… I’m anxious for a sequel, even though at the time of writing this review, no details have been released of another book to follow. But a girl can hope. I am definitely becoming a fan of this series and hope the writing and storyline only get better and better. I think it’s aimed more towards the younger end of the YA reader spectrum, but feel it possesses attitudes towards identity and sexual orientation everyone can appreciate in a subtle innocent way.
Overall feeling: Magical!
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