When Eden discovers he possesses forbidden magic, keeping his affair with the crown prince a secret becomes the least of his worries.
Eden has always obeyed the laws of Rolaria. He spends his days teaching children how to read in order to distract him from his mother’s bizarre disappearance. She worked in the castle before suddenly vanishing, and when Eden mistakenly receives an invitation to the Royal Ball, he goes to feel closer to her.
That same night, Prince Jared must find a bride. But after an unexpected encounter between Eden and the prince, a relationship begins. After a night with the prince, Eden explores the castle on his own. Lost in the corridors, he stumbles upon a hidden room and finds his mother’s journal, whose pages reveal a lineage of outlawed magic.
He soon realizes the castle walls not only hide his romance with Jared but secrets about his mother’s disappearance. In order to unravel the mystery and understand his awakening abilities, Eden must risk exposing his relationship and thwarting Jared’s chances to rule Rolaria.
The closer Eden gets to the truth, the closer he finds himself facing the same fate as his mother.
Brandon Goode grew up in the small beach town of Melbourne, Florida. He attended Eastern Florida State College and Florida International University. He has written for publications such as Florida Today, Florida International University Student Media, and the Disney Internships and Programs Blog. Brandon loves motivating and inspiring others, enjoys traveling, and eats an insanely amount of sushi. Oh, and he is obsessed with all things on the Bravo network.
The author headlines it as a "Cinderella" retelling but, I found it like a mix of a lot of classic fairy tales and the style is similar in the manner of Brother's Grimm tales. I'm a visual artist and I found myself mentally illustrating all the beautiful settings/scenes Goode described.
One of my favorite aspects of the tale was how it intersects Eden's struggles with his sexuality with his powers, which I see as a well-fitting juxtaposition in relaying the complexities of both.
I don't want to spoil it but, I sincerely recommend this story to any and all looking for a fresh take on fantasy.
I'm giving THE SECRETS OF EDEN 4.5 stars out of 5.
As a reader: This is a SOLID 5 star story! It is such a uniquely voiced retelling of Cinderella. It has brilliant LGBTQIA rep, a wonderful love story, action, magic and fun dialogue. It's warmhearted, with just a touch of malevolence. Due to a recent move and some oral surgery it took me some extended time to finish this amazing novel, but that is NO reflection on the book itself. It was all I could think about in my down time and I'm so glad I finally had the chance to see how it ends. The prolonged suspense was killing me... Though it may have made me enjoy it even more!
As a writer: I gave this 4 stars. Now, I have a rule of thumb for independently published works. I do NOT hold them to the same fire I hold big 5 and mass produced books to. Though there were some grammar/edit errors, there was nothing that pulled me out of the novel. I'm actually ecstatic that this was independently published as the brilliant concept of a POC queer retelling of Cinderella like this would have been watered down and butchered by an agented, published atmosphere. This is a work of fiction that this industry needed, as far as I'm concerned.
My only real knock (making it 4 stars) is the format. It was 1st person POV for most of the novel, but it slipped into dual POV toward the end. In my opinion, I would have loved to have seen MORE dual POV from beginning to end. Jared is such a typical/not typical leading alpha male character that I would have killed for more of his perspective. And I wouldn't have changed a single thing about Eden. He's perfect!
That's it. I loved this novel and will recommend it to just about EVERYONE EVERYWHERE because it's beautiful, fun and desperately needed in the year 2017.
P.S. My favorite character, by the way, was the Queen. But I have a thing for, well, no spoilers.
To be honest, I almost didn't finish this book. If I could rate the plot and message alone, it would be five stars. The writing, especially towards the end, feels like there was no editing whatsoever. The characters were pretty one-dimensional, until maybe the penultimate chapter when the villain is revealed. Even after the ending, I could barely remember anything about the characters besides how the protagonist felt about them. But the ending was overall boring and felt extremely rushed. This book feels like a really, really rough first draft. I was disappointed because the story is so good and had such a beautiful message, but the redeeming qualities of this book are overshadowed by the terrible writing. The setting and magic of the book are really interesting, especially as more backstory is introduced. Unfortunately the only interesting scenes, such as the chapters about Eden's mother's journal, were almost unreadable. There is another scene where Eden finds magic books that correlate to different powers and I swear I had to take breaks because the writing was infuriating. The phrase "magic books" was used so many times in one paragraph that I started playing a drinking game for every time I saw these words and my beer was gone in less than two pages. The author isn't even bad, but it truly feels like they wrote it and never looked at it again and then published it. I can't express how annoying it was to finish this book. I was literally crossing words out with pencil and writing angry comments in the margins. Please please please Brandon Goode, hire an editor!!! And if an editor did in fact work on this book, fire them immediately.
