ARC Book Review: After Eden by Helen Douglas

Posted June 23, 2013 by Debby in Book Reviews

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.

ARC Book Review: After Eden by Helen DouglasAfter Eden by Helen Douglas
Series: After Eden #1
Published by Bloomsbury Childrens on November 5th, 2013
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Time Travel, Young Adult
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
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.

2 Stars

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?

Summing Up:

Disappointment is the word, although my hopes weren’t that high in the first place. I need a connection with a main character, and Eden just made me shake my head at her all the time. If anything, I’ve learned now which warning bells to listen to when it comes to reading synopses. A pity though about the instalove, because the sci-fi part of this was actually really cool. Oh, and Connor, GDIAF.

GIF it to me straight!

Recommended To:

Sci-fi-lite fans who aren’t turned off by instalove.

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10 responses to “ARC Book Review: After Eden by Helen Douglas

  1. Oh no I was really looking forward to this book, but now that you mention the insta-love…ugh. The sci-fi/time travelling aspect is what appealed me to the book in the first place, not the romance. And by the way you describe Eden I'm pretty sure I'll be annoyed with her throughout reading, so sadly I think I'll pass on this one.

  2. Yeah, sadly, the sci-fi part is really brief and that romantic melodrama just comes on and on and on… I think it's probably wise to pass this one up if you're not a fan of instalove.

  3. YES. God, the potential here. Luckily, I just read All Our Yesterdays. It has a similar kind of premise but is totally bad ass and awesome. So I would say, go for that one. 🙂

  4. Heh, it was the synopsis that turned me away from this one. I doubt I'd like it any more than you did, too. Eden sounds like a character cut out of cardboard, and Connor sounds like another one of those bitchy best friends! But that sci-fi part you mentioned DOES intrigue me. I'm torn! And I'm surprised you managed to get through this book with a sucky MC, an asshole of a best friend, and insta-love. It's making me cringe. Thanks for the heads-up!
    My recent post The Neptune Project Blog Tour: 3 Questions & Giveaway

  5. Connor is definitely a bitchy best friend, but then ALSO one side of the love triangle and…. asdfjkl; the more I think about it, the more RAGE I feel. *sigh* The sci-fi part was awesome yes, and in that case, I would direct you to All Our Yesterdays. Has an almost similar plot but AMAZING characters, growth, action, suspense, EVERYTHING this book should have been.

    And trust me, I had A LOT of trouble not giving up on this one. *sigh*

  6. Book Blather

    Feelings of MEH and INSTA-LOVE – definitely worthy of a Harvey Spector GIF! Sorry this one suckered you, but know you are not alone – it happens to me all too often sadly. But it's worth it for the books which really impress us, the surprising ones you least expect. 🙂
    My recent post Book Review: Ten Tiny Breaths by K. A. Tucker

  7. As I was scrolling, I happened to see your recommendation note first and I already know this book is NOT for me. I love sci fi, but am mostly annoyed by sci fi lite. And I am annoyed by instalove in almost all cases.

    Alright, now for the rest of the review.

    The downside of not reading/skimming synopses = sometimes I wonder why the heck I have inflicted such torture on myself. Sigh.

    OH GOOD THE JEALOUS TYPE. You can't flirt with the new boy. I claimed him. Even though I didn't see him first OR write my name on him, which are both legitimate forms of claiming as long as you're still in K-12 (and have had your cootie shot).

    Oh no. I hate these friends who are not actually friends. That's one of the things that make me SO MAD about Possess. Just no. Some people have good friends. Plus, if the book is about unhealthy friendships, which, honestly, were more of my experience in school, then they should be shown that way and not just this weird side thing that happens with no explanation.

    I am sick of mysterious love interests. How about a love interest who overshares? Maybe I need to reread Just Listen. A completely honest love interest who will (the mind boggles) ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS and (even more shocking) NOT LIE TO YOU.

    But if he goes back in time and stops that, EVERYTHING would change.
    My recent post Why I'm Still Not on Board with New Adult

  8. Same for me, give me the sci-fi straight up, seriously. And instalove needs to die. x_x

    "Even though I didn't see him first OR write my name on him, which are both legitimate forms of claiming as long as you're still in K-12"
    LOLOLOLOL. That is sadly the kind of immaturity this book resorted to. *sigh*

    To be honest, the love interest here did share his mysteries, yeah. He did keep some things to himself, but he was bound by the time travel laws, so I kind of get that. So the mysterious part mostly just bothered me because it was such a cliche.