Dark Eden by Patrick Carman
Published by Katherin Tegen Books, April 2012
Good Reads Summary:
Will Besting and the other teens whose phobias were "cured" at Fort Eden have been summoned back by Mrs. Goring. Her dying wish is to see them together one last time. Or is it?
Ensnared in a dangerous, ever-deepening mystery, Will must lead his friends through a perilous underground trap masterminded by two devious souls at war with each other. It's a game of cat and mouse, and not everyone will be alive when it's over. Can Will outwit both Rainsford and Goring, ending their reign of fear forever?
Patrick Carman's"Dark Eden: Eve of Destruction" offers a harrowing journey into the depths of fear, love, revenge, and--ultimately--redemption.
Before we get started there will be many spoilers!!!! Do not read this if you have any intention of reading book #1. Or book #2, for that matter.
So I read Dark Eden #1 and, if you recall, I gave it a so-so review. Good concept, not played out too well, especially with the Scooby-Doo reveal-it-all-because-you-never-would-have-guessed ending.
I picked up book 2, which essentially starts off with the group of "patients" returning to Camp Eden where they were first cured of their fears. Mrs. Goring plays a central role in the second book, and you can pretty much guess where it is going to go when a new patient named Amy shows up.
The thing is, this book is downright confusing. The original 7 (minus Avery, who ran off with Rainsford in book 1) are locked by Goring in the center of the pond. Which, by the way, houses RADIOACTIVE STUFF. What? Really?! We known there is an old bunker, which figures prominently in book #1, but it is a bit far-fetched that all of this is just out in the middle of the woods. I am pretty sure radioactive stuff is not just abandoned.
Although the author tries to explain what the subterranean missile silo looks like without giving it away (since our hero Will must navigate his friends through it), he does an awful job of it. I suppose the reader is just as confused as Will is. Was that intentional? I don't know, but I found it annoying to try to figure out what is going on. Why is there a room full of radioactive waste? What is in these precious vials they must collect? Why does it take a circus to get them? Why does Will have to open one door at a time and shuttle them through this like it is a maze? Why is everything electrified? How is there a pond on a silo on an aquifer? Can that even happen?
There are so many more questions that are unanswered. Why does Avery look like a ghost? How is it that mixing the goop in these vials magically makes everyone better, even though they do not actually touch the stuff? Why, oh why, is Rainsford magically superhuman?
Sorry, I told you there would be a lot of spoilers.
Honestly, and I am sorry to be harsh, I would not waste your time reading the second book. As I have already flat-out exclaimed from the rooftops: it does not make sense. I know it was supposed to be really suspenseful (just read the summary above!), but you cannot feel enthralled when you have nothing to hold on to.
Granted, I am 31 years old, I work full time, I have a 6 month old son, I am getting a M.S. in Biology, and am trying to function on 5 or 6 (broken) hours of sleep per night... so maybe this book is better than I thought it was, and perhaps my confusion simply results from a mind divided. Let's hope.
In the meantime, Coranne and Sarah have reviewed so many obviously good books, maybe you could pick one of those for your next reads.
Oh, and if you are just dying to know what happens in the "ever-deepening mystery"... um, it all works out. Shocking.
What would not shock me is if this was set up for book #3... the Amy chronicles. I don't think I will be reviewing that one.