MINI MONDAY: Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau

Dividing Eden is the first in a new series by Joelle Charbonneau, author of the bestselling Testing Trilogy. Set to release on June 6th, 2017, Dividing Eden is an engaging new fantasy series, sure to be enjoyed by fans of Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen series, among others. (DISCLAIMER: I received an advenced reader copy of Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau from HarperTeen in exchange for an honest review).

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? (chapters.indigo.ca)

dividing-eden

I wasn’t sure what the expect from Dividing Eden – the premise seemed a bit goofy to me, but I am always willing to give anything that qualifies at YA Fantasy a try. I am glad that I did, because Dividing Eden definitely impressed, despite minor flaws.

What I Liked:

  • As individuals, Carys and Andreus were well drawn, engaging characters, who, despite the constant comparison between them, maintained their individuality throughout the novel. The two begin fiercly loyal to one another, despite their secrets and resentment.
    • Carys has spent her entire life defending her brother from the threat of a forgotten prophecy and a mysterious illness. Hardened by the hardships and punishments she has faced to keep her brother safe in a cruel household, Carys has few allies and even fewer friends, not to mention a dangerous addiction to a mysterious painkiller.
    • Andreus has spent years hiding his illness for fear of a prophecy spoken to his mother before his birth, but unlike his sister, this secret has not hardened him. Andreus is a ladies man, with a dangerous attraction to his brother’s former fiance. He’s wickedly smart, but his illness limits his athleticism, putting him at risk from attacks at all sides, and at risk for exposure.
  • The quick-paced action of the plot kept the story engaging. Carys and Andreus were constantly engaged in espionage, challenges and a battle of wills, making for an engrossing plot that simply flew by.
    • In particular, the clandestine nature of the “villains” was very interesting to me – I liked that not everyone who had a hand in the death of the king and crown prince was revealed, leaving some lingering questions for the next book in this series!

What I Didn’t Like:

  • The dissolution of Carys and Andreus’s relationship – while necessary to the plot, the reasons behind the dissolution of their relationship felt goofy and forced, especially after Charbonneau had previous built the twins relationship up to be some unshakable. And then has the simplest jealousy shake it to its core, as if it never had any stability in the first place (which it must have, for the two to do the things they had done for one another).
  • The Trial of Succession between the twins felt overly contrived and goofy – especially the first competition. I don’t know what I expected, but that wasn’t it.

Overall Verdict: 

Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau is a solid, well-written start to a new series from a strong author. The plot was engaging and fast-paced, making for an interesting rea. Carys and Andreus were strong protagonists, balanced by equally powerful antagonists veiled in shadows. Overall, Dividing Eden is definitely worth the read (3.5/5).

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