Sara’s Review of Eden’s Root by Rachel Fisher
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Date of Publication: December 17th 2011
Series: Eden’s Root Trilogy
The year is 2033 and the world hovers on the edge of explosion as unexplained crop deaths lead to severe global food shortages. In the United States, the Sickness is taking lives slowly, creeping its way into every family. Fi Kelly has already faced the Sickness in her own family, toughening her beyond her years. But a shocking confession from her dying father will push her toughness to its absolute limits. Saddled with an impossible secret and the mission of saving her little sister, Fi sets out to transform herself into the warrior that she must become to survive the coming collapse. Along the way, she will discover that evil can be accidental and that love can be intentional.
This was an interesting take on the post-apocalyptic/dystopian themes that are becoming popular in YA of late. While there were elements to the story that I enjoyed, I have to admit that this book left me rather disappointed when all is said and done.
Let me first talk a bit about the strengths this novel has.
First off, Fisher does a wonderful job creating a set of rich, complex characters. When we first meet Fi she is only 14 years old, but she doesn’t act like your typical young teen. In fact there were times where I found myself thinking of her as being much older than she was, much much older to be honest. I loved how Fisher would periodically remind the reader of Fi’s age based on the reactions of those she meets throughout the story. She’s a strong, determined, ready to do what must be done type of character. The only draw back is, she’s a bit too good to be true. It might be just me, but I don’t know that many 14 year old’s who would so easily take on the responsibilities that Fi takes. Still, she does kick some serious butt throughout the book! Sean’s got a boy next door type vibe going for him. To be honest, he sort of reminded me of Peeta from Hunger Games regarding his personality. He’s loyal and there’s no question he would do what ever was necessary to protect Fi and the Family, but he’s not exactly a fighter. I liked that Fisher didn’t force them into a romance together and instead kept them as friends.
Another strength the book had going for it was the famine and the Sickfood verses Truefood discussion. Though it was not the main focus of the entire book, I found it to be an intriguing plot idea. In a time when so many of the foods we eat are chemically manipulated or enhanced, it sort of makes you wonder whether such an event as depicted in this story could occur. I don’t know about the rest of you all, but this feline is definitely going to be taking a closer look at the kibble she eats in the future. Murr!
So, what was it about the book that left me disappointed? Well, it was slow and there was just too much unnecessary information. Yes, there were action scenes, but the scenes leading up to them dragged. Honestly, I think a lot of the initial scenes, Fi’s training and preparation for the disaster to come and the long trek to find Eden with the Family, could have been more effective if they were summarized rather than given many chapters worth of attention. I couldn’t help but feel bombarded by needless details.
I also found the shifting between Fi, Sean, and Asher’s points of view to be distracting. Yes, it was nice to get a different perspective on events at times, but I think it would have been more effective to have just the story told from Fi’s perspective. I mention this because at one point early on you get introduced to Asher, and then he just disappears for half the story! This was rather disappointing for me because I actually found his views of events to be a lot more interesting mostly because he was looking at events through a journalist’s eyes.
At any rate, while Eden’s Root didn’t grab me as much as I hoped it would, I still think it has a lot of potential. And I will admit that I am curious to see what Fisher has planned for the next two books in the trilogy.
And speaking of the trilogy, Fisher has recently released the second book of the series, Seeds of War. You can find it by visiting Amazon and Smashwords. Also, there is an Eden’s Root Backstory which you can find by visiting Fisher’s Blog.