A marooned outpost of humanity struggles to survive on a startlingly alien world. John Redlantern, one of the 532 degenerating descendants of two marooned space explorers, will break the laws of Eden, shatter the Family, and change history. He will be the first to abandon hope, the first to abandon the old ways, the first to kill another, the first to venture into the Dark, and the first to discover the truth about Eden....
Chris Beckett is a university lecturer living in Cambridge. He has written over 20 short stories, many of them originally published in Interzone and Asimov's. In 2009 he won the Edge Hill Short Story competition for his collection of stories, The Turing Test.
©2013 Chris Beckett (P)2013 Audible Ltd
The book starts a bit slow and it's a very unusual kind of story, but you get into it fairly quickly. The bulk of the book is a great character study, with very real young people in it, but the end fell apart. Even without changing the plot, the end could have been written better.
Much of the subject matter is too adult for the rest of the book. That's not to say it didn't belong there. I think it was well treated and necessary for the story. The problem is that in every other respect it would be a great bit of young adult science fiction -- the adolescent exploration of a new environment, the rebellion against the enforced status quo, etc. are all staples of good YASF; but there's just too much content that I'd say most parents would want to wait for late teens (at least) before being comfortable with the kids getting to deep into.
The story was well read, and the subject matter well treated for all that.
"It just ended ..... what?"
I liked the idea and concepts in the book, the narration was good and painted the story well. But as it reached its climax .... it just ended, literally mid sentence. I was so disappointed! I even re-downloaded the chapters to make sure I'd not been mistaken, nope that was it.
It had good promise, but ended up being a waste of time and money. Real Shame.
"Gripping story set in a beautiful unusual world."
On surface level - a thrilling story told in a beautiful and imaginative way. Going deeper, it says so much about life and human character, the structure of society, history... I love a story that makes me think!
Dark Eden is hard to compare - if you love science fiction, you will find links to so many books, yet nothing quite like it.
I love how all characters are so transcendent - they all change, cross boundaries, rise and fall, play heroes and villains. It so profoundly reflects the nature of being human, the way people never stay the same, they get wiser, make mistakes, become kind, lose hope, ever-changing. A nice change from the flat characters of countless novels.
I earned a gold all-nighter badge from Audible listening to this! Therefore, you can imagine how hooked I was.
Loved it! And don't listen to any comments that complain of the abrupt ending - the ending is perfectly placed and timed. There was no more to tell.
"A Dark Ending Indeed"
This is a well written story by a talented author - I enjoyed the thoughtfully developed theme. I saw the book was coming to an end and was natually expecting there to be a sequel - but there appears to be no sequel and the book just seemed to stop. I had the feeling that the author just got bored with his work.The official critics out takes appear to suggest the book is excellent and make no mention of the abrupt ending. Perhaps I am so use to SciFi authors writing endless shaggy dog stories volume after volume, that I natuarally expected a follow on. Anyway - enjoyable while it lasted, can do better! Please be a little more friendly to the reader or listener next time. I found the reading to be good, and matched the mood of the story well.
"A good story with a very abrupt ending"
This is a very interesting story told in a very accessible way. Though it is in essence a science fiction story, because of the way that it is told and that it doesn't in any way focus too heavily upon fantasy or science it is quite accessible. Indeed it is told on an alien world, though it is quite easy to overlook that fact since it focuses 80% of the attention upon the characters and their exchanges and interactions.
That would be difficult to say without betraying a rather huge twist in the story.
The performance is very clear and easy to listen to, though there are some occasions where it comes across a little bit too clearly and almost feels as though it is a children's book that is being read. Though otherwise the narration was quite good.
As aforementioned, that would be difficult to say without giving away big parts of the storyline.
Though this was a very enjoyable audio-book and the story and characters were all very good, the ending was quite terribly abrupt, to the point that I had to double check that there was not still another chapter to play or another part of the book to download. It seemed almost as though it finished mid-sentence, and you are left with many questions that can never be answered.
"Gripping Modern Sci Fi"
It's a fresh take on the genre, starting with a previously considered idea of a population abandoned following an exploration from earth but looking at the development in a manner similar to classics like Lord of the Flies
Lord of the Flies or Earthsearch
Yes, good narration bringing characters to life.
My Lord we're flying in space
Chris Beckett is an exciting writer well worth keeping an eye on. I'm looking forward to more.
"There's nothing like it."
It takes a fairly straight forward idea but the way it is told and written takes my breathe away. There is so much to it and yet it is simply told. The style of writing is unique but chosen with a reason that slowly emerges. I needed 30 minutes to 'tune in' to this book (I don't usually need that) but then I was hooked.
I have absolutely nothing to compare this book to.
It is like a 21st Century Rudyard Kipling except he didn't write Sci Fi.
John. The world does have a few people like this.
It's a deep book and yes, pretty dark!
The portrayal of the dark world really works on audio book. There is so much this book gets right, everyone should read it (though not young children).
"A differently told tale that held my interest"
I found this story to be very much a look at the different characters of people in a group. From that perspective I found it quite interesting. The story itself was a believable mixture of things which happened to give the characters something to react to and things that logically follow from the actions of the characters.
The narrative is from the first person perspective of members of the groups and that really helps with bringing out their inner thoughts. Often the same event is seen from multiple perspectives. I found that this device worked quite well and never felt the need to "get on with the story".
I liked this book in a large part because of it's novelty value, it's always nice to read something a little different if it's well done.
The story is narrated by two people and I found both very easy to listen to.
"Very well put together and enjoyable!"
I think the readers performances added an extra dimension to an already good experience!
The story flowed very well and held my interest constantly. Definitely a book I could listen to in one sitting.
This story is an excellent example of a well balanced book. It combines an interesting concept and situation in a not to unlikely future with excellent characters, well paced storyline and good plot.
I was very pleasantly surprise with this book!
"Diappointing and predictable"
I listened to this on the strength of the very positive reviews of Dark Eden here and elsewhere. Unfortunately, I was left disappointed.
It is a coming of age story firmly aimed at teens. While the setting for the story is original, the story itself is tediously predictable and the ending is obvious from early on. I wont give away anything of the story in this review, but the story is crucial as this is not a novel of character development or subtle nuance, and the story is just not that strong.
This may be a good read for those who have not read extensively, but I should add a word of warning - its probably not a story for younger teens as sex features very large in the plot.
"Compelling characters on a rogue planet"
This story has a great stage. A rogue planet: A planet without a sun where the majority of life on the planet has evolved bioluminescence to survive. There are some good compelling character arches and the plot continues to move throughout.
Performances from both narrators are great. Their voices clearly define different characters and have the range from young to old making both sound comfortable. One little thing that did annoy me is that the characters in the book repeat words to emphasise (saying "cold cold" rather than "really cold") and each narrator delivers this in different ways. Would've been nice to have consistency (I prefer the man's delivery) but this is a very little niggle.
A great read (listen).
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