Soure: Received from author in exchange for an honest review
Though Eden’s Root is based on the premise of a global food shortage caused by the irresponsible application of science, the story spends little time on this aspect, choosing instead to focus on the characters and their relationships. Each member of Fi’s family proves both lovable and likeable, and the way they consciously make an effort to interact with each other respectfully and meaningfully sets this book apart from other angsty offerings. The characters drive the story and a desire to see their fates will keep readers turning pages.
Initially the amount of caring people left in a world literally falling apart before their eyes seems implausible. Cold logic, after all, suggests that the majority would place their own needs before those of others. Even Fi’s father leaves his girl with directions to learn to lie, steal, and fight if she wants to stay alive. He makes her promise she will save no one but her mother and sister. However, Fisher reminds readers that tragedy sometimes brings out the best in people. Although violence and panic predictably erupt when the world population realizes a catastrophe has occurred, many of the survivors recognize that they truly need each other. They put aside their differences sometimes to work together, sometimes simply because they are tired of the bloodshed. Fisher balances expertly between pessimism and optimism in her characterization, offering a world that is diverse and real.
The main characters exemplify this commitment to diversity as Fisher collects a group varied in age, race, and ability. She notes how each person contributes to the family and is valued, even if they do not possess the same skills. Though a post-apocalyptic world might seem to favor the young and the fit, especially those able to fight, the family celebrates all talents and contributions. Older members who cannot hunt or raid offer knowledge, childcare, or simply the rare ability to keep peace in a large, weary group. Younger members might know how to orienteer or they might simply offer a cheerful disposition. The family recognizes the intrinsic value of each person even as they ironically enact Food Laws allotting more sustenance to those they believe have the greater likelihood of surviving.
The one main flaw in characterization turns out to be the protagonist Fi. Her father entrusts her with the incredible responsibility of leading her family across the wilderness during post-apocalyptic madness when she is only thirteen. Fortunately, Fi proves an expert in martial arts and marksmanship and has a natural capacity for directing others that persuades a large group including adults to place themselves unquestioningly into her care. Quite simply, I didn’t buy it. Increasing Fi’s age by a few years and giving her some more time to train would make all the difference. Some tension over the family leadership when the journey becomes rough would also make the story more realistic.
Some editing to fix various grammar mistakes and to streamline the plot would improve the story immensely. Overall, however, Eden’s Root presents itself as a careful and professional work. The intriguing premised combined with the likeable characters will make readers eager to get their hands on the next installment.
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