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.