Sunday, August 26, 2018

Review: Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau

About the Book

Published by HarperTeen on June 6, 2017

Neither the author nor the publisher solicited this review.  These are my honest and unbiased opinions.

GoodReads Description

Twins Carys and Andreus were never destined to rule Eden. With their older brother next in line to inherit the throne, the future of the kingdom was secure.

But appearances—and rivals—can be deceiving. When Eden’s king and crown prince are killed by assassins, Eden desperately needs a monarch, but the line of succession is no longer clear. With a ruling council scheming to gain power, Carys and Andreus are faced with only one option—to take part in a Trial of Succession that will determine which one of them is worthy of ruling the kingdom.

As sister and brother, Carys and Andreus have always kept each other safe—from their secrets, from the court, and from the monsters lurking in the mountains beyond the kingdom’s wall. But the Trial of Succession will test the bonds of trust and family.

With their country and their hearts divided, Carys and Andreus will discover exactly what each will do to win the crown. How long before suspicion takes hold and the thirst for power leads to the ultimate betrayal?

My Thoughts

The moment I saw this book's GORGEOUS cover, I knew I had to read it.  I simply had to know what this was all about!  After reading the synopsis, I was even more certain that this book was right up my alley.  This was a wonderful introduction to Charbonneau's work!

What I Loved

  • Charbonneau writes in a very descriptive style that truly draws the reader into her words.  I especially appreciate this as a teacher because I know that a copy of this book in my classroom is sure to draw in reluctant readers and to keep their attention.  I was impressed by her choice to include sex and violence without overdoing either.  It is obvious what is happening during these scenes, but they are written in a clean and tasteful way.
  • Many times, I was certain I knew what was going to happen next. And then it didn't.  Something WAY better happened instead.  This only added to the fast pace of the plot and made sure that around each corner there was something for the reader to look for and be excited for.  The intrigue and suspense that Charbonneau creates is truly magical.
  • By far, my favorite character was Princess Carys.  I admire her steadfast bravery as she guards her family and her people.  She truly goes through an awakening not only of herself and her duty, but of what it truly means to be loyal.  In each moment that she held to her morals and her loyalty to her brother even as it was tested, I admired this strength and considered how hard that would be for a young woman to do.  I think that Princess Carys needs to go down in the literary bad***es of literature with Hermione and Katniss!

What I Wasn't A Huge Fan Of

  • Andreus.  What a piece of trash!  His character did nothing but infuriate me as he left his morals far behind him in his desperate grasp for power.  The things that he put his sister through even as she held fast to their long history of camaraderie and loyalty is truly appalling.
  • Additionally, Andreus' relationship with Imogen seems a bit forced.  It showed just how power hungry the two of them are, quite like the MacBeths.  This relationship was based on deceit and immorality despite their supposed feelings of love and loyalty to each other.
  • The most troubling thing for me, however, was the lack of concrete world building.  I know that there are these monster things but I don't know why they're so cranky. Heck, I can't even pronounce their name correctly.  Why are they so afraid of the orb?  There were so many issues with the world building that I spent a frustrating time flipping through the book to find clues as to why things mattered.  This definitely interrupted the book's flow and readability.

Overall

I truly enjoyed the quick pace of this book and the intrigue that came with it.  I believe that Charbonneau paid excellent attention to the affects that power can have on morality and on immorality.  She makes an excellent case for the ways that power can change an individual.  I would love to read this book with a class of seventh or eighth graders.  It would give me a wonderful opportunity to talk about plot, characterization, theme, setting, and many other literary elements.  

My Rating




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