YA Reads Book Reviews's Reviews > Eden

Eden by Keary Taylor
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Dec 08, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: kiona

First, let me draw your attention to the incredibly beautiful cover. It was impossible for this cover not to catch my eye. As a self-published author, the cover design was left up to Keary Taylor and she truly did an amazing job with an image that leaps off the shelves. And now, onto the review. Eve doesn’t remember anything before the Fall. As far as she knows, her life began when she was thirteen, found by Avian, Sarah, and Tye. The three of them are the only family Eve knows and together they live in a safe haven for perhaps the only humans left alive, Eden. That is, until West, Victoria, and Brady show up.

Now eighteen, Eve recognizes that she’s different from the other inhabitants of Eden. She’s fast, strong, rarely tires, and feels kind of disconnected — emotionally. She doesn’t think she knows what love is, even when it comes to simply loving her best friends and “family.” Yet as she spends more time with West, she finds he awakens certain emotions in her. But for someone who has only ever known life in Eden, how can she learn to trust an outsider? Especially since Avian is suddenly vying for her affection; Avian, whose very presence calms Eve and who understands her better than anyone else. Neither West nor Avian want to push Eve, but it’s clear she has a decision to make.

At first, Eden reminded me of Stephanie Meyer’s The Host, but with non-stop action and a more likable protagonist. Eve is a strong, independent, and utterly selfless heroine. She is so busy taking care of everyone else that she neglects her own feelings. When her inner conflict regarding West and Avian begins, she thinks avoiding the situation will make it go away. She piles on more and more work, leaving barely enough time to even sleep. But it’s impossible for her to ignore the two men. She’s drawn to each one for completely different reasons. This is why the love triangle in Eden appealed to me so much. Eve’s conflicting emotions are completely warranted as she shares common interests with both of her suitors. There is no obviously apparent or “right” choice. It truly seems like she could be happy with either guy and I was right there with her, confused as to who she should pick. Keary Taylor does a great job of opening up Eve’s mind to the reader, allowing us to slip effortlessly into her thoughts. She’s not only a protagonist you can respect, but also one you can identify with.

While the love triangle dominates a majority of the book, the plot is in no way slighted or overlooked. Eden is four hundred pages of glorious characterization, world-building, suspense, breathtaking twists, and heart-pounding action. The post-apocalyptic United States is described in visceral, frighteningly believable detail. The science and mechanical details behind the Fall and the Fallen are innovative and so intriguing. It’s impossible to put the book down because you just want to know more and more — how, why, when? Taylor doles out the answers to these questions, but sparingly, building up the suspense until the very last page.

Personally, I loved the ending to Eden. First of all, I was satisfied with Eve’s choice. Second, even though Eden is meant as a standalone novel, I appreciated the open-ended conclusion. It does leave some questions unanswered and Taylor could easily write a sequel with this incredible world she’s created, but since she’s not planning on it, the openness of the ending leaves room for your imagination, for you to continue the story for yourself. Some books don’t do this well, but I think Eden pulls it off.

At times, I feel like Eve’s inner dialogue unnecessarily rehashes the same thoughts over and over. But since these new feelings are so overwhelming and all-consuming, I can see where she’s coming from. The characters’ dialogue also seems oddly formal and forced, sometimes. It can be hard to get through those occasional formal bouts, as they’re distracting in how noticeable they are, but once they pass, it’s easy to fall back into the story. Still, I definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves insane world-building, intricate love stories, and the idea of technology growing too powerful. Eden does an excellent job of dealing with themes of what it means to human, where we draw the lines of morality and ethics, selflessness vs selfishness, and acceptance. If you’re looking for a completely new world to jump into, try Eden.
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