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11.01.2011

Review: Dark Eden by Patrick Carman

Dark Eden by Patrick Carman
Young Adult, Mystery, Paranormal
Hardcover $17.99 (336 pages, Katherine Tegen Books)
Ebook $9.99
Paperback $8.99 (Releases: April 2012)

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?
Author Site: patrickcarman.com

Strange but Fresh, Clean YA (4 stars)

A boy with a life-altering phobia. A therapist who thinks she has the answer. A special camp where the boy and six peers will undergo a special treatment to cure their darkest fears through facing their innermost demons. These are the basic threads of the tapestry woven by DARK EDEN's plot.

As the seven teens are each cured in turn it's up to Will to find out why each is left with odd aches and pains that won't go away. Are they really being cured or is the mysterious Fort Eden and the man who runs it up to something far more sinister?

My opinion of DARK EDEN vacillated back and forth from page to page. Just when I would get fed up with the lack of answers Carman managed to throw me a crumb. Readers who love being strung along for chapter after chapter and can tolerate thick mystery will enjoy the multi-layered plot. The characters are fairly stereotyped but not unlikable. Will can feel a little lackluster and bland as he narrates but it suits the storyline well. The fears they face are very realistic ones, ones I think most readers will find relatable. As a phobia sufferer I can't imagine having to go through what these kids do but it will leave readers with such fears begging the question of how far they would go for a cure.

Overall this is a very clean read without foul language or sexual overtones so it may be suitable for younger readers looking for a good mystery/thriller. The final chapters were very riveting, the unwound premise sound. Well worth the time I went through getting frustrated to reach a satisfying conclusion. If you love an engrossing, richly atmostpheric thriller with a hint of supernatural potential you'll enjoy DARK EDEN.



Other Reviews:
The Bookish Brunette
Mom Reads My Books
IceyBooks
Supernatural Snark
The Book Faery

Notes: Unsolicited ARC received via publisher.

2 comments:

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I don't mind frustration as long as it pays out. Seems like it does for you. Between you and Ashley... I so need to read this book!

Rhianna said...

I'll be honest... about halfway through I was thinking I was done. It was an unsolicted ARC I got back in April or May. Didn't want to read it then because it was so far from the release date. Then to have it be so unrevealing for half the book... I almost put it down. Figured I'd give it another few pages and that was when crumbs started falling.

It wasn't perfect but it was interesting enough once I got over the frustration to keep reading through the end. I was right about the ending though the details were somewhat different than I had guessed. In the end I was ready to give it 3 stars but realized I actually had liked it. Gave it to my 12-yr-old to see if he'd like it. We'll see. ;)

Thanks for commenting Melissa!

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