Review — Escape from Eden by Rachel McClellan
Escape From Eden… A sequel to a book that I couldn’t be bothered to look up, due to the disappointment and anger this one caused in me. I hated every second of it, and on multiple occasions I wished to burn the book, but it was on my phone, so you know…
Another drawn-out, chewed-up idea about a strong woman who defies the odds and rises like a phoenix from the ashes of the lives that she destroyed, but somehow managed to convince herself and everyone around that she is not at fault. I’d understand one book, but a three-part series? Come on Rachel, you’re better than this.
The plot is very predictable, and I’m not sure that I can say anything about it without spoiling the book for you. The beginning puts us in medias res, without introduction. We have no clue who Sage, Colt, Max, and others are, but it’s not too difficult to find out from the context of the first few pages. What is (kind of) difficult to understand are the “races” in the book, the Originals, Primes, and what have you, as well as all the creatures roaming in their world. Not even a hint of how this post-apocalyptic world came to be. I guess we’ll need to buy the first book to find out. Sage volunteers for a mission, messes it up, volunteers again, defies her superior’s orders, messes up, and you can see the pattern.
35 chapters, 30 of which are basically a set-up for a “big fight” which happens, resolves, creates even more problems than before – all in a dozen pages. The whole purpose of the fight, I feel, is to set us up for the third book. Which I won’t be reading. Unless someone pays me to.
Here’s why I hate this book so much:
First of all, the writing style is annoyingly consistent. It’s like listening to a repetitive beat for a few hours and the entire time you’re sitting there waiting for the song to start. But it never does. This effect is achieved by the author’s constant use of Present Narrative, AKA Historical Present. This aspect is used in conversation when telling stories or jokes, and in writing it’s usually used to create tension. Writing an entire book in this tense (or aspect) is just ridiculous. It annoyed me from the first page to the last. And there were 295 on my phone. Lots of annoyance. To illustrate what writing in Present Narrative looks like here’s an example: I walk into the room and spot a book on the table. I notice it’s Rachel McClellan’s third book of her three-part series. I run for my life.
Another one is the predictability that I mentioned before. Every single mistake that Sage made could easily be avoided just by using common sense. The failed mission, the order defiance, the betrayal that comes afterwards, and many more that I managed to forget in a day. I should have made some notes.
On the other hand, Rachel McClellan is an experienced author, and definitely not a bad one. Her scene descriptions are fairly vivid, and if you are just a bit imaginative you can put yourself in her characters’ environment and experience their world. The book is a decent read if you’re not expecting anything more than a few hours of pass time from it.
If you haven’t noticed so far, I didn’t like this book very much. If it wasn’t the only thing on my phone on a 12-hour bus ride I’d probably stop reading after page 5. I’d recommend this book to you only if you are a fan of cliché characters who will annoy you, and if you like feeling anxious and expecting a huge culmination for 250 pages only to be met with disappointment and more clichés, which include (but are not limited to) a speech held while standing on a table with everyone in the room thumping when it’s done.
Escape from Eden didn’t daze me with its “strong female character”. It didn’t drive me to tears with any of the death scenes. It didn’t make me smile once. However, I’d lie if I said it didn’t provide some fun and enjoyment.
Reviewed by Milan Urosevic