Michelle's Review: Dark Eden by Patrick Carman

book cover ARC: 318 pages
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: November 1, 2011
ISBN: 9780062009708

Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Dark Eden #1
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Fifteen-year-old Will Besting is sent by his doctor to Fort Eden, an institution meant to help patients suffering from crippling phobias. Once there, Will and six other teenagers take turns in mysterious fear chambers and confront their worst nightmares—with the help of the group facilitator, Rainsford, an enigmatic guide. When the patients emerge from the chamber, they feel emboldened by the previous night's experiences. But each person soon discovers strange, unexplained aches and pains... What is really happening to the seven teens trapped in this dark Eden?
Patrick Carman's Dark Eden is a provocative exploration of fear, betrayal, memory, and— ultimately—immortality.

Michelle's Review:
I was initially interested in reading Dark Eden because it was a "boy book." Most of the young adult novels I read are girl-themed (a female main protagonist, strong romantic theme, etc.) so this book was a different read for me.

Basically, the story was about seven teens suffering from crippling phobias. They were sent to Dark Eden, an isolated facility ran by man named Rainsford who was the only one who can cure them through immersion therapy. One of the boys, Will, ended being separated from the group because of his phobia and ended up hiding out in a room where he got to watch the others get "cured" by Rainsford. But Will started to realize that there's something more sinister going on beneath the surface.

I really liked how dark the atmosphere of this book was--in my mind's eye I saw a lot of eerie shadows, dark hallways, dank corners and mad scientist contraptions when I was reading the novel. I also liked that each of the teens' phobia was not revealed right away, especially Will's. Until his phobia was made known, I didn't truly understand his actions but when we finally learn his fear, things started to come together. I thought the first half did drag a little and I wasn't sure where the author was going to take the story but the second half had me riveted. There were a lot of twists in this book and it's not until the very end that everything will make sense but the big reveal was really good.

Dark Eden is a transmedia novel and that means there is an app you can download that includes images, audio, video and others that go with the novel. I downloaded the first chapter of the app because they were offering it for free. I wasn't able to get the full experience since I only downloaded the first chapter of the app but it was interesting--it was sort of like "DVD extras" to go with your book if that makes any sense.

In short, Dark Eden was an interesting read. I enjoyed the mysterious setting, the twists and how everything came together in the end. Dark Eden was a wonderful start to the series. I am definitely interested in reading the next book.


  1. Michelle, as the director of the mobile app version of DARK EDEN, I wanted to thank you for your review, and clarify something for your readers. The mobile app version of DARK EDEN is an alternative way to experience the story.

    It's the entire DARK EDEN story, but told in a more kinetic way (audio diaries, written journal entries, photos and videos). Some people might describe it as an ARG (alternate reality game) experience because you are locating "clues" on a map, and have a sense of where the next story element takes place.

    So I guess I'd say it's less like the DVD extras that come with a movie, it's more like a movie (as a different way to enjoy a story) versus a book. Make sense?

    Thanks again!

  2. Sounds interesting and different so it's for me. I agree it's nice to read from a boy's pov. Great review Michelle.


Thank you so much to stopping by today and taking the time to comment.