Revealing Eden by Victoria Foyt
Published January 10, 2012 by Sand Dollar Press, Inc
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Eden Newman must mate before her 18th birthday in six months or she’ll be left outside to die in a burning world. But who will pick up her mate-option when she’s cursed with white skin and a tragically low mate-rate of 15%? In a post-apocalyptic, totalitarian, underground world where class and beauty are defined by resistance to an overheated environment, Eden’s coloring brands her as a member of the lowest class, a weak and ugly Pearl. If only she can mate with a dark-skinned Coal from the ruling class, she’ll be safe. Just maybe one Coal sees the Real Eden and will be her salvation her co-worker Jamal has begun secretly dating her. But when Eden unwittingly compromises her father’s secret biological experiment, she finds herself in the eye of a storm and thrown into the last area of rainforest, a strange and dangerous land. Eden must fight to save her father, who may be humanity’s last hope, while standing up to a powerful beast-man she believes is her enemy, despite her overwhelming attraction. Eden must change to survive but only if she can redefine her ideas of beauty and of love, along with a little help from her “adopted aunt” Emily Dickinson.
The story is about a world, presumably in the future, where humans have used the earth to the full extent. Now humans live in the catacombs of an over-heated planet. Due to the melanin in darker skin, it is now especially prized and pale skinned people, or pearls, are seen as a lower class. Coals, or dark skinned people, are the rulers of this new world, since they are better able to deal with the harsh sun, and therefore survive. Eden, our heroine, is a pearl who works in a bio-engineering lab where her father is the the head bio-engineer. In 6 months, if she doesn’t mate and prove that she can carry on the species, she will be killed.
The book has a lot of potential. It tried to set up a world where color of your skin was important not just for social class, but for fundamental survival. Where the government had control of each person. Who they mated with and when, or at least by when. Where everyone was kept on a constant stream of drugs to keep the people happy. Where there is constantly a voice in your head telling you what to do, think, feel, due to a life-band that each person keeps on them at all times, to ensure survival. Intrigued? So was I.
But I did have some problems with the book. I felt like the world building wasn’t sufficient for me. Everything was just set up in the first chapter or two. All at once I was thrust into this world. It took me a while to get my barrings and figure out what was going on. I felt that I had many questions about the world, and how it came to be, that were never really answered. But my biggest issue was that I just couldn’t connect to the characters. Eden, our heroine, was so self absorbed that I couldn’t feel for her. She constantly, over and over and over again, put herself in known dangerous situations, with no reasonable explanation for her actions. I understand that we are supposed to see her evolution from a self-centered, sheltered girl to this woman who can take care of herself and her loved ones. Except I never really felt her really evolve that much. Or maybe I was just so disconnected by the end that I just gave up hope on her.
Final thought: I thought that the idea behind the book had potential, but the many questions I was left with didn’t allow me to fully appreciate it.
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