REVIEW: DIVIDING EDEN by JOELLE CHARBONNEAU

Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau
Published: June 6th, 2017 (HarperTeen)

Started Reading: June 9th, 2017
Finished Reading: June 12, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
My Rating: 3/5 Stars

Synopsis:

Twins Carys and Andreus were never destined to rule Eden. With their older brother next in line to inherit the throne, the future of the kingdom was secure.
But appearances—and rivals—can be deceiving. When Eden’s king and crown prince are killed by assassins, Eden desperately needs a monarch, but the line of succession is no longer clear. With a ruling council scheming to gain power, Carys and Andreus are faced with only one option—to take part in a Trial of Succession that will determine which one of them is worthy of ruling the kingdom.
As sister and brother, Carys and Andreus have always kept each other safe—from their secrets, from the court, and from the monsters lurking in the mountains beyond the kingdom’s wall. But the Trial of Succession will test the bonds of trust and family.
With their country and their hearts divided, Carys and Andreus will discover exactly what each will do to win the crown. How long before suspicion takes hold and the thirst for power leads to the ultimate betrayal? (source: Goodreads)

I received an ARC of Dividing Eden from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest opinion.

As the book was released this month, this review will not contain spoilers

Review:

I quite enjoyed this book! There were a few things that I will get into that I wasn’t the biggest fan of, but overall, I enjoyed the story and there were plenty of aspects that I really liked!

First of all, the things I did enjoy. I really liked some of the characters in this story. Right from the start I loved Larkin and I wish the story dove a bit further into her character! I wanted to know more about her every time she quickly appeared and then left. I also liked Carys as one of the main characters, her development throughout the novel was really interesting to read, because just like the reader, Carys was trying to discover what she could tell was wrong. She was observant and took action to investigate the things that she knew were going to cause issues, and I really admired that about her. She accepted the things about herself that she realized was a problem, and her character came off as realistic and flawed, which is really refreshing to see in a fantasy novel. She was also cunning and smart, something that separated her from the traits of her brother, as he was often caught up in the rumours, whereas Carys was able to think logically about potential threats.

I also really appreciated that there was not an abundance of characters. Charbonneau kept the character list short, focusing on the characters that truly mattered to the story. I’m the kind of person that gets confused when reading about a ton of side characters that I can’t keep straight, so I’m really glad that Dividing Eden did not do that. 

As well, I loved all the twists in the story! I’m a sucker for plot twists, and this book is definitely full of them. I also really appreciated that a lot of them were unexpected! It’s always frustrating to read a book and be able to predict all the twists, but this was definitely not the case with Dividing Eden. Every time I felt I saw something coming, something else was added to the conflict that totally threw me off what I was anticipating. Many of these twists had me immediately reach to my phone to text a friend about how excited and thrown off I was! 

As for the things I didn’t quite enjoy about this book, I wanted to first say that I think Dividing Eden could have really benefited by having a map. I’m not the type of reader that will constantly refer back to a map when a book has one, but I think I would have if this book had one. There were certain times, especially in the beginning, where I found myself confused on whereabouts of characters, and whenever movement was described, I had wished I had a bit of context on where they were going as well as how far it was from where they were. 

I also wish there was just a bit more description of the general area of the city, as well as the Xhelozi and Adderton. I felt I never really had an idea of what the castle was meant to look like, and I really only noticed the descriptions that the reader was given being focused on the walls. With the Xhelozi and Adderton, I never truly understood what was going on with them. It wasn’t until the last couple of pages that the Xhelozi are described, and the war with Adderton is mentioned, but the origins were never fully explained. Some other things I wish had a bit more description and explanation were the orb, the curse, the windmills and how they came to be so important, and especially Andreus’ “attacks”. (What were they? What happened when they occurred? What were they caused by?) Those were a few things I noticed that I kept waiting to get some more explanation of in the book. 

Overall, I was very pleased with this book. The first 120ish pages were a little slow, but once the trials began I was hooked, and I sped through the last 200 pages at a speed I don’t normally read at! I think Joelle Charbonneau’s writing style was really addicting and I kept wanting to pick the book back up to keep reading. The ending was really satisfying and left me wanting more!

Can’t wait to see where this series goes.

 

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