Eden – Tim Lebbon

To finish off the big Titan Books blog tour for Eden by Tim Lebbon, I’m honoured to add my review to the lineup! A fascinating, unique read that got me scared, which is no easy feat.

Thank you to Lydia Gittins and Titan Books for the review copy and the inclusion on the blog tour! I’m feeling ill today, so I hope no silly mistakes have made their way into the post!

RELEASE DATE: 15/06/20 (UK)

STAR RATING: 4/5 ✶

SUMMARY: Earth’s rising oceans contain enormous islands of refuse, the Amazon rainforest is all-but destroyed, and countless species edge towards extinction. Humanity’s last hope to save the planet lies with The Virgin Zones, thirteen vast areas of land off-limits to people and given back to nature.

Dylan leads a clandestine team of adventure racers, including his daughter Jenn, into Eden, the oldest of the Zones. Jenn carries a secret––Kat, Dylan’s wife who abandoned them both years ago, has entered Eden ahead of them. Jenn is determined to find her mother, but neither she nor the rest of their tight-knit team are prepared for what confronts them. Nature has returned to Eden in an elemental, primeval way.  And here, nature is no longer humanity’s friend. (from Titan Books)

OPINIONS: Eden might well be the creepiest, scariest book I have ever read. This pacey read keeps you on your toes from beginning to end, trying to figure out its mystery. Rather than fighting a clear evil, this book’s villain is unclear throughout most of the story, and it is that uncertainty that drives the plot and atmosphere. Hopelessness, loss, sacrifice and love are all themes strongly present in Eden, and while it is a horror thriller, it is just as much a family drama at its heart.

Dylan and his daughter Jenn lead a ragtag group of adventurers into one of the remaining virigin zones, Eden. Ostensibly there to push boundaries and come out on top of the community, the team soon finds out that Kat, Dylan’s estranged wife and Jenn’s mother has gone missing inside Eden weeks earlier and that there might be more to their expedition than glory and adventure. And once they are inside the zone, they start finding impossible bodies before the first members of their own team start disappearing. That’s when things become creepy and terrifying. I think quarantine has made me a bit soft, but I actually had to take breaks while reading, which I don’t remember ever doing before.

Massive strengths of the book are worldbuilding and pacing, which both Eden, and the genre in general depends on. Sadly, one victim of this is character development – while a couple of characters are a bit more fleshed out, they are generally relatively one-dimensional. Think stand-ins for plot and world to happen to them, rather than agents of story as a driving force. I do think this is to a large part due to genre, but I would have wished for a bit more depth.

If you are looking for an escape from lockdown life, I definitely recommend you pick up this eco-horror mystery thriller! Add it on Goodreads here, and order it from Forbidden Planet or your indie of choice.

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