In Children of Eden: 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 civilization 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. – Goodreads
Children of Eden Review
When every human must be accounted for, and everything is kept track of, a second child is a danger. Not only to their family, but to the delicate system that has been put in place to protect humanity. Second children are a burden on a system that is already working towards population reduction to survive long enough. Well, supposedly. Possibly. Maybe. But the more Rowan – a second child – learns about the world outside her family home, the more confused she gets.
Children of Eden could be a trope ridden mess. The potential is there. It is a young adult dystopian novel with a strong female protagonist. The heroine who finds herself in a position to make a difference for the world. There’s even a tinge of a possible love triangle involved. Something bad has happened to the world, and it’s struggling to repair itself. In Eden, people live in districts – circles – and some are more privileged than others. As I said, it could be a trope ridden mess. It’s got the framework in place. Oh yes, and the made up swear words are ridiculous and detract from the seriousness of the story.
But, it’s not.
Instead, Children of Eden is a refreshing read. It re-opens weary eyes to the possibilities for adventure found within this sub-genre of YA novels. It gives us a heroine who has not come from a dirt-poor background, with some nigh unto magical skill or ability. Instead, Rowan seems very much a normal girl who had the bad luck to become a second child, with all the stress that entailed. She’s dangerously thoughtless at times, a bit selfish at others. Intelligent but unskilled in many things that would save her life. Not a special snowflake in any sense of the word. She’s a normal girl.
The plot is straightforward enough. The action is simple. The authors aren’t given to losing themselves in paragraphs of needless description. The characters are ones you instinctively like (or hate when you’re supposed to hate). The pace is solid, the dialogue not intolerable.
While it didn’t blow me away, it kept me well and truly interested, which is more than I can say for a lot of these novels nowadays. I would have liked to have seen a bit more originality in it, but given what they were working with, they did a great job. There were a few things I didn’t like, of course, like the reinforcement of prejudice towards an already targeted group of people, but I can’t go into them without possibly spoiling some of the book. So let’s just say I’m not blind to its flaws, but I can appreciate it for what it is.
Joey Graceffa and Laura L. Sullivan give us a proper dystopian novel, even if they are evil and end it on a huge cliffhanger. From the wonderfully captivating cover to the characters and plot twists within, Children of Eden does a fantastic job of being a book that a reader will keep coming back to.