Series: Save the Pearls (Part One)
by Victoria Foyt
Publisher: Sand Dollar Press, Inc (January 2012)
Genre: YA Fantasy-Adventure Romance
Pages: 307 (Hardcover)
Source: Publisher - Review Request (ARC)
Rating: ★★★★½ (4.5 stars)
Eden Newman must mate before her 18th birthday in six months or she'll be left outside to die in a burning world. But who will pick up her mate-option when she's cursed with white skin and a tragically low mate-rate of 15%? In a post-apocalyptic, totalitarian, underground world where class and beauty are defined by resistance to an overheated environment, Eden's coloring brands her as a member of the lowest class, a weak and ugly Pearl. If only she can mate with a dark-skinned Coal from the ruling class, she'll be safe.
Just maybe one Coal sees the Real Eden and will be her salvation. Her co-worker Jamal has begun secretly dating her. But when Eden unwittingly compromises her father's secret biological experiment, she finds herself in the eye of a storm and thrown into the last area of rainforest, a strange and dangerous land.
Eden must fight to save her father, who may be humanity's last hope, while standing up to a powerful beast-man she believes is her enemy, despite her overwhelming attraction. Eden must change to survive but only if she can redefine her ideas of beauty and of love, along with a little help from her "adopted aunt" Emily Dickinson.
Eden lives in a dystopian world where the darker your skin, the more desirable you are because those with dark skin can more easily stand the excessively hot environment that the earth now nurtures. Eden is a Pearl, a white person, which pretty much categorizes her as the dregs of society. Eden can only hope that a desirable Coal, a black person, will pick up her mate-option. But the story really begins when Eden and her father are swept away by Ronson Bramford, one of the most desirable and wealthiest Coals, and taken to a secluded part of the rainforest. This is after Eden compromises her father's vital experiments and Bramford is turned into something between beast and man. But Bramford's new transformation might be the key to helping society gain a semblance of what it once was, with everyone on more equal footing and with a better adaption to the environment.
To tell you the truth, I was scared out of my mind while reading this book. I always put myself in the position of the protagonist and to live in the world Eden lives would be like a death sentence without a defined date. To be so disposable and surrounded by people who hate your kind is just terrifying. But despite my fear, I devoured this book in one night. I don't often read dystopian type novels, but I have to admit this was a great introduction to the premise.
Eden was an interesting character that I couldn't help but feel sorry for. She tries to do the right thing but seems to always make things worse. Even though she has learned to be subservient and fear her superiors, she still has this inner strength that I think comes from her father's determination, her mother's love for life, and her "aunt" Emily's beautiful words. Oh, I can't forget to mention that. I think Foyt's concept of making Emily Dickinson Eden's "aunt" was wonderful. Her integration of Dickinson's poetry was quite fascinating. It brought a sense of realness to an otherwise fantastical world.
Bramford was a mystery most of the book. We can see that he views Eden not as a Pearl but as a woman, even when her childish actions say otherwise. But his past haunts him and his future is very much uncertain. He envisions a better world, just like Eden's father, but it has cost him some of his humanity. Though Foyt doesn't provide a very detailed description of what Bramford looks like after his transformation, I can't help but think of him as hot. It's the way Eden sees him that helps me visualize his undeniable masculinity and inhuman strength.
Watching Eden and Bramford fall in love was quite endearing. They couldn't be more opposite but they find something special in each other. It's as if they see the real person inside, the one each had to hide from the rest of society.
I think Foyt did a great job of writing a story that speaks to the many issues we face each day. How our culture defines what beauty is and what such beauty gets you. The issues of racism and the ever-increasing destruction of our environment and earth. The plot was intriguing, the characters were eye-catching, the action was amazing, and the concept was unique. Oh, and the mystery. Most of my question's didn't get answered till the very end, but I liked that. To keep guessing till the last turn of the page made it so much more exciting.
It's hard to pinpoint exactly what I didn't like about the book. One thing that was a little annoying was that from the summary and blurbs about the book I was expecting a different story. With the emphasis of the Coal/Pearl relationship and dystopian type world, Revealing Eden didn't focus too much on this aspect. The majority of the book was set in the rainforest away from the oppressive society I assumed was going to be the focus of the book.
The other thing that bothered me, though this is probably just me, the relationship between Eden and her father was depressing and how it was "resolved" was very unsatisfactory. And I know Eden can be a pain in the butt but you can't fault her for the decisions she makes when no one would tell her the whole story or truth.
We get some kissing and a little touching. This is a young adult book all the way, though we do get a little cussing.
Though young adult is not my primary source of reading material, I have to say this book surprised me. It caught my attention from the get-go and never let up. Though the story took a turn I wasn't expecting, I still enjoyed myself till the end. I can't wait for part two. And I wanted to thank Foyt for signing my copy. Revealing Eden was the first hard-copy ARC I ever received, and your message only made it that much more special. Highly recommended for all ages.