Children of Eden by Joey Graceffa
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 30th 2017 by Atria/Keywords Press (first published October 1st 2016)
~Rating: 3.5/5 stars~
What would you do in order to survive if your very existence were illegal?
Rowan is a second child in a world where population control measures make her an outlaw, marked for death. She can never go to school, make friends, or get the eye implants that will mark her as a true member of Eden.
utside of Eden, Earth is poisoned and dead. All animals and most plants have been destroyed by a man-made catastrophe. Long ago, the brilliant scientist Aaron Al-Baz saved a pocket of civilization by designing the EcoPanopticon, a massive computer program that hijacked all global technology and put it to use preserving the last vestiges of mankind. Humans will wait for thousands of years in Eden until the EcoPan heals the world.
As an illegal second child, Rowan has been hidden away from the ruthless Center government in her family’s compound for sixteen years. Now, desperate to see the world, she recklessly escapes for what she swears will be only one night of adventure. Though she finds an exotic world, and even a friend, the night leads to tragedy. Soon Rowan becomes a renegade on the run.
I used to watch Joey, since he’s had 100k subscribers, but now I hardly even watch YouTube. I had seen Children of Eden the video he posted, and the synopsis sounded interesting enough that I eventually picked it up. There are two things that should be noted about this book before picking it up. The first being that it isn’t written solely by Joey. I know there is no indication on the cover, it clearly states on the title page that it was written with Laura L. Sullivan. And the second thing, while this book is ostensibly a standalone, it really is not. The story does not end with any kind of resolution and actually leaves more questions than have been answered. I know there is a second book that was released a few months ago, whether I read it, is the question..
“But alone is good. Alone is safe.”
Children of Eden is a dystopian novel, set in a post-apocalyptic world where the sole survivors of Earth now live in Eden, where everything is regulated, including the human population. Each family is only allowed to have one child, in order to preserve the little amounts of food that exists in Eden. Second Children are illegal and are usually killed before they are even born. Those who have been hidden away in secret by their families, usually live a life of imprisonment and are not able to live a normal life, unless they are able to obtain black market lenses that are used for identification, and assume a new identity. Rowan is a Second Child and comes from a well-respected family who have the means to buy her a pair of lenses and a new identity. However, having this new identity and freedom means that she can never see her family again. When Rowan learns about this, she has her first act of rebellion and escapes from her house for a night. There she meets a friend but this taste of freedom leads to dangerous and tragic consequences. Soon, she finds herself on the run from the Greenshirts and meets other Second Children along the way.
“For a second I marvel at the technology humans can create. How did we get to be so powerful, but so destructive? With so much intelligence, couldn’t we see the point past which one begets the other?
I have mixed feelings on the writing. While most of the writing was good and much better than I had expected going into the book. I liked the world in this book a lot. It was well conceptualized and nicely described. But there was too much focus on World-Building, I felt like the there was hardly any character building… In my opinion it seemed as if, instead of letting the characters and plot develop organically through the writing process, the writers decided upon certain elements and wrote around them.
Like in many, many, many other YA novels, there is a preoccupation with eyes. A major plot point in this story is the people of Eden get fitted with “kaleidoscope” lenses that make them look “flat”. Then, of course, the government that is lying to everyone. Classic. And before I forget to mention the pubescent children who somehow are able to break into government buildings and take down armed guards. Another Classic! AND Of course, what’s a story without love/affection? Love that is immediate and unwarranted. Also, a love triangle…but not any love triangle; a bisexual love triangle. Which was cute and all, BUT DEVELOPED WAYY TOOO FAST… like unbelievably fast, and it felt extremely forced… I felt like there wasn’t much leading up to the ‘love’ part…. it was basically, from the moment of actually meeting Lark … ‘Lark, Lark, Lark, Lark, Lark, Lark,” I thought, “I wonder what Lark is doing, etc” (not a quote from the book, just my way of looking at the insant love)… Mehh…
“Lark rolls toward me, propping herself up on her elbow. She looks into my eyes and says solemnly, “I chose you.”
Then, slowly, she bends until her lips touch mine. Her lilac hair tumbles over us, and though it I can see the stars shining. Oh Earth, they’re spinning! They’re dancing…”
I wouldn’t say this was a completely original story line, it did have some originality and it was entertaining at times. I thought it included some interesting elements, small twists and turns throughout the story that kind of kept me on my toes and turning the pages. But it’s definitely similar to other worlds that I’ve read about before. Having said that, I do think that too much of the book was dedicated to the world building and there wasn’t a lot of anything else in the novel.
One thing that was distracting and took away from the gravity of the plot was the fake curse words that peppered in throughout the book… I felt like the fake curse words were a bit stupid and very unrealistic. Though it became humorous to read the characters exclaiming “bik” or whatever like that during what were meant to be emotionally devastating situations… Yeah very unrealistic… This was one of the reasons why I’m rating this a 3.5 …
All problems aside, the story is intriguing, and I really did enjoy this book. It was an easy, quick read that was kinda fun. I think this is the first and last book of Joey’s I’ll ever review. Also, I’m not sure if I’ll read the next book in the series. I recommend it to those of you that like typical YA dystioian books.
Joey Graceffa is one of the fastest-growing personalities on YouTube. A popular brand ambassador, he has partnered with Topshop, Audible, eBay, and H&R Block. In 2013, between his daily vlogs and gameplay videos, Joey produced and starred in his own Kickstarter–funded supernatural series, “Storytellers,” for which he won a Streamy Award. He also starred in The Amazing Race on CBS and returned in 2014 for the all-star edition. He grew up with his family in Boston before moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career in entertainment.