Friday, November 11, 2011

Book Review: Dark Eden by Patrick Carman

Dark Eden by Patrick Carman

Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (November 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062009702
ISBN-13: 978-0062009708
Series: Dark Eden #1
Source: ARC provided by publisher
Cover: I really like the font and I think the colors on the wall are interesting but overall, this cover doesn't really mean anything. It fits the sort of dark overtones of the novel but I wish it was a bit more interesting.
First Sentence: Why are you hiding in this room all alone?

Mini-ReviewDark Eden is an exciting physiological thriller brimming with action!

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.

Dark Eden is an exciting physiological thriller brimming with action, unexpected twists and an unique but fascinating main character. The entire time I was trying to figure out the angle for Eden while watching what it did to its patients. While I could foresee something, others hit me with a curve ball and I was definitely not expecting the ending. But even better than the twisting and surprising plot was the impact that hits hard and true. In this surprising sincerity is where Dark Eden truly excels.

In the beginning, I just didn't really care about Will. I thought he was a different character with incredibly unique qualities but I just didn't feel emotionally connected with him. Maybe it was all his snooping in the beginning or his refusal to immerse himself in the program but I just didn't click with him. But as his resourcefulness came out and as he started taking very large risks to discover the truth behind Eden, I beginning to reach out. Then, when his big revelation came, I found that I was tremendously effected and really felt for him. As if over night, I'd started to feel for the guy who treats noise like most people treat their favorite food. I'm really glad that I was able to break through whatever was bothering me about him and start to connect with Will because he is a really great edition to a female saturated market.

I wish I'd gotten to know the other six kids in Dark Eden a little bit better. I was interested in their stories and what made them tick but because Alex chooses an alternative route to the regular treatment, we don't get to know very much about them . However, it is nice that each had their own fear and by the end, I could tell each kid apart. The other characters were interesting. I had no idea what Rainsford and the groundskeeper were up to and how Doctor Stevens played into all of the things going on.

The atmosphere of Eden really lende to the terrifying feel of the novel. Nestled deep into the woods and surrounded by crows, Eden is an old fort that goes very deep underground. The trapped feeling of the walls plus the darkness of the woods was very scary. I liked that with Will we got to see how the treatments were working and what the kids were afraid of. I did find that I had a problem though because I felt like Will was keeping information from the reader that he already knew. For instance, he knew what everyone was scared of before they ever started their journey but the reader only got to find out as it was happening to them. I'll admit that a lot of the reason I read was to find out for myself but I found it frustrating that our main character was sharing information earlier. 

Without revealing too much, I'll say that I had no idea where the story was going. Though the story starts off a bit slow, the ending makes up for it. After Will finds out the secrets behind Eden, it makes the entire thing thatm uch more creepy. I've read some reviews where people have said that they didn't like what Eden was hiding, that it wasn't believable. For me, it added to the story, expanding it in a way I didn't think was possible for the novel. That makes the slow beginning worth it. I also like how the story is told in small bits of conversation, borrowed notes and sometimes straight first person. It gives it an organic feel and the fact that is broken up with pictures is also a fun detail.

Though I haven't yet, I plan to check out the animated website that goes along with this novel and see if it adds anything to an already interesting novel. Bottom line is Will is a great new voice, the plot is unexpected and the concept is killer. If the study of fear and/or adventure is your thing, Dark Eden is definitely a novel to check out.



  1. This sounds great- thanks for the review. I wasn't too sure about this one but now it has definitely bumped up my wishlist.

  2. Wonderful review! I also really enjoyed this and I agree with the characters. I didn't click with Will until he got to the institution either. And I agree the setting and the website images really make this book creppy!

    Xpresso Reads

  3. I have this one waiting for me to-read. My blogger friend gave me her ARC...but I just haven't gotten around to reading it yet!


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