I received this book for free from Publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.After Eden by Helen Douglas
Series: After Eden #1
Published by Bloomsbury Childrens on November 5th, 2013
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Time Travel, Young Adult
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Eden Anfield loves puzzles, so when mysterious new boy Ryan Westland shows up at her school she's hooked. On the face of it, he's a typical American teenager. So why doesn't he recognise pizza? And how come he hasn't heard of Hitler? What puzzles Eden the most, however, is the interest he's taking in her.
As Eden starts to fall in love with Ryan, she begins to unravel his secret. Her breakthrough comes one rainy afternoon when she stumbles across a book in Ryan's bedroom - a biography of her best friend - written over fifty years in the future. Confronting Ryan, she discovers that he is there with one unbelievably important purpose ... and she might just have destroyed his only chance of success.
Oh dear. After Eden, what can I say? Perhaps I can start with that I should have known better. I was tempted by the time traveling, the starry cover, which all hint to the kind of sci-fi I easily fall for. But I should have paid more attention to the obvious instalove inherent in the synopsis. I should have listened to my gut. While to a certain extent I really liked the sci-fi part of this, it was wrapped up in this sadly irritating instalove coating with a stupid main character.
I guess I might as well start with the main character, Eden, who fills me with feelings of meh. She doesn’t have much of a personality to start off with, but quickly forms an obsession with the new boy in school, which really makes me roll my eyes. She’s the jealous type, so when one of the other girls starts flirting with him she becomes a whiny, insecure little girl. Time after time, Ryan (the new boy) tries to convince her that her best friend, Connor is in love with her. Even when the evidence is pushed in her face (he hates any time Ryan is around, because he knows they like each other, and gets super snarky then; and the sheer fact that he names the planet he discovers after her – seriously, that’s not strong enough evidence), she’s just totally naive about it. So most of her narrations result in eye rolls and sighs.
And let’s talk about Connor for a second too, because I have so much hate for him. He’s supposedly Eden’s best friend, but not once in this entire book does he act like it. Instead he’s a whiny sore loser the whole time because of Ryan showing up. At a certain point, Eden says about him, “He’s hard not to like.” Really? I had no fucking problem at all not liking him. It came quite naturally in fact. And later she actually says, “Every time Connor spoke to me, I worried that it would turn into an argument.” That’s how their dynamic was throughout the entire book. So why in the world were they best friends at all? I mean, if you’re going to label them best friends, you have to make it believable. At least at the beginning, show how strong their friendship was before Ryan showed up or something. Or throughout, show that although Connor is jealous he still cares for Eden. But no, he had to be a whiny little asshole to her all throughout the book. UGH.
As far as Ryan and the romance go… I don’t have much to say. It was instalove. Ryan is just the smoldering, hot type. Mysterious because of the lack of knowledge of standard 21st century things. But that’s about it. Can’t say I picked up on more personality than that. He was a man on a mission, and that’s about as interesting as he got. If the romance would have held off on the more obvious insta-attraction, can’t ever stop thinking about him/her, stuff, I may have liked it. In fact, I kind of liked it at the end, though it’s still a little too co-dependent than I would have wanted. (The ending… GRRRR MASSIVE GRRR.)
But seriously, dump this instalove, love triangle romance crap, and the sci-fi is so cool. So mild spoilers ahead, if you care about that kind of thing: but Connor is destined to discover an Earth-like planet in the future. In fact, it’s the only planet that could be habitable for humans. But, it is inhabited by a parasite. During the first journeys to that planet, the passengers carry that parasite back with them to Earth, and it slowly starts killing the planet until the population in 2122 is less than one billion. So Ryan is sent back in time to stop Connor from discovering it. I mean. I mean. This is the kind of thing that has me jumping for joy. Love it, love the concept. Whyyyy must it be wrapped in this coating of annoying?