Review: Eden’s Return by Duncan McGeary

Rating: 5/10

Synopsis

Three hundred years ago, a mysterious zone called the Stasis appeared, covering hundreds of square miles of the Pacific Northwest. The area’s human inhabitants suddenly found themselves outside the barrier; inside was a primeval, unspoiled world that proved to be hostile to technology and most manmade things.

Over the years, those who were idealistic or deluded enough to shed all trappings of civilization were able to cross into this new Eden, though few survived for long. But now, the barrier has weakened…just enough for a squad of soldiers to be flown in to investigate. 

Meanwhile, inside the Stasis, Shani has been living alone with her mother, at one with nature and oblivious to the world outside. Her past and her future have narrowed to a single point in time. Only this moment exists. 

Lieutenant Silas McKinley and his squad are stunned to discover the two women in middle of the Stasis, but their encounter is quickly overshadowed by the area’s deadly rejection of their presence. They must find a way out. 

With nature itself rising up against them, Shani and Silas—two people from vastly different worlds—will have to find common ground if anyone is to survive.

Review

A book I failed to love but still enjoyed, kinda.

The synopsis for Eden’s return grabbed me and did not let go. It instantly struck me as the possible love child of Tim Lebbon’s Eden (and no, not because of the name) and Jeff Vandermeer’s Annihilation. Two novels I enjoyed. I just had to get my hands on this book and scratch that itch again. However, Eden’s Return was a bit of a love/hate situation for me.

I want to start with what I enjoyed about this book. First of all, the plot was right up my alley. A ‘mysterious zone’ appears and rejects all humans. The zone weakens and humanity sends in a squad of soldiers to investigate and then they are rejected by the area with deadly consequences. What’s not to like about a race against time with life and death as the stakes, am I right? Secondly, the character development for the main characters is good. We get to see the characters change according to the pressures put on them and the changes make sense. They react how we would expect a human to react. Thirdly, I liked the questions that come to mind while reading this story. In my opinion, a good book will always have you asking questions during the story, however, and this leads me nicely onto the parts I didn’t enjoy about Eden’s Return, and that is that a lot of these questions go unanswered. Which is Frustrating. I don’t know if this is the intention of McGeary but personally, I needed the who, what and why answered. I can’t go into specifics as it will require me to spoil some of the plot and as we know that is a huge no, no. Naughty spoilers. I also found myself hungry for more world-building. The synopsis tells us that the Stasis is ‘a primaeval, unspoiled world’ and McGeary does well to build on this bearing in mind that this is a short read but I was left wanting more. This isn’t a huge deal-breaker and is more of a personal thing as people, as we know, have varying degrees of imagination and some will happily imagine a hostile, primaeval and unspoiled world with little to no description. 

Finally, I want to say that I wished this book was a little longer. The parts I liked I wanted more of and I believe that my faults with Eden’s Return would not be so if McGeary had room to expand on several parts.

If like me you enjoyed the natural elements of Eden by Tim Lebbon and the mystery of Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer then this story has the same vibes and will keep you entertained for a while. If you can live with some questions not being answered then this is worth a read however if loose ends annoy you then it’s probably best to stay clear. 

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