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Dividing Eden

Review

Dividing Eden

Joelle Charbonneau, author of THE TESTING, dives into a dark new royal world in DIVIDING EDEN.

Carys and her twin Andreus are a team, always looking out for each other in Eden’s harsh court. Despite their royal heritage, Andreus would rather spend time working on the giant windmills that power the kingdom, and Carys is too busy protecting her brother and struggling within herself to even consider ruling. With an older brother destined for the throne, and a healthy king and queen, they didn’t need be worried about ruling, until their brother and father are slaughtered in a mysterious ambush on the way home from the battlefront. Suddenly, the line of succession is unclear, and with greedy Council members vying for control, Andreus and Carys must do everything they can to stay together, even when the Trials of Succession are announced. Having no clear eldest, they must participate in a series of Trials to determine which one of them is worthy to hold the throne. At first, Andreus and Carys work together as they always have, but as suspicion sets in, even their lifetime of trust could be broken. Each one reveals new depths of ambition and ruthlessness to see what it takes to win the crown, no matter the costs.

"A breathtaking read....Besides the characters, the artfully-crafted plot made it impossible to put down DIVIDING EDEN, proving to be another one of my favorite aspects of the book."

Combining fantasy and politics to form a thrilling tale of family, betrayal and magic, DIVIDING EDEN is a breathtaking read. Besides the brilliant plot and world, the characters and their relationships are what really made me fall in love with this novel. Carys and Andreus are demonstrated as real people, each having good and bad qualities, a sense of realism that is often lacking in many young adult novels. This story doesn’t have a perfect hero or heroine, it supplies these realistic characters who are incredibly easy to relate to. I especially loved the dynamic between Carys and Andreus as it was heartwarming and you couldn’t help but root for them as a team, even more so than their different romances. Also, being a twin, I thought their relationship was an accurate representation of the strength of a twin bond, which is often misunderstood throughout a multitude of novels. Beyond that, the various characters in the court represented a wide range of personalities and beliefs that helped develop the story wonderfully.

Besides the characters, the artfully-crafted plot made it impossible to put down DIVIDING EDEN, proving to be another one of my favorite aspects of the book. I loved the Trials, as only the intense, cunning and intelligent behavior would allow them to pass these tests. A unique thing the Trials show is how each character's actions --- even outside the actual Trials themselves --- have consequences. I was consistently surprised by a decision a character made, or how the Trials would turn out, and the twisted actions of those in the court were as intriguing as they were shocking.

One thing that bothered me throughout the novel was that there were several plot holes. I always enjoy having questions after the first book in a series, but this novel took that to a whole new level. From the war, the mythical beasts, and the kingdom’s inner workings to the importance of magic, and a few other topics, I felt they were all brought up vaguely, and never really explained in more detail. These will most surely be developed later on, but I would have liked to be able to understand the world of Eden a little better as I initially read the first book to receive a better concept of the character’s situation.

I would recommend this novel to young adults who like fantasies, especially ones that take place in kingdoms and fans of THE TESTING, as DIVIDING EDEN is definitely worth the read.

Reviewed by Jessica K., Teen Board Member on July 12, 2017

Dividing Eden
by Joelle Charbonneau