“Dividing Eden” by Joelle Charbonneau (2017) Review

Straight off the bat, Dividing Eden opts for two main characters that are connected through family rather than romance. Although who doesn’t love a bit of romance in a novel (and it is still present in Dividing Eden), it was refreshing to explore the relationship between a brother and sister (twins to be exact) rather than the typical young adult romance trope.

Dividing Eden is a young adult fantasy novel by New York Times bestselling author Joelle Charbonneau. It follows two siblings, Carys and Andreus, who are forced to fight for the throne neither one of them expected to have. The novel is the first of two books and is both engaging and unique, even among the cluster of fantasy and young adult novels.

As mentioned earlier, I appreciated the exploration between brother and sister as opposed to lovers. I immediately connected with the two of them in their own individual way and formed that bond I believe is needed between the reader and the characters for a successful novel. The bond between family is complex, especially in a fantasy world, and I loved being able to explore that in Dividing Eden.

We can all agree that some novels are easier to read than others. Whether that be through the way it has been written, the narrative or the likability of the characters, some books make you excited to get your hands on it again, others not so much. Luckily for me, Dividing Eden was one that I wanted to get back into whenever I got the chance.

Good pacing is something I strive to find in a novel. As soon as I got through the first chapter, I knew that I was in for a comfortable yet exciting ride in Dividing Eden.  Personally, I struggle with books that dwell on unnecessary ideas or ‘filler’ chapters with pages of information that take away the focus from the actual story. If I had to come up with a word that described Charbonneau’s writing, I would say ‘smooth’ or ‘flowing’. (As I write this, I realize that they are odd words on my behalf to describe someone’s writing style, but at the same time, I’m hoping you understand what I’m trying to say!).

Carys and Andreus split the narrative between the two of them through third person narrative. Over time and across various books, I’m starting to love third person over first person because it allows multiple perspectives and more information to be told. Saying this, it also has its limitations and there’s something intimate and rewarding when being able to put yourself in the mind of another, even if that is a fictional one.

The ending of Dividing Eden kept me on the edge of my seat and I’m very excited to see where the story will take me in Eden Conquered, coming out some time in 2018. Carys is my favourite character and has become stronger and stronger by the end of the novel. Andreus on the other hand is, well… too spoiler-y to go into! You’ll just have to check out the novel yourself to find out why.

4/5

Book supplied by Harper Collins NZ  – (RRP: $22.99). Click here for details.