Fifteen-year-old Will Besting is sent by his doctor to Fort Eden, an institution meant to help patients suffering from crippling phobias. Once there, Will and six other teenagers take turns in mysterious fear chambers and confront their worst nightmares—with the help of the group facilitator, Rainsford, an enigmatic guide. When the patients emerge from the chamber, they feel emboldened by the previous night's experiences. But each person soon discovers strange, unexplained aches and pains. . . . What is really happening to the seven teens trapped in this dark Eden?
Patrick Carman's Dark Eden is a provocative exploration of fear, betrayal, memory, and— ultimately—immortality.
In One Word ~ Confused
I think my one word summary pretty much explains my thoughts on Dark Eden. I wasn't confused by the storyline, it wasn't hard to follow. I wasn't confused by the characters, their reactions or motivations. I was confused by my complete lack of feeling toward this book.
I'm an emotional creature. If you've ever read my reviews, you'll know that. I'm dramatic, emphatic, prone to extreme reactions when it comes to reading. If I love a book, I will shout it through the blogosphere. I've been known to cry (sob actually) while reading a book. I cried last night while writing a review for a book that I loved. So, I was caught totally off-guard about my reaction, or lack thereof, for Dark Eden. I just kept reading and waiting for that moment when the book would suck me in. It simply never came. There was a moment towards the end of the book where main character, Will's,
big, dramatic secret was revealed. I'm sure I was supposed to be shocked by that moment. I simply thought "Huh" and turned the page.
I think the main reason I had very little reaction to the characters and what they went through was because there was very little background given into their pasts. I knew they all had debilitating phobias, but there was nothing there that made me actually care. The barest glimpse into the psyche of each character, Will excluded, was given. And to be honest, I felt little more treatment was given to him. Shouldn't I at least know and care about the main character of the book? I think so.
Another aspect of the book that really bothered me was the ending, the motivation given to the man behind all the machinations at Eden camp. It felt rushed, completely off-base and not very well explained. When I read this, I just felt...disappointed.
I know that I have given several reasons why I didn't like Dark Eden. I absolutely hate when I have to write a review like this. But if I can't be honest, what's the point. I will give a couple of positives, though. While I didn't care for some parts of the story, I do like the author's style. Much of the book was extremely easy to read, with a nice pace. Dark Eden is an extremely quick read. The idea in general was a good one. If I could have really gotten behind the story, it could have been fantastic.
"That's the way it is with secrets. They pile on top of the other until it's like a house of cards that
requires a lot of work to maintain."
Hardcover, 336 pages
Expected publication: November 1st 2011 by HarperCollins Children's Books
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*I received an ARC of Dark Eden from Harper Teen, in exchange for an honest review.*