Title: Diving Eden
Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Narrator: Lauren Fortgang
Running Time: 9 hours, 48 minutes
TRIGGER WARINGS: Substance abuse
Goodreads Summary: From the author of the New York Times bestselling Testing trilogy comes a sweeping new fantasy series, perfect for fans of Victoria Aveyard and Sarah J. Maas.
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?
Dividing Eden was a quick, fun, but ultimately somewhat forgettable read. I sped through the book, but just days after finishing it, I find myself struggling to remember exactly what happened in Dividing Eden. It felt a bit like it went by too fast.
The plot of Dividing Eden was entertaining, yes, but it also felt kind of standard for YA fantasy. Which is probably why the book was ultimately kinda forgettable for me. It was almost a mash up of fantasy and dystopian tropes, very much like Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen. You had the “deadly trials,” the “plotting politicians,” the “possibly fraudulent seer,” the “mysterious foreigner”–and those are just a few of the tropes employed! It just felt a little rinse-wash-repeat, if ya know what I mean. Like, it was fun and kept me reading, but the trope-y-ness of it all didn’t do much in the way of distinguishing Dividing Eden from other books.
The characters were kinda “meh” too, but not horrible.
I appreciated that Carys wasn’t the typical strong, spunky, plucky YA heroine. She’s kinda hard to like as she’s not very warm. But underneath her cold veneer, Carys loves deeply and cares so much and is so incredibly loyal to those she loves. And she has weaknesses too–and major ones, not just the typical “Oh, I’m so clumsy, haha, isn’t it cute?” thing. But at the same time, while I really appreciated these things about Carys, they also made her difficult to love as a character. It is because Carys is so cold and aloof that readers may find it difficult to really feel like they know her. Carys is the type of character you respect, but don’t necessarily feel as though she could be your friend.
Andreus…Andreus was…for lack of better, politer words, a total dick who was guided completely by his dick. Ugh. When Andreus first came on the page, he reminded me of the medieval fantasy version of a bro. He’s endearing, yes, and had his redeeming qualities, but he’s a total womanizer. But. I must say that as much as I came to loathe Andreus, I do think he had a great character arc from sympathetic womanizer to…well, how he ends up in the end (and I’m not going to say anything more that that for fear of spoilers).
As for our villains, they were kind of obvious. The book tries to set up this mystery like “Who killed the king and his heir???” but the villains are kind of mustache twirling, ya know what I mean? Like, they did everything stereotypical villains are supposed to do except cackle “MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” at the end of their sentences. So it was a little difficult to take them seriously at times.
All in all, my final verdict is that Dividing Eden was entertaining but trope-filled and ultimately forgettable. I’ unsure as to whether or not I’ll pick up the sequel, so I guess we’ll see when it’s released. I gave Dividing Eden three out of five stars.