If the world needed another Young Adult novel “written” by a celeb, what better YA novel to produce than a dystopian? Make that dystopian with a generic “people suck” reasoning for the end of the world – and you have yourself the next bestseller. Because we need more of these…in our lives! </sarcasm> Let me introduce you to Children of Eden written by YouTube star Joey Graceffa with the assistance of Laura L. Sullivan (who didn’t make the cover, she made the inside title page). I DNF’d this novel at the 70% mark, but I seem to be in the VERY low minority of people who don’t like this book. I really perplexed, I haven’t seen any other novel with this sort of reviews on Amazon – close to 600 reviews at 99% 5-stars! And I couldn’t find hardly anything that was enjoyable with this title, not even the cover, so my distaste is not shared by anyone – am I that weird? Well, I guess I am – so, I’ll just kind of let it all out. Don’t roll your eyes – yes I know – another hyped book that PJ can’t stand, what’s new?
The story of Children of Eden is a generic dystopian, in my humble opinion. Humans destroyed the world with their dirty ways and carbon expulsions so they’ve retreated in a sorta underground world, that’s set up in circles…and has an oppressive government that likes to kill people for fun. For some reason their eyes are kaleidoscopes, but if you are “accepted” you mute your pretty kaleidoscope eyes with implants and get brought into the fold of awesome people that like to kill non-awesome people. Non-accepted people are second born children, basically, if your parents didn’t follow the rules and boinked without protection – creating you – you’re screwed. I never got to the reasoning of this at 70% in, but there seems to be some dastardly plot behind it. That dastardly plot I could only assume would prove as shallow as the other “hot button” topics in this novel.
If you think of what a novel with political and socioeconomic undertones would be like written by someone that only reads the title and first paragraph of articles on the subjects they are writing about and then gets bored…well here you go. This is the novel for you.
I digress, let’s talk about the actual book.
The main girl is named Rowan, she’s sort of this not-really-defined weak character, that’s really strong in body, but kind of wishy-washy in her head. She’s never talked to anyone but her brother and parents. Well, really her brother and mother, because her father hates her for being a second child and ruining his life and then wants to kill her because she’s not awesome like him. Let’s get back to this never talked to anyone, though – so she’s clueless, or supposed to be – but not really because once she steps out of those walls, she has this sudden understanding of how people work, what they are thinking, their motivations etc. It’s magic.
She also falls in love with everyone within hours of meeting them, even if she hates them…well no, she trusts them immediately, then they anger her so she doesn’t trust them….but then walks around with them a little and suddenly obsesses about kissing them, even though she needs to save everyone’s lives, she still is obsessed with kissing. That’s about how the character development went. The plot was pretty interesting, and that was developed well, but pulling it all together it felt very formulaic and lost my interest the moment the main character decided to storm the heavily fortified government building…and then obsessed about who she should kiss.
I couldn’t do it anymore. I like YA Dystopian, but I like them to set themselves apart and this one checked all the boxes of IF YOU WERE TO WRITE A DYSTOPIAN DO THIS.
As far as the narrator, this was my first audiobook that was narrated by Sarah Grayson. I liked her narration, but I wasn’t blown away by it. She was breathy and had a typical YA feel and she did her boy voices fairly competent. So, no complaints.
Overall, I thought it was generic, the only thing setting it apart was the F/F/M love-triangle, but it’s not my first dystopian with that kind of love triangle, so I can’t say it’s original in that stance. But, again, I’m in the minority. Chek it out maybe you’ll like it.
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Children of Eden by Joey Graceffa, Laura L. SullivanNarrator: Sarah Grayson
Published by Atria/Keywords Press on October 4th 2016
Rowan is a Second Child in a world where population control measures make her an outlaw, marked for death. She can never go to school, make friends, or get the eye implants that will mark her as a true member of Eden. Her kaleidoscope eyes will give her away to the ruthless Center government.
Outside of Eden, Earth is poisoned and dead. All animals and most plants have been destroyed by a man-made catastrophe. Long ago, the brilliant scientist Aaron al Baz saved a pocket of civilization by designing the EcoPanopticon, a massive computer program that hijacked all global technology and put it to use preserving the last vestiges of mankind. Humans will wait for thousands of years in Eden until the EcoPan heals the world.
As an illegal Second Child, Rowan has been hidden away in her family's compound for sixteen years. Now, restless and desperate to see the world, she recklessly escapes for what she swears will be only one night of adventure. Though she finds an exotic world, and even a friend, the night leads to tragedy. Soon Rowan becomes a renegade on the run – unleashing a chain of events that could change the world of Eden forever.