Title: Children of Eden
Author: Joey Graceffa
Review: The opening to Children of Eden was great we meet twins Ash and Rowen in their dystopian society of Eden. In their society each family is only legally allowed to have one child so Rowen is an illegal child and her parents have struggled to keep her safe for 16 years. As she becomes quite restless the family are surprised by government officials turning up, Rowen manages to hide in time but it isn’t much of a life. She is told by her parents that they have made ID lens on the black market and she will be going to live with a new family that doesn’t have any children so she can live a relatively normal life. When the truth is revealed to Rowen she is furious and runs away to the city not even thinking about the consequences if she is caught.
As we approach the ¼ mark in the novel we see Rowen travelling around the city for the very first time. Despite almost getting into trouble Rowen enjoys herself until she bumps into Lark (Ash’s best friend and crush) and there is no way she can escape. Lark surprises Rowen but not running to the authorities and they actually start to form a friendship which is an amazing thing for Rowen. Even though this story is mainly centred around Rowen we have gotten hints that life in Eden may not be as perfect and its residents are lead to believe.
As we cross the ¼ mark in the novel Rowen and Lark seem to have a strong friendship and even a slight romantic relationship and she is happy even though the time for her to leave her family is drawing ever closer. Suddenly, this go a little differently than planned when Rowen’s mother is informed by her contact that the government have found a second child and Rowen is rushed away fearing that it could be her although we know there are more second children in Eden than Rowen first thought. As her mother takes her to have her lens implanted she tells Rowen that she can never come home and never see her family again that she must live the rest of her life as someone else.
As we approach the halfway mark in the novel we see Rowen and her mother heading for the surgery centre but they are stop by GreenShirts. Rowen manages to flee but she is now lost and alone in the slums of Eden. It is here she meets another second child who helps her but she is also helped by Rook a GreenShirt who has a younger brother. Rowen at this point in frightened and injured and prays that she can trust the people helping her. Learning about the circumstances surrounding Rowen’s birth was absolutely heart-breaking but she doesn’t give up and I admired this. With the help of Rook and his brother Lachlan, Rowen finds somewhere relatively safe to heal. Lachlan tells her there is a whole family of second children living with him, it is fair to say Rowen is completely stunned by this information but she can’t wait to meet every single one of them. At this point in the novel I was still in two minds about whether it was Lark who turned Rowen in but there is currently no evidence of this except that she spoke in-depth with Lark about her life as a second (even though she really isn’t).
As we cross into the second half of the novel we see Lachlan take Rowen to the Underground – “the back-up Eden” created by the founder and it is the heaven of the second children. Unlike the Above Eden the Underground Eden is alive with plants, Earth and people that Rowen could have never imagined. For the first time in her life Rowen feels welcome and loved in ways she never has been before. During her time in the Underground Rowen plans to help the revolution of Eden but she is harbouring a secret she has only told to Lachlan that Eden’s founder wasn’t a hero but a monster. Lachlan makes her swear to keep it between them for now because it would destroy not only Above Eden but everything the Underground has worked towards. We also see a romance developing between Rowen and Lachlan which was quite nice especially since it is purely accidentally. I was still a little afraid for Rowen and whether the Underground was the right place for her given what she knows about Eden’s history and what it could mean for the future.
As we approach the 3/4 mark in the novel things get even more complicated when Lark is captured by the Underground while looking for Rowen. Lark tells her that her brother has been captured and he is going to be executed in three days. Together Lark, Rowen and Lachlan come up with a rescue plan but Lachlan needs Rowen’s lens first. When they find the surgeon they learn only Rowen can have the lens and no one else so she must take Lachlan’s place in the grand scheme. After the surgery Rowen now known as Yarrow can’t return to the Underground for a little while do she stays with Lark. The live triangle forming between Lark, Rowen/Yarrow and Lachlan was very compelling and I honestly didn’t know who I wanted Rowen to choose.
As we cross into the final section of the novel we see Lark, Rowen and Lachlan break into the centre to retrieve Ash but as usually nothing goes to plan but they manage to escape. With the GreenShirts hot on their heels Rowen makes the decision to split from the others, when she flees into the desert she learns Eden’s darkest secret. Despite all her efforts Rowen has been captured by the Centre and they know all about her including that she is really a first born and that they will heal her and return her to society. Rowen’s true test begins now.
Overall, I really enjoyed Children of Eden despite not being in a major dystopian mood lately. I would highly recommend this book and at less than 300 pages it is a really quick read and its action packed too!
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