Publication date: 01 November 2011 by Katherine Tegen Books
ISBN 10/13: 0062009702 | 9780062009708
Category: Young Adult Mystery Thriller
Keywords: Fear, phobias, camping, therapy
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook, Enhanced Kindle Edition with Audio/Video, App
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.
Dark Eden is the first Patrick Carman book I've ever finished, not because the writing is so snoozeworthy--the complete opposite, in fact! I can't fall asleep even after I decide to put the book down, wrap it in foil, and stick it in the freezer (this is what happened with Skeleton Creek--and for those of you who are too young to remember, this is a reference to the TV show Friends--look it up!) The additional audio/visual components for Skeleton Creek were so creepy that of the three times I've tried to finish it, I could not go on. My husband has teased me for being such a chicken. Obviously it's all staged, not real... but gosh darnit, it freaks me out!
Dark Eden begins quickly, and the story unfolds from the point of view of Will Besting, complete loner--so committed to being alone that when the van drops him and six other patients at Fort Eden, the treatment facility where they are supposed to be cured, he runs off into the woods alone and refuses to join the rest of the group. Thus begins a harrowing tale that reminded me a lot of Lost, with its experiments, old-school banks of surveillance equipment, and numerous side-character stories. If I could have read this book with my eyes closed, I probably would have.
The concept of the story is not the most original, and putting audio and video with the text is a standard format for Carman. However, the action unfolds the plot cleverly enough that I could not stop reading even to sleep. The only thing that would have made me put the book down would have been watching the action for real instead of just reading it! Being such a chicken, this would definitely have ended up in my freezer.
If you're braver than I am, you can get the interactive version of the book on your iPhone or iPad. The initial episode is free, and the full app costs $9.99 (about the price of the book). You can also download individual episodes, but why would you want to do that? There is also a Kindle Enhanced version with audio and video, though I'm not sure which of the Kindle products displays it properly. I tried the iPhone app but there was no sound :(*
I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.
Visit the author online at www.patrickcarman.com and follow him on Twitter @PatrickCarman