From the bestselling author of The Silence comes a brand-new supernatural eco thriller. In large areas of the planet, nature is no longer humanity’s friend…
In a time of global warming and spiralling damage to the environment, the Virgin Zones were established to help combat the change. Abandoned by humanity and given back to nature, these vast areas in a dozen remote locations across the planet were intended to become the lungs of the world.
But there are always those drawn to such places. Extreme sports enthusiasts and adventure racing teams target the dangerous, sometimes deadly zones for illicit races. Only the hardiest and most experienced dare undertake these expeditions. When one such team enters the oldest Zone, Eden, they aren’t prepared for what confronts them. Nature has returned to Eden in an elemental, primeval way. And here, nature is no longer humanity’s friend.
Thanks to the publisher and author for an advance copy of Eden for review consideration. This did not influence my thoughts or opinions.
Eden is a hauntingly beautiful look at nature’s reclamation from man and the lengths it’ll take to protect it. Lebbon has crafted a top-notch eco-thriller that is destined for the big screen.
This was my first go at a full-length novel from the author, so I was pretty naive going in. I’d seen the Netflix adaptation of his novel, The Silence, a little while back and also had a chance to chat with the author on my podcast a couple of months ago, so I decided to give it a go and see if all of these rave author blurbs held up.
Well, they did.
While I found myself stumbling a bit in the beginning (say the first quarter or so) while we are being introduced to the characters, their reasoning behind traveling to Eden in the first place, and what they hoped to achieve by crossing it, it is all relevant to set up the rest of the novel. Oh boy, I did not expect to absolutely DEVOUR the last 75% of this novel in a matter of a couple hours. Lebbon’s writing accelerates off the page; we are talking from a brisk walk to full on sprint in the matter of pages once our adventurers find themselves deep within this Virgin Zone. Things that go bump in the night tend to have teeth, and they are typically razor sharp.
The characters themselves were fairly engaging, though a majority of them were there for the intent of fluff and dramatics. The main focus sat with Dylan and his daughter, Jenn, and their reason for traveling into Eden. The constant fight they put up to survive and find what they were looking for was so engaging and heart-breaking; I don’t see how you could be unmoved by their story. Mixed in with the groups’ story are glimpses into a parallel story of a woman named Kat, who we come to find out is Jenn’s mother, which I felt added a very ominous tone to the narrative but didn’t ultimately add a ton to the story.
The real reason I enjoyed this novel so immensely was how gorgeously displayed Eden was. The author’s ability to bring Eden to life and let it entangle the reader in its vines was absolutely breath-taking. It is a stunning world to bring these characters into, and while they fell for its innocent beauty just like I did, the darkness it hides may be even more tantalizing.
All in all, even with a bit of a trip at the beginning, Eden turned into a fantastic read with a photo finish. Perfect for fans of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy. Can’t recommend it enough.