Review

Dark Eden

by Patrick Carman

Fifteen-year-old Will Besting suffers from a crippling fear that controls his life. No amount of traditional therapy with Dr. Cynthia Stevens has helped. As a result, Dr. Stevens refers Will and six other teenagers with various phobias to her mentor, Dr. Rainsford, who has a unique program set up that promises a cure. So the seven teens travel to a remote location to undergo an intensive, alternate therapy. They aren’t thrilled with the decision, yet feel they don’t have any choice but to take it to the next level. Or, more accurately, their parents have insisted they go: “it will be like camp,” they’re told. But Will has his doubts, sensing that something isn’t right.

"Patrick Carman has proven himself a talented writer for young people time and again, and his latest masterpiece is intense, intriguing, and huge on the wow factor."
Will meets his fellow patients for the first time on the van ride over to the place called Fort Eden. But Will has a secret. Although he has never encountered them before, he knows all about the six other teenagers. He hacked into Dr. Stevens’s computer and downloaded all of their audio-recorded therapy sessions. Everyone is just about how he pictured them, especially Marisa, who he’s particularly interested in.
 
However, Will cannot bring himself to go through with the therapy. On the hike into the woods to get to Fort Eden, he slips away from the group. He hides out and observes the others, witnessing their transformations. He must admit that it does seem to work, but his gut tells him that something is wrong. It turns out that the cure comes at a price. He secretly contacts Marisa and discusses the situation with her. He wants to warn her not to go through with it, but he might be too late. What Will discovers about Fort Eden turns out to be way beyond his darkest nightmares.
 
Patrick Carman has proven himself a talented writer for young people time and again, and his latest masterpiece is intense, intriguing, and huge on the wow factor. The storyline hooks readers early and pulls them quickly though the creepy pages. The book has some unique features, like apps to download, and something I’ve never seen in a novel: footnotes. Carman cleverly uses foreshadowing and symbolism to enhance the story, and for those of us who are a bit slow in understanding symbolism (I am guilty of that), he has Will Besting explain some of it at the end.
 
I especially love the twists and turns that I never saw coming, one of which is a sequel in the works, EVE OF DESTRUCTION, which I’m very much looking forward to reading when it releases in April 2012.

Reviewed by on November 21, 2011

Dark Eden
by Patrick Carman