Revealing Eden by Victoria Foyt (Save the Pearls Part One)
Book description (from Goodreads) –
Eden Newman must mate before her 18th birthday in six months or she’ll be left outside to die in a burning world. But who will pick up her mate-option when she’s cursed with white skin and a tragically low mate-rate of 15%? In a post-apocalyptic, totalitarian, underground world where class and beauty are defined by resistance to an overheated environment, Eden’s coloring brands her as a member of the lowest class, a weak and ugly Pearl. If only she can mate with a dark-skinned Coal from the ruling class, she’ll be safe.
Just maybe one Coal sees the Real Eden and will be her salvation her co-worker Jamal has begun secretly dating her. But when Eden unwittingly compromises her father’s secret biological experiment, she finds herself in the eye of a storm and thrown into the last area of rainforest, a strange and dangerous land. Eden must fight to save her father, who may be humanity’s last hope, while standing up to a powerful beast-man she believes is her enemy, despite her overwhelming attraction. Eden must change to survive but only if she can redefine her ideas of beauty and of love, along with a little help from her “adopted aunt” Emily Dickinson.
The world has changed and so has the environment: the climate is hot, unbearably hot. The sun’s rays are beyond harsh and it is dangerous for people to go outside during the day, which is why the majority of the population lives underground.
Women must find a mate by their 18th birthday and men by their 24th; if they do not, they are cut off from the resources necessary to survive, and are thrown outside where the sun’s radiation will kill them.
Eden has only six months left to find a mate and with a mate-rate of only 15%, Eden is worried that no-one will want to be with her. Why is Eden’s mate-rate so low? It’s because she is a Pearl: pale skinned. In this harsh world, people with pale skin are seen as less attractive, less beautiful and of a lower class because they are more susceptible to the sun’s harsh radiation. Whereas people with darker skin (the Coals) are considered the most beautiful and the most desirable because their skin is less susceptible to the sun.
All this could change however, if a secret experiment conducted by Eden’s father is a success. But when Eden is betrayed by someone she thought she could trust, Eden’s father’s experiment is jeopardised, and Eden, her father and Bramford (the man paying for the experiment) must escape to the rainforest. But how safe is the rainforest? They may have escaped with their lives but how long can Eden survive in the rainforest? That is only one of her worries. The other is Bramford as he is no longer a human man.
As the test subject for Eden’s father’s experiment, Bramford is now half-man, half-animal. He still walks and talks but his muscles and some features now have a jaguar like appearance. Eden, infuriated by Bramford when he was a human is now even more so. So why does she feel a growing attraction to him, and will Eden’s father’s experiment help or hinder humanity?
Revealing Eden by Victoria Foyt is a highly intriguing novel. On some levels it sounds like a very strange novel: a half-man half-animal character that a human girl is developing feelings for – how can that work as a novel? Yet it does.
Eden was a very interesting character: she misses her Mum who has passed away and she feels completely ignored by her father. She is panicking about her mate-rate and that she has only six months left to find someone, and on top of all that, she then finds herself in the middle of a rainforest with a half-man half-animal being, that she is slowly developing feelings for. Talk about one confused girl. She is very lost. As a Pearl, Eden has to cover her skin with a dark make-up (like a foundation) called Midnight Luster and because of this she feels as if no-one has ever seen the real Eden, no-one sees her for her. All they see is that she is a Pearl.
As the story progresses, Eden begins to look at herself and life differently, party due to Bramford. There is a hope to the story that she will eventually become comfortable in her own skin. I really liked Eden, sometimes my heart just broke for her. I also liked Bramford and the mystery that surrounded him. As I turned more and more pages, secrets about Bramford were revealed and I could see and understand why he made the choices that he did.
There were a few times when I found the novel confusing, not in terms of the actual writing or style. It was more to do with the scientific terms that were often included. I felt that it distracted me a little. Throughout the novel, Victoria Foyt also included small passages of Emily Dickinson’s poetry. I can’t make up my mind as to whether I liked this inclusion or not. On the one hand it added a sense of romance to the novel but on the other I did feel that it was a distraction to the story.
The majority of the novel focuses on Eden and her struggle to survive in the rainforest, but there is also a romance storyline, and I felt that both plots were balanced very well. In Revealing Eden there are many surprises and the novel is so intriguing that I wanted to keep reading and reading. It fascinated me as it was a very unique and intricately woven story. I’m very interested in seeing where Victoria Foyt takes Eden’s story in the sequel – Adapting Eden.
I think that fans of dystopian novels that have a touch of romance to them, and people who have an interest in evolution will find this novel fascinating and highy enjoyable.
*Thank you to Matt Souza, Sand Dollar Press, and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of Revealing Eden to review.