Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Dark Eden by Chris Beckett

When I finished the first chapter of Dark Eden I thought "I'm not going to be able to finish this. I'm already not liking it." Next thing I know I'm halfway through and decide that, regardless of how I feel about the book, I'm going to finish it. Then, when it was done, I thought "that was a waste of time."

Don't get me wrong, Beckett creates a beautiful world with extraordinary flora and fauna. I like the idea of a world where plants and animals generate their own sources of light and heat. It was an interesting mental exercise to picture every scene without sunlight. I also appreciated the fact that after so many generations of everyone being descended from the same two people, you get genetic defects (hair lips and club foot being most predominant). But it's just not enough for me.

Probably one of the biggest problems I had was with the language. I get that these people aren't from Earth but, to use their language style, I hated hated it because it was so annoying annoying. It really kept me at an intellectual and emotional distance. 

Then there was the fact that the main character, John Redlantern was as annoying to me as Holden from Catcher in the Rye. So many times he was so focused on him being right, him being the center of the story that, had he been the only narrator, I would have thrown the book out. It is to Beckett's credit that the other characters in the book recognize these personality flaws in John. Unfortunately the other characters keep following him, regardless. They know he's only happy when he's changing the status quo and the people who voice their frustration with him, or don't follow him, end up the bad guys in the story. 

I kept reading in the hopes I was wrong about the ending. In the hopes that this story was like Plato's Cave and these kids would find the light. I knew what they would actually find and I was hoping I'd be wrong. I was not. And then the book ended on that predictable note. 

I'm afraid I can only give this book 2 hoots. I did finish it, so I have to give it that much.


**"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

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