Rowan is a Second Child in a world where population control measures make her an outlaw, marked for death. She can never go to school, make friends, or get the eye implants that will mark her as a true member of Eden. Her kaleidoscope eyes will give her away to the ruthless Center government.
Outside of Eden, Earth is poisoned and dead. All animals and most plants have been destroyed by a man-made catastrophe. Long ago, the brilliant scientist Aaron Al Baz saved a pocket of civilisation by designing the EcoPanopticon, a massive computer program that hijacked all global technology and put it to use preserving the last vestiges of mankind. Humans will wait for thousands of years in Eden until the EcoPan heals the world.
As an illegal Second Child, Rowan has been hidden away in her family’s compound for sixteen years. Now, restless and desperate to see the world, she recklessly escapes for what she swears will be only one night of adventure. Though she finds an exotic world, and even a friend, the night leads to tragedy. Soon Rowan becomes a renegade on the run – unleashing a chain of events that could change the world of Eden forever.
I picked this book up initially because of the author Joey Graceffa. Joey is a YouTuber I watch quite frequently, and when he released his memoir In Real Life, I thoroughly devoured it, which is what prompted me to then pick up his very first novel: Children of Eden.
I will admit I was sceptical as to whether I’d enjoy this or not, as I had purchased it purely as a fan of Joey’s, and have to admit I was surprised at how fluid the writing was and how enjoyable the story was. This was also the first time I had listened to an audio book, so this was really testing my usual reading territories. The audio book was read (very well) by Sarah Gardner, and I was very surprised at how quickly I was roped into this post-apocalyptic world, which I haven’t been since I read The Hunger Games.
The story and characters were all very believable, as was the setting they were in. Everything about it was so realistic in my mind as I listened to the story, that I was almost convinced that this could be something that might potentially happen in our world. I became sceptical at parts as to whether Joey had actually written this (due to rumours of previous YouTubers who’ve released books having them ghost-written), but then while listening to it being read, there was several confirmations for me that it was Joey that wrote it, due to characteristics I would have picked up from him from watching his videos, one of them being his intense love of crystals, which the citizens of the underworld Rowan encounters all where, and several uses of the word iridescent.
The book held a great story although there was a point close to the very end where I was listening and thought if this book stopped right now, I would be happy with this ending. Alas it didn’t end there and while the ending was satisfactory, it was just that. There was also the love triangle between Rowan, Lark and Rook. This element of the story wasn’t my favourite, and it was at these parts it almost felt forced, as if it was added to make the story more interest, and which initially spiked my thoughts to whether this might have been ghost written, if not at least co-written.
Overall it was a very enjoyable read/listening experience. I previously had never listened to a whole audio book in it’s fullest prior to this, so it must have been good if it kept me wanting to come back for more and more. If you like The Hunger Games and other post-apocalyptic/dystopian YA novels similar to it, then I think this book might be right up your alley.
Featured image via joeygraceffa.com, edited by me using Canva.