GIVEAWAY and REVIEW: Escape from Eden by Elisa Nader
Escape from Eden
Published on 08/18/13 Genres: Dark, Dystopia, Thriller, Young Adult
Since the age of ten, Mia has lived under the iron fist of the fundamentalist preacher who lured her mother away to join his fanatical family of followers. In Edenton, a supposed “Garden of Eden” deep in the South American jungle, everyone follows the Reverend’s strict but arbitrary rules—even the mandate of whom they can marry. Now sixteen, Mia dreams of slipping away from the armed guards who keep the faithful in, and the curious out. When the rebellious and sexy Gabriel, a new boy, arrives with his family, Mia sees a chance to escape.
But the scandalous secrets the two discover beyond the compound’s façade are more shocking than anything they ever imagined. While Gabriel has his own terrible secrets, he and Mia bond together, more than friends and freedom fighters. But is there time to think of each other as they race to stop the Reverend’s paranoid plan to free his flock from the corrupt world? Can two teenagers crush a criminal mastermind? And who will die in the fight to save the ones they love from a madman who’s only concerned about his own secrets?
Welcome to my stop on the Escape from Eden blog tour hosted by YA Bound Book Tours. Click HERE to see the full blog tour schedule!
I’ve been reading a lot of YA lately, mostly because the best dystopians seem to be YA these days and Escape from Eden certainly qualifies as one of those. This is a brutal, well-written, and captivating look into a young girl’s view of a cult society she was forced to join as a small child by her mother.
Mia is sixteen, she lives in a South American jungle under the thumb of a dictatorial charismatic religious cult leader called Reverend Elias Eden. She’s old enough now to understand this was not her choice and she’s smart enough to know that she really needs to get out of this place, like yesterday. But these vague thoughts become a crushing reality when her kitchen boss asks her to help bake what she figured was an innocent batch of cookies. Uh, no.
The book is very violent, not so much at the beginning, but the ending – holy shit. And I say that in the best possible way! I was like whoa.
This book was a fast-paced, well-written almost thriller, really. It had a lot of action, the hero, Gabriel, and heroine, Mia, both took their licks and punishments. Neither cowered from the leadership. Mia did a little in the beginning, just because the shock of finding to the truth slowed her down I think. But for the most part, both of these characters displayed courage and determination, and even selflessness. Even towards their parents who started all this crap in the first place by bringing them there.
As far as favorite characters go, hands down I enjoyed Gabriel the most. His snarky attitude, his willingness perform the manual labor as his punishments, that was intriguing to me. He didn’t rebel in a dumb way, he was mouthy, but not really defiant. He did what he was told and yet rebelled at the same time. This is a smart character. When you’re in a dangerous situation, smart people learn to deal as they make a plan. Gabriel definitely did this. His past as well, VERY original. That was one hell of a dark secret, brilliant, really. Never heard of that one before.
Mia was a little less willing to smart off or do crazy things unless Gabriel was there up until the middle of the book, but she too was a smart character. And even though she was pretty desensitized to the brutality of what was going on around her, she knew it was wrong, unlike some of her more stupid friends.
The religion in this book was just right. I’m not a religion basher, so I’m not one of those bloggers who criticize books if they have a religious message, but neither do I want religion to be made to look bad just for the sake of the story. This book handled it perfectly. It wasn’t religion doing these things, it was people. I think the opening sequence with the sermon was exceptionally well done.
In addition, in a way I got the feeling that some of the “devout”, like Grizz, liked Mia a lot. And not in a weird way, but were sorta trying to protect her even though what was going on was child abuse. So that was intriguing to me. I can see how/why some of the more naïve girls would accept things. They were very well treated in some instances, but the punishments were brutal, and they were disproportionate. Meaning Gabriel could do all kinds of crazy things and only be sentenced to digging a hole, but when the Reverend wanted to send a “message” to his flock, wow – look out.
This book was good and I’m really glad I took a chance on it. I’m getting sick of the same old NA contemporaries, so I’ve been taking a lot of YA dystopians lately, and I’m very glad I got in on this tour. I would’ve given it five stars, but the ending was a little abrupt. I was left wondering if this was a series.
(2) Sets of Moleskine Sketchbook, set of Le Pen colored fine tip pens, a copy of Otherkin and Othermoon by Elisa’s crit partner Nina Berry, and a personalized copy of Escape from Eden
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