Tuesday 12 November 2013

After Eden by Helen Douglas

Eden Anfield loves puzzles, so when mysterious new boy Ryan Westland shows up at her school she's hooked. On the face of it, he's a typical American teenager. So why doesn't he recognise pizza? And how come he hasn't heard of Hitler? What puzzles Eden the most, however, is the interest he's taking in her. 

As Eden starts to fall in love with Ryan, she begins to unravel his secret. Her breakthrough comes one rainy afternoon when she stumbles across a book in Ryan's bedroom - a biography of her best friend - written over fifty years in the future. Confronting Ryan, she discovers that he is there with one unbelievably important purpose ... and she might just have destroyed his only chance of success.

Firstly, I have to say I really liked the concept, the mix of science-fiction and contemporary romance. Yet while I liked the story, it wasn't amazing. Which isn't fair because it was good, it just didn't fulfil its potential. 

After Eden tells of Ryan going back in time to save the world. Nothing exactly new there, but it was still a fun story as Ryan is so lost in the past and Eden is his only hope of not completely failing. Obviously, Eden was not supposed to find out about Ryan's mission but really, not knowing how Hitler was? Bit of a give away! It was about half way through when Eden had discovered the truth so for a moment I was worried the second half would fall flat. But surprisingly it didn't, it continued to be funny and with a few twists. Nothing I didn't guess correctly but still enjoyable. Plus, it set in Cornwall, which was a welcome surprise! The setting and the secondary characters really made this story, for me; the bitter sea breeze and the group of friends hanging at the beach after school made it real. The normalcy of GCSE's and friends and boy troubles was a nice balance to the secrets of the future and the truth behind Ryan's mission.

Eden was quite an interesting character; she wasn't typical but she didn't have many outright flaws. I liked her well enough, I could completely understand her falling for Ryan, but I didn't really connect with her on any deep level. She was an interesting character, especially as a love interest, as she was quite stubborn and shy, hard-working and loyal. Although she did buy that Ryan was from the future a little too easily. There wasn't a big breakdown that I'd have thought anyone would have. But I suppose Eden was a very logical character so she asked the right questions and didn't give in to her panic. 

As for Ryan, he was sweet, naive to the ways of the world which made it funny, and basically a normal teen. He wasn't good at hiding secrets, or maybe just with Eden he wasn't, and he... actually that's about it! Considering he's from the future, he wasn't all the interesting! Ryan did play the role of "futuristic hero" well, as he was smart and focused, but I did like how Eden saved the day a couple of times! 

I'm not going to ruin it and say whether they saved the future or not; you should read it for yourself! But the big climax did seem early in the book, about 75% on my kindle, which left me wondering what else could possibly happen. But actually, thinking about it, I liked how we were given a delayed ending to allow for loose ends to be tied up. It was quite neat, which I can appreciate; plus it was a happy ending which I always love. 

Published 7th November 2013 by Bloomsbury. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review. 

1 comment:

  1. I loved this book when I read it - and one of the main reasons for that, was like you said, the normalcy of it all! Great review, Anya! :)