I was planning to write about Katie Clark's Enslaved series for this post after all my recent discussions on dystopian love triangles (here is my post on Lands Uncharted about picking teams in popular series featuring love triangles, and here is my guest post on Speculative Faith discussing the elements that contribute to an effective love triangle).
Instead, I got the exciting opportunity to receive an advance reader copy of Katie Clark's newest book, Shadowed Eden (which just released on April 26th), in return for an honest review. And here it is!
Avery has signed up for a mission trip to build a school in a small village in Iraq, but things go awry almost as soon as their plane lands. Before they even reach the village, their vans get caught up in a sandstorm that blows them off course. They find themselves at the edge of a mysterious jungle in the middle of the desert, struggling to survive until they can be rescued. But as they slowly begin to unravel the jungle's secrets, they discover that someone, or something, is sabotaging their efforts to find help. In the midst of these external conflicts, Avery is faced with trying to gain acceptance from her father and peers, and the confusion of working alongside her ex-boyfriend.
Shadowed Eden was unlike any book I've ever read, which made it completely unpredictable. The other-worldliness of the jungle balanced nicely with the typical teen issues that arose as the characters formed friendships and butted heads. Avery and her ex-boyfriend Luca each approached the derailment of their trip with courage and intelligence, but their complex pasts and conflicting feelings about their relationship made them well-rounded and easy to relate to. Clark did a great job moving the story along while weaving in interesting tidbits of backstory, and the well-timed surprises she threw in kept my attention throughout. I would've liked to see the ending fleshed out more, as everything wrapped up a little too quickly for my taste, but I believe this book is the first in a series, so maybe I just need to wait for the next one!
I would recommend this as a fascinating read for any YA fan, since it blends elements of both contemporary and fantasy.
So, what do you think? Has your curiosity been piqued? Have you read anything with a comparable premise?
See you next time!
P.S. If you're interested in purchasing Shadowed Eden, click here. And don't worry, my post on Clark's Enslaved series is still coming - it's already written :)