Monday, October 31, 2011

Review ~ Dark Eden, by Patrick Carman

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.
(From GoodReads)

My Review

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.

Favorite Quote:

"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                      
Find Dark Eden at GoodReads.
Purchase Dark Eden at:
Barnes & Noble (Best Price) |  Amazon  |  Book Depository
*I received an ARC of Dark Eden from Harper Teen, in exchange for an honest review.*


  1. I keep seeing this one float around, but the description doesn't really scream to me. I think I may pass on this one due to that, and based on your review... My gut kept telling me it was a bleh book, you confirmed. lol

  2. Too bad the story wasn't as good as you'd hoped. This might be an instance where back story is king. Sounds like if the author had included more background about the characters, their goals, conflicts, and motivations, it would have been a lot better. Oh well. Win some and lose some!

  3. I've seen some reviews of this book, but I'm not sure it's my style, so I probably won't be picking it up. I'm an emotional reader too - I love being emotionally involved in a story and I'm the type to bawl my eyes out and have tears falling all over the pages and messing them up! haha! Thanks for your honest review! :)

    Liza @ Book Crook Liza

  4. Have you given the app version of the book a try? I found it very compelling and was caught up with the characters since I could see them and hear their voices. Check it out:

  5. SBroel,

    That's a great thought. I may try that at some point. I'm sure it helps build a better connection. Thank you!

  6. Well, I think it's great that you give negative reviews sometimes, because this way I know I can trust your opinion on books. You just say it like it is, and that's how it ought to be.

    It's a great review, and I'm an emotional reader, too. The best books are always the ones that make me feel my emotions very strongly, or even give me emotions I've never had before.

  7. I have been on the fence about this book. I need a book to make me feel something for me to enjoy it. I am sorry you did not like Dark Eden, but thank you for the honest review.


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