Thursday, June 22, 2017

Book Review: Dividing Eden

Title: Dividing Eden (Dividing Eden #1)
Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: June 6, 2017
Source: eARC
Format: Publisher

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 (goodreads)?
 

Dividing Eden is a twisty turny book that will have all fantasy lovers looking for more. 
Plot: Dividing Eden opened in a fantasy world where Carys and Andreus helped their family uphold the seven virtues while fighting an ongoing battle against deadly creatures. Their father was alive and well, their mother loved nothing more than her country, and their older sibling was being groomed to take the throne - there was no reason for them to believe that they would be pitted against each other in a competition for the crown. 

When I first picked this up, I thought that the competition would reflect the deadly atmosphere of the Hunger Games but it wasn't. These were tasks that highlighted the values of the world, and I enjoyed how subjective Charbonneau made the competition. 

From the synopsis, we could all tell that there was some definite foul play and I couldn't help myself but try to piece together the mystery behind how Carys and Andreus came to their situation. If you're a fan of political intrigue, then Dividing Eden will be a winner for you. I don't know why, but I thought that this novel would be a standalone so I was taken aback by its open ending, but I'm excited to see how Charbonneau will wrap all of this up. 

Characters: Carys and Andreus had a sibling relationship that I was envious of. They fought hard to protect each other, which made it interesting to see what choices they would make when pitted against each other. Even though Dividing Eden split its chapters evenly between Carys and Andreus' perspectives, Charbonneau made it clear that Carys was the main character. I preferred Carys because the author explored her complex nature more, but it was unfortunate that the author chose to leave Andreus as a secondary character. I think given the proper attention and development, Andreus could have become my favorite character easily. 

Worldbuilding: I had a bit of a hard time understanding the world initially because I couldn't accept that this wasn't a dystopian world. Around the 30% mark of the book, I got the hang of the landscape and I could tell how involved the author was in sculpting this world. There were complexities of the characters and their values which the ruling family should possess, and I liked how authentic everything felt. 

Short N Sweet: Dividing Eden had me hooked with its complex characters and political intrigue. I can't wait to see it wrapped up next February!


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