Dark Eden by Patrick Carman: Review

Posted March 16, 2012 by annajohnson in book review, Uncategorized / 4 Comments

Dark Eden by Patrick Carman
Series: Dark Eden #1
Published by HarperCollins on November 1, 2011
Genres: Young Adult, Action & Adventure, General, Mysteries & Detective Stories, Social Issues, Adolescence, Emotions & Feelings, Friendship
Pages: 316
Format: Advanced Review Copy
Source: HarperCollins

I received this book for free from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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Fifteen-year-old Will Besting is sent by his doctor to Fort Eden, an institution meant to help patients suffering from crippling phobias. Once there, Will and six other teenagers take turns in mysterious fear chambers and confront their worst nightmares—with the help of the group facilitator, Rainsford, an enigmatic guide. When the patients emerge from the chamber, they feel emboldened by the previous night's experiences. But each person soon discovers strange, unexplained aches and pains. . . . What is really happening to the seven teens trapped in this dark Eden?
Patrick Carman's Dark Eden is a provocative exploration of fear, betrayal, memory, and— ultimately—immortality.

Review by: Anna Rose Johnson

I’m just going to say it; this book is creepy. I was expecting it to be a thriller, but the images and themes freaked me out a little…in a good way. Page after page I wanted more and more until all of the answers crescendoed at the end in a horrific and awesome way.

The protagonist, Will Besting, is afraid of something and it is this crippling fear that sends him to Fort Eden to be “cured” along with six other teenagers by a mysterious Dr. Rainsford. As soon as the characters are dropped off at Fort Eden, their home for a week, a long walk into the woods to a concrete bunker instigates the notion that something isn’t right. Will gets spooked and hides in the woods until he finds a way into a building next to the Fort. He barricades himself into what seems like an emergency bunker and watches each person become “cured” on a wall of monitors that happen to be in his hideout.

Because you are with Will in his bunker hideout throughout the book, the other characters seem unimportant – their only purpose being clues into what is really happening at Fort Eden. I didn’t connect with anyone but Will.

I was a little annoyed with Will from time to time in the book – mainly because I didn’t completely understand his phobia. One by one, chapter by chapter, you find out what each character is afraid of by the way Dr. Rainsford cures them and it wasn’t until I understood what Will was afraid of that I understood his motives and actions. So if you’re reading the book and feel a little annoyed with poor Will, wait to judge his character until the last few chapters.

Maybe others will be able to deduce the final plot twist, but I was kept on the edge of my seat until the very end. Let’s just say when I closed the book I sat there for a while, contemplating and absorbing the final chapters. I was thoroughly chilled to the bone.


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