I was privileged to read an advance copy of "The Secrets of Eden", and I was so moved by the story. I could not put the book down because I wanted to see what came next. It is a beautiful love story with twists. Brandon Goode is a great writer that draws the reader into his story. The imagery he creates of this story is emotionally moving. I highly recommend this book.
The thing with Brandon Goode writing is that when you start "The Secrets of Eden" you just need to keep reading until the book is finished. From the very beginning, I was hooked to every page of this book. The setting is beautiful and the characters are very memorable. But what I loved most about "The Secrets of Eden", is the way I really started to care for the characters and felt like I knew them.
I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of this book and when I got it I knew nothing about it. I didn't even know what it was about. I was going in completely blind and it turned out to be a great read. The author has created a world where love, magic, and of course a little evil exist. His writing is detailed and it comes to life as you read. I loved all the little twists it took and he kept your attention by bringing the unexpected in. The characters were well developed and you couldn't help but fall in love with the main character of Eden and Prince Jared. You can feel their emotions coming from the story and that made it even more appealing. I look forward to seeing more come from this author and can't wait to see how he will grow as a writer.
2, 5 stars. Its a good consept! I really like that its centered around homosexsuality! But after reading the book i still dont feel like i know the characters.. Not even Eden, the main character! I wish the story was more detailed and that i would somehow grow to love the characters more.. the author writes beautifully.. and describes the surroundings so much so, that i can almost smell the scene.. i wish that he would have used as much time with the details of the story! The story need more time. More small details. Its like he just wanted to write a book and got tierd into the first pages and just needed to finish it quickly...
This story is an absolute must read.... I don't want to say too much and give away any important parts of this incredible story but know that it is an original storyline but not so out of the ordinary that it throws you off. It is filled with lovable characters, and characters you want to strangle, it has happiness, anger., love, and heartbreak. It has mystery and magic, who doesn't love mystery and magic???? It has all the components that makes a memorable stick with you book ❤️ It is a storyline that is much needed and I am so happy Brandon Goode wrote this
Fun concept but the writing was, I'm sorry to say, awful. Incredibly clunky with typos, grammatical errors, flat characters with no development, insta-romance without any chemistry or connection, numerous inconsistencies, poor world building, I could go on but you get the picture. With more revisions and a thorough edit it could probably have been good - I could see potential in what was there, it just needed more work.
A well-intentioned and sweet book that could have used an editor. So much of the book's grammar and syntax drove me crazy that I almost didn't finish it. I decided to push through after the library courtesy renewed it for a second time.
The story is lovely, for the most part, although why is the antagonist of every gay love story a woman? Mysoginist much? It's a romance with some super-hero-style action, good story for teens of all ages, I would guess, although if you're uncomfortable with your teens reading about implicit sex scenes, or they're uncomfortable with reading them, skip it. I like how the author holds up healthy relationships, therapy, and the resilence of orphaned children.
Contains off-stage murder if that makes you squeamish.
I recommend the editor of this book work with the author to release a second edition, correct the grammatical errors and typos (I mean they are REALLY distracting), and market it. It's not a Pulitzer, but it's worth a red.
I absolutely LOVED this book! The author really draws you in from the beginning of the story and you really dive into the fantasy world he has created. I couldn’t put the book down, because I just wanted to keep exploring and learning about the characters and different lands. Then it REALLY became even more of a page turner toward the end of the book when it took a huge unexpected turn. I’ve read this book over and over again, and I’m finding more I love about the story every time I read it. I can’t wait for more books to come from Brandon Goode!
I really liked this book! I think the plot and general storytelling was great, and the writing was beautifully done. My only critique has to do with dialogue. I felt like it was repetitive and just... unnatural? Like Eden would say something and then Jared would restate the sentence before answering like it was a quiz. There was also no room for implication. I think it could definitely fit in middle-grade books as well. However, I think the overall story was great! I enjoyed it and the ~twist was well done!
This is only receiving two stars because it’s actually a really good idea/concept - sadly it is woefully written. Spelling and grammar mistakes throughout, missing words, frankly just poor and clunky writing. The whole thing feels rushed, the characters don’t really develop and the timescale it takes place in is unrealistic - also the time period is unclear. With a LOT more work put in this could be an amazing book, but in its present form it’s nowhere close.
I had to DNF this. The love interest was a fuck boy, not very intelligent, and just a general ass. I could ignore the romance if t wasn't basically the only plot besides the magic element which was very much just info dumping about this culture that we don't even get to see. I'm not rating because this is just totally not my kind of book, at all. If you're looking for a generic het romance between two guys, you've got it. If you're looking for fantasy worlds, you might just want to look somewhere else.