First, let me say that I’m loving the new flood of dystopian novels coming into the young adult fiction market. I loved The Hunger Games and can’t wait to see what comes in its wake! The first book on my list of new(ish) dystopians is Revealing Eden by Victoria Foyt.
Revealing Eden has an interesting premise. First, it takes place in the future, when the world has been ravaged by global warming. Many many people have died from what the sun has done to them, mostly those with the whitest skin, and now those that are dark-skinned dominate the earth. Almost everyone lives underground for protection. It’s so far into the future that white people are outcasts – some of them even cover their skin in a dark pigment so that they’ll look black. In this world, only dark skin is beautiful.
This is where we meet Eden Newman, almost 18, white, and very unhappy about her skin and her so-called future. According to the rules of society, she must marry (find a “mate”) by the time she’s 18 in six months or she’ll be left outside on the surface to fend for herself.
“We cannot afford to supply precious resources to those who do not contribute to the continuation of our species.”
Eden works with her father, a brilliant scientist, looking for the answer to humankind’s problem – their susceptibility to the sun’s rays. She has also refused the offers of more than one white man to marry her because she is holding out for something better, someone with darker skin. And she has an idea of who that might be… someone who she thinks sees her for who she is. But before anything can happen, her life explodes into chaos. The experiment has gone seemingly awry and she finds herself deep in the heart of the jungle on the run with the subject of the experiment, now a man-beast.
Let me tell you, it’s really hard describing this book to you – I don’t know how to tell about it without it sounding corny, and to tell you the truth, as I read it did feel more and more unrealistic. It started out promising, but there were times when I was confused about where the plot was going. Eden’s character was very hard to like as time went on, and there was really no logic to her decisions or inner thoughts. Then when her dark-skinned boss gets turned into a beast-man (the science experiment was supposed to make a better human with different attributes of animals and immunity to the sun), the man that she hated suddenly becomes a man who she is deeply attracted to – for no reason at all (that I could see)! He’s not nice to her, he is this weird furry beast (actually there never was a clear picture of what he looked like) but she can’t keep her eyes off of him. I couldn’t understand why she was physically attracted to him, and as time went on their relationship just didn’t seem to develop. Then the plot takes a turn and she finds out that there is someone who looked just like her in his life, and this look-alike might be in trouble.
And this… is where I had to stop reading. I wanted to keep reading and see if it got any better, but it was reading more like a shallow romance novel than a character-driven dystopian novel. The “romance” was all lust and no actual reason for romance, and that became the center of the story.
Now I can’t be all negative… one good thing about this book is that Eden learns what it is to be comfortable in your own skin, and that society doesn’t dictate what true beauty is. Living life trying to be something you’re not is not life at all! I did appreciate that aspect to the story.
Another thing, as I read I realized that this is supposed to be a twist on the classic story, Beauty and the Beast. And what a good idea! But it didn’t really work out (for me), unfortunately. I stopped reading and am not even curious as to what happened in the end. So sadly, I can’t really recommend this one. BUT if you do want to read a good version of Beauty and the Beast, I recommend Beauty by Robin Mckinley.
In closing, I’ll share that there are quite a few rave reviews on Amazon for Revealing Eden – it seems people either love it or hate it. If you want a quick, interesting read and the story appeals to you, you just might like it. And if you do, feel free to share why here in the comments. :)
Detailed Rating Breakdown:
Revealing Eden by Victoria Foyt
Sand Dollar Press, October 2011
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Book source: I received an ecopy of this book through NetGalley for review purposes. The ebook will be deleted from my Kindle automatically after 30 days. Amazon links are my affiliate links.