I have tried to make it through the first chapter of this book. Really, truly, I tried. I’m sure I will stir up some controversy in admitting that I don’t want to read past the first chapter. I wasn’t hooked. In fact, the language, the repeated words, the blended child/adult speak–it all turned me off.
“No one knew anything about that place up there except that it was high high and dark dark and cold cold cold, and that it was the source of all the streams and the great snowslugs (‘glay seers’ as Oldest called them), and that it surrounded our whole world.”
-Chris Becket, Dark Eden
No, I didn’t change or add any words. That’s a whole sentence from this book. I just couldn’t take an entire chapter written like that let alone a whole book. And I will fully admit I don’t know how the rest of the book goes. The scenery, the lantern trees, aren’t really described at all. I honestly have no idea what they look like. They could be thick and tall, or skinny with a lot of foliage. I haven’t the foggiest idea.
I think one of the biggest turn offs for me was the amount specialized jargon. If the narrator (for the first chapter, at least) were well spoken, I think I could have made it through long enough to know all about the “alien, sunless planet they call Eden.” I would’ve liked to have read all about the Family and listen to the Oldest tell tales of Earth.
I just would’ve liked to hear it in a different, clearer voice. I’ll post a quip from the back copy so you can see if it’s a story you’d like to force your way through:
On the alien, sunless planet they call Eden, the 532 members of the Family take shelter beneath the light and warmth of the Forest’s lantern trees. Beyond the Forest lie the mountains of the Snowy Dark and a cold so bitter and a night so profound that no man has ever crossed it.
The Oldest among the Family recount legends of a world where light came from the sky, where men and women made boats that could cross the stars. These ships brought us here, the Oldest say–and the Family must only wait for the travelers to return.
But young John Redlantern will break the laws of Eden, shatter the Family, and change history. He will abandon the old ways, venture into the Dark… and discover the truth about their world.