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Review: Dark Eden by Patrick Carman

Wednesday, November 30, 2011
4 Stars: A Great Read
Series: Dark Eden #1
Hardback: 336 Pages
Publication: November 1, 2011 by Harper Teen

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?

Patrick Carman's Dark Eden is a provocative exploration of fear, betrayal, memory, and— ultimately—immortality. Illustrations by Patrick Arrasmith.

When I picked up this book, I was a very happy reader. When I began reading this book, I was transported to another world. (In short, I was living the world of Dark Eden. I was no longer in reality.) Dark Eden is a psychological thriller/mystery that forces you to question character motivation and peruse the book for clues in search of the truth behind Fort Eden.

Fort Eden is truly a Dark Eden. The entire setting is dark and questionable. I’m not surprised that Will ran away, but I do wonder why all the monitors are there and how he can hide from them. Will is another kind of narrator. Not only is he a male narrator in the sea of female protagonists that we see in YA literature today, he is calm and rational whereas many hero(ines) run headlong into danger. Will is cautious, and he actually has an idea of what is going on. His only “fault” -if you would call it a fault- is that he cannot stay away from Marisa, and the stolen conversations between them add to the tension in the novel… because there is a traitor in their midst, and of course Marisa is suspect to the readers.

I never knew where the story would take me. There are so many secrets. While the kids are sent to Fort Eden to overcome their fears, Carman pulls us readers into a web of fears, implanting doubt towards the characters and leaving us to crawl through the pages, wondering just how he will pull off a satisfying end to the novel. And yet, somehow he does. When I thought I had something figured out, I found that Carman had added another twist to the plot, and as I watched the number of pages left to read diminish, he gave me another surprise. Let’s just say that I never saw it coming. If you’re looking to be thrilled… maybe for your mind to be messed with just a little… I have three words for you: read Dark Eden.

Note: There is an animated website to go along with the novel. If you enjoy Dark Eden, you should definitely check it out!


An ARC was provided by the publisher for review purposes

4 comments on "Review: Dark Eden by Patrick Carman"
  1. I loved some of Patrick Carmen's other books. This one sounds awesome. Thanks for the great review. You really have me wanting to read it.

  2. That sounds pretty cool. I might check it out.

  3. Oh! A psychological thriller! this one sounds awesome - especially since Will is a different type of narrator like you say. And it's kind of romantic that he's careful and logical with everything except the girl he loves.

  4. This sounds so good. I love novels that are unpredictable! I've had this on my TBR for quite some time, but this review makes me want to put it up to my "buy asap" list. Maybe my library has it! I shall seee.

    Thanks for the review!


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