July 07, 2011

Review: Dark Eden by Patrick Carman

336 pages
Expected publication: November 1, 2011 by HarperCollins
Fifteen-year-old Will Besting is sent by his doctor to Fort Eden, an institution meant to help patients suffering from crippling phobias. Once there, Will and six other teenagers take turns in mysterious fear chambers and confront their worst nightmares—with the help of the group facilitator, Rainsford, an enigmatic guide. When the patients emerge from the chamber, they feel emboldened by the previous night's experiences. But each person soon discovers strange, unexplained aches and pains. . . . What is really happening to the seven teens trapped in this dark Eden?
Patrick Carman's Dark Eden is a provocative exploration of fear, betrayal, memory, and— ultimately—immortality.

Dark Eden had a striking premise, definitely nothing like I’ve read in quite some time, and I had high hopes for it. Unfortunately, the novel didn’t really deliver for me.

Dark Eden starts slow, and I kept wondering what was going on and what each of their fears were, and what the main character’s fear was (though it wasn’t difficult to figure out), and there was so much mystery without the tension I was hoping for. I was wondering, yes, but it was a frustrating wonder, rather than an edge of my seat wonder.

The action does pick up a bit mid way through, and I honestly wasn’t expecting some of the turns the novel took.

I think my biggest issue with the story was the revelation. I wanted Will (and I) to be in the middle of the action and experiencing everything first hand, and I wanted all of the shocking little details to come out throughout the story, where I could experience the shock with Will. Unfortunately, much of what we learn is revealed in the end, and it didn’t have the same effect on me that it may have had otherwise.

There was a lot of potential in this story, and I definitely think I would have enjoyed it with a different execution. Perhaps it was geared at a younger audience than I’m used to? I’m not sure, but I will be looking into some of the other books Patrick Carman has authored.

2.5/5 Stars


  1. Awww. Really? I was thinking of reading this one since it sounded interesting. *Bows head in disappointment* Well, thanks for an honest review.

  2. I started this book...and could not finish. i totally agree with your review. there was a lot of potential. i thought to myself, whoa, a male lead! but he seemed so wimpy and not likable, and the story did not seem interesting and moving enough. i also did not like the female lead chosen to be opposite of will. i did not finish the book and i really dont want to. Great review! i probably would've given it 1 star, but maybe i should've finished before i pass judgement. :)
    Alyssa S.


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