Release date: November 1st, 2011
by HarperCollins Publishers
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?
*A copy was provided by HarperCollins Publishers for review purposes*
Holy freaking cow! Now this is a thriller! I often go into books believing them to be thrillers, when they end up being barely creepy with a romance -or something similarly annoying- taking over the story. Dark Eden was not the case. It had me almost piss my pants! Seriously! I was reading this at 2 in the afternoon in a very bright and cheerful environment, wrapped up in the book, when my husband gets home... He throws the door open and I practically jumped out of my skin! I thought my heart would beat out of my chest! It was so much fun!!
Will, a 17 year old with a crippling phobia (of unmentioned nature to avoid spoilers), gets sent to an institution, with 6 other kids, that can apparently cure fears. As soon as they arrive, Will escapes from the group and ends up hiding in what appears to be a panic room... A panic room with monitors that lets him see what's going on in the institution. Does this sound ominous enough for you? Prior to reading the book, visiting Dark Eden's website worked wonders on my mind's eye. It has videos, audio diaries, pictures, even a fun fear test, that really gets the imagination going. The teaser video is incredibly creepy and the freaky pictures sets the mood just right. This greatly added to my amazing experience with the book. I suggest you visit it beforehand.
Everyone is wary of the unknown to some degree. Patrick's Dark Eden makes a great example of this. He took an especially creepy premise full of questions and unexplained occurrences and gave us a spine-chilling novel. The big plot twist isn't completely impossible to deduce - I'm sure most will guess to a certain extent, but the whole ordeal behind it and sinister feeling throughout the book had me covered in goosebumps the whole way through. I never knew what's going to happen next and on top of that, I was made constantly afraid of Will's discovery.
The protagonist, Will, is smart, competent and brave. At times I was fearing this bravery, but I was also confident in his decisions. The other kids in the institution are not incredibly distinct, but their interactions aren't prominent outside of what Will sees on the monitors. There are little tiny specks of romance in the story as well, which is not incredibly necessary but adds a bit of fun to all the angst. The ending has bit of everything: despair, contentment and foreboding. It's not a cliffhanger ending, although it's left open for the possibility of a sequel.
Ultimately, Dark Eden fully exceeded my expectations. It's a very thrilling and interesting read that I think readers who like getting spooked will enjoy. Still not sure? If you take a look at the website you'll get an idea of the vibe of the book: Click here enter Dark Eden's website.
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