Author: Helen Douglas
Series: After Eden #1
Rating: 2.5 / 5 stars
After Eden is set in present day England with a bit of a twist. Before we get into the sci-fi aspects of the novel, what I noticed first off the get go was that no one in the novel seemed to sound British at all. While Ryan seems mysterious for Eden because he is American, I have a heard time believing anyone else in this novel is anything but. Perhaps the version I read is a dumbed down American version where all the colloquialisms are taken out and spelling is adjusted so as not to confuse our small American minds.
Right off the bat, I could tell something was off about Ryan, and it didn’t take me long to guess that time travel was involved. I figured he was from the past, since he didn’t know a thing about pizza or Hitler, or other key players in history, but could quote old literature. But readers and Eden alike soon realize that he is not from the past, but from the future. He has come to his past to try to change something in the future. Right at this point, the novel lost me. I had been dragging through it a little up to then because of the young adult angsty romance, but as soon as time paradoxes abounded, I was pretty much done for.
My main issue with After Eden isn’t that time paradoxes occur, but with the paradoxical way that Douglas decides to handle them. For example, Ryan explains to Eden that time travelers actually caused the extinction of dinosaurs with a bacteria or a virus they brought back with them (similar to the Brits to the Indians with small pox if I understood right). But then, according to Douglas, the presence of the time travelers in the past created this world so while they changed it, it was always part of history. That time of time travel (while I am not a believer in the popular version of sci-fi time travel) I can get behind. But then to say that Ryan and crew have come from the future to try to change their circumstances seemed highly counter intuitive to me.
If I could have gotten past the whole time paradoxes issue with the novel, I still don’t think I would have fully enjoyed it. The characters were not wholly original and spent far too much of the time worried about impressions they left on each other and relationships than on the objective at hand, which seemed pretty darn important. For readers that like romance with just a hint of plot, then After Eden is probably going to entertain. For readers that like sci-fi plot (or just plot in general) with a hint of romance, there are better written novels out there.
I would say I am done with this series, except I read the synopsis for the next novel, and it suggests it might have promise, as it might be sci-fi heavy and original enough to overcome the short falls of this first novel. So I guess we shall see.