Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Review: After Eden (After Eden #1) by Helen Douglas

Firstly, thanks to Bloomsbury Australia for this review copy <3

Date Read: November 28 - 30 2013
Date Released: January 1st 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury Australia
Source: ARC via publisher
Genre: Sci-fi/time travel
My Rating: 

"When mysterious new boy Ryan Westland shows up at her school Eden Anfield is intrigued. On the face of it, he's a typical American teenager. So how come he doesn't recognise pizza and hasn't heard of Hitler? What puzzles Eden most, however, is the interest he's taking in her.

As Eden falls in love with Ryan, she stumbles across a book in Ryan's bedroom - a biography of her best friend - written fifty years in the future. Unravelling Ryan's secret, she discovers he has one unbelievably important purpose ... and she might just have destroyed his only chance of success."


I’m not quite sure how I feel about After Eden. I’d wanted to read this since hearing about it in 2012 but the Australian release date kept getting pushed back; by the time I got my hands on this I think the hype just sort of died and I wasn’t as excited to read it anymore. There was also the issue that I’d read another time travel book before this, and the former really blew me away. I couldn’t help but compare the two which meant After Eden wasn’t as great as I wanted it to be.

In a small English town, new kid, beautiful and mysterious Ryan, is drawn to seemingly ordinary Eden. As the two become closer questions arise, friendships are tested, and there don’t seem to be enough answers for Ryan’s presence and his mysterious ways.

Eden was so bland and boring. She’s not ambitious or strong, just sort of goes with the flow with wherever life is taking her. A lot of the time I thought she was lost in her own little world, going about her daily life in the here and now and not thinking at all about her future. I guess that’s alright given that I didn’t really know what I wanted to do after high school, but the fact that she doesn’t care… well it made me not care for her. I couldn’t really relate to her.

Ryan was sweet I guess. I liked that he wasn’t damaged or broken. However, his secrets and mysteriousness coupled with how keen he was on Eden made me just a little wary. Let’s be honest, in real life, his enthusiasm would border on obsession and I just wasn’t as ok with that as I wanted to be.

In the face of the actual plot dealing with time travel, I thought After Eden lacked the focus it should’ve had on this aspect and instead concentrated too much on the high school life. I got none of the impending rush or doom that usually accompanies a revelation of this scale. For ¾ of this I felt like I was watching everything on mute, or through a hazy veil which significantly dulled my emotions and response to this book.

I really liked the astronomy aspect to this book – it gave it a very romantic feeling. Instead of accentuating the time travel and supposed seriousness of the plot though, I thought this took away from the point of the book and made it a fluffy high school read.

Not much else to say because I just have this sense of ennui after reading this book. Hopefully the sequel holds more promise.

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