Book Review – ‘Rebels of Eden’ (#3 Children of Eden) by Joey Graceffa and Laura L. Sullivan

Richly themed sci-fi with slow pacing.

Rebels of Eden (#3 Children of Eden) Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Science Fiction, LGBT

No. of pages: 384

From Goodreads:

Rowan is finally in Harmonia, an Earth-friendly, sustainable commune in the wilderness she always thought was dead. Even in this idyllic world, she finds no peace. Harmonia has strict rules—and dire consequences. Thinking about Eden is forbidden, but she’s determined to rescue the loved ones she left behind. Though they are in terrible danger, her pleas for help are ignored.

After months of living as one with nature, a shocking reminder of her past pushes Rowan to act. With the help of new friends, she infiltrates Eden. What she discovers is even worse than the situation she left behind. In the chaos of civil war, Rowan and her friends join forces with the second children and other rebels trapped inside. They fight for their lives, and for the future of humanity in this broken Earth.

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The end to the trilogy brought about in formidable sci-fi finesse. It took me a good long while to get into ‘Rebels of Eden.’ Again out protagonist Yarrow/Rowan is in completely unfamiliar territory and a new place with new characters. It was disorientating. I found it hard to connect with her when we had a new world to build… only to have is thrown aside when we return to familiar ground introduced in the debut ‘Children of Eden.’

The concept of this trilogy does not feel all too original. And some aspects and symbolism introduced in ‘Elites of Eden’ were not addressed at all. While this trilogy is entertaining, fairly well written, and mostly engaging; it was well… messy. The main storyline did not feel strong or episodic for each instalment for this series. For the most part the plot makes sense and the main points are resolved, but not in a poignant, neat way that I’m used to in most of my science fiction reads. Maybe skill will come as Joey Graceffa grows as an author.

The writing style felt a lot different to the start as well. Again, I don’t know if this is down to Graceffa’s evolving style as he gains experience, or a different collaboration of team members behind the scenes in delivering this book to publication. It lacked the wide-eyed wonder and innocence of its prequels, and was frequently lost to long and unnecessary exposition.

Rebels of Eden (#3 Children of Eden) Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

We get a more determined and together Yarrow/Rowan for a protagonist, and for the most part I liked her strength. There were too many situations that lost their realism for me. And I didn’t feel a strong connection to her past.  But on the whole, character development and character arcs are much better in this conclusion than I’ve come to expect from prior in the series. You can get a sense of Graceffa gaining mastery of the elements of crafting a story here.

I did feel like the pacing was way off until the last 80-50 pages. This was a real difficult one to get into. I have never put down a novel so often. In the end I pushed myself through just the get it finished. But I enjoyed the ending. Somewhat anti-climactic, but hit all the right notes to fill me with satisfaction.

I have a big soft spot for the themes, diverse characters, and technology explored in this series, all the while touting the importance of the environment and connection to the earth; but I feel like the series needs to be developed and worked on a bit more. All the elements are there to make this a truly outstanding collection, but it just didn’t quite get there. But it has left me excited to see what comes next from Graceffa. He has a great imagination, can build tension, write interesting characters and explores fun themes.

Overall feeling: Felt like a long journey but finally got there.

Rebels of Eden (#3 Children of Eden) Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Rebels of Eden (#3 Children of Eden) Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

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© Casey Carlisle 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – ‘Elites of Eden’ (#2 Children of Eden) by Joey Graceffa and Laura L. Sullivan

Starts off a bit disorientating but brings it home in the end.

Elites of Eden (#2 Children of Eden) Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Science Fiction, GLBT

No. of pages: 289

From Goodreads:

Two girls, one destiny.

Yarrow is an elite: rich, regal, destined for greatness. She’s the daughter of one of the most powerful women in Eden. At the exclusive Oaks boarding school, she makes life miserable for anyone foolish enough to cross her. Her life is one wild party after another…until she meets a fascinating, lilac-haired girl named Lark.

Meanwhile, there is Rowan, who has been either hiding or running all her life. As an illegal second child in a strictly regulated world, her very existence is a threat to society, punishable by death…or worse. After her father betrayed his family, and after her mother was killed by the government, Rowan discovered a whole city of people like herself. Safe in an underground sanctuary that also protected the last living tree on Earth, Rowan found friendship, and maybe more, in a fearless hero named Lachlan. But when she was captured by the government, her fate was uncertain.

When these two girls discover the thread that binds them together, the collision of memories means that their lives may change drastically—and that Eden may never be the same..

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This book was disorientating at the start and it took 100 pages to figure out what the heck was going on. There was no connection to the prequel ‘Children of Eden’ at all. But when the story got going it was a doozy. I really enjoyed the second half of this book.

I feel character development and relationships were sacrificed for action. While I was totally engrossed with all the goings-on, there were many missed opportunities to build attachments to the main cast.

Yarrow/Rowan still possess that adventurous spirit‎, a dash of naivety, and a whole lot of spunk, but I wanted a bit more from her in this instalment. She doesn’t really get a chance to do much for herself, she’s caught up in a whirlwind of colour, action, and espionage that it felt like she was treading water in a rough sea.

I loved Lark’s role in ‘Elites of Eden,’ but felt like the story changed gears as soon as things started to get interesting. Lachlan wasn’t so prevalent and felt more like a prop to the storyline. With both of these characters as potential love interest for Yarrow/Rowan it added tension and a strained group dynamic. But we don’t delve too much beyond attraction and measuring a person’s worth – there’s none of that real world politics and social pressure leaving the interactions in their purest form.

Elites of Eden (#2 Children of Eden) Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

There are some banger twists and turns, none of which I predicted. It ends on a note that had me saying ‘What tha!’ out loud, and both excited to read what comes next. The story is not done yet. And now with the finale to this trilogy ‘Rebels of Eden’ already released, I’ve got it in my shopping cart for my next book haul.

The writing style possesses a charm all of its own, an innocence, but overall the narrative felt choppy because of the departure from the first novel, and then lots of action after re-establishing itself. I loved all the plot points and am invested and intrigued, but this was a harder book to get into.

On a personal note I wish there was a little more hype and hint about this series – a year with nothing and then a release with little to no fanfare… I was eager for more and surprised that with such a prolific author in the social media scene that Keywords did not market the novel more thoroughly. Maybe they thought his notoriety would sell it for them?

Overall feeling: intrigued but underwhelmed

Elites of Eden (#2 Children of Eden) Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Elites of Eden (#2 Children of Eden) Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

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© Casey Carlisle 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – ‘Children of Eden’ by Joey Graceffa and Laura L. Sullivan

Marvellous dystopian adventure.

Children of Eden Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Science Fiction, GLBT

No. of pages: 278

From Goodreads:

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.

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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!

Children of Eden Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

Children of Eden Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

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© Casey Carlisle 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

#bookporn

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Finished this novel last month and was surprisingly impressed – looking forward to the next in the series (though there is no news of it yet.) Review to come soon.

Baillie loves his science fiction too – I always catch him stealing my books.