I feel like this book deserves a reread someday when I’m in the right mood for a book like this one. See the problem was, I was wanting a fast paced action packed ride and instead I got slow build and subtle intrigue. Slow build and subtle intrigue are great when you’re in the mood for it but I was not. Joelle Charbonneau tricked me because the Testing series was fast paced and action packed so this is what I was thinking she would deliver in Dividing Eden but boy was I wrong.
Let’s start with plot, the book is centered on twin siblings that are second in line to the throne of Eden. But, when their older brother, the crowned prince, and the king are murdered they find themselves pinned against each other in a competition for the throne. Thrown in the mix is a council of conniving elders, a two faced seeress, and some random love interests. Basically, you can trust no one and none of the characters are developed enough for us to care whether or not you can trust them. Don’t get me wrong, the concept of this book was a good one, I just feel like we spent way too much time building up to the twins having to compete for the throne. She probably could have cut the first 50 pages and just started the book off with the death of the king and brother. There were also a lot of unnecessary scenes that I thought would have some significance later but they didn’t. The entire chapter with the king and brother’s funeral was almost completely unnecessary. They rode out to the tomb and rode back. I thought maybe there was something special with the tomb that would come back later but no, not really. We go back to the tomb later in the book but we didn’t need to waste an entire chapter visiting the tomb for the three page scene that happened later on.
So, besides the massive amount of wasted potential with the plot I felt the character development was underdeveloped. I really liked Carys, she was the most interesting character by far. Her twin, Andreas, had potential but it was ruined by the fact that he made some major out of character choices that I felt weren’t very justified by the author. It felt like he made those choices just to create drama for the story. It went against everything we had learned about this character over the first half of the book. As for the rest of the cast, they were so surface I barely remember any of them. The council members were interchangeable in my mind. They could have just been merged into one character making for a more interesting antagonist and allowing for more spotlight time. As for the Seeress, again she was surface. I could not figure out why Andreas was so obsessed with her or why in the world he would betray his sister over her? As for Carys’s potential love interests, I don’t know, we never actually find out anything about them. We’re told who they are and a little background on one of the two guys but they get so little spotlight time we never get to really know who they are. What’s weird though is that the little boy Max gets the most spotlight but he doesn’t end up being anyone of significance! I thought there had to be something special about this kid for him to get so much attention from the author but no! Ugh.
Finally, the love interests are hardly worth mentioning. As I said above, we don’t even get to know them. Also, the world was not really explained and therefore confusing. There are some weird hybrid monsters that live in the mountains and wind is really important…..I don’t know. So all in all I felt like there was a lot of missed potential in this novel. It needed to be edited with a hack saw and the story tightened a lot. I hope the next installment does away with the unimportant scenes and picks up the pace a bit. This one ended interestingly enough that it may yet be saved.