Published: June 6, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Series: Dividing Eden #1
Pages: 336 (Hardcover)
My Rating: 4.5/5.0
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
A sweeping fantasy, by the bestselling author of The Testing, about two royal siblings forced to compete for the crown.
Twins Carys and Andreus were never destined to rule Eden. With their older brother next in line to inherit the throne, the future of the kingdom was secure.
But appearances—and rivals—can be deceiving. When Eden’s king and crown prince are killed by assassins, Eden desperately needs a monarch, but the line of succession is no longer clear. With a ruling council scheming to gain power, Carys and Andreus are faced with only one option: to take part in a Trial of Succession that will determine which one of them is worthy of ruling the kingdom.
As sister and brother, Carys and Andreus have always kept each other safe—from their secrets, from the court, and from the monsters lurking in the mountains beyond the kingdom’s wall. But the Trial of Succession will test the bonds of trust and family.
With their country and their hearts divided, Carys and Andreus will discover exactly what each will do to win the crown. How long before suspicion takes hold and the thirst for power leads to the ultimate betrayal?
Eeek! I’m so happy that Dividing Eden was actually really good, especially since so many YA books fail to live up to the hype generated on social media! I can’t say that I’ve seen an excess of promotions for this one and it deserves the promos! My eye was initially drawn to Dividing Eden by the simple, elegant cover design and a synopsis that promised some serious sibling rivalry- something that hasn’t yet become overdone in the genre.
The aforementioned siblings are Princess Carys and Prince Andreus of Eden- twins that have always had each other’s backs no matter what. This begins to change after the king and their elder brother Prince Micah are killed (supposedly) by a neighboring enemy and their mother is declared unfit to rule. The two must compete against one another in a series of trial to gain the throne and this, as one would expect, drives the once close siblings further and further apart. What makes this really interesting is the fact that both are hiding things that would be detrimental if brought to light – Carys is addicted to a painkiller and Andreus has episodes that sound similar to a panic or asthma attack (I’m no doctor). There’s a whole big mess that happens because of kept secrets and trusting the wrong people. If you add in snow monsters, curses, and a hint of future sight you have a rather dramatic and enticing story.
Carys and Andreus were great characters from the start and each developed even more distinct personalities as the book progressed. They made real choices that people would make based on feeling betrayed, fearful, neglected, etc. and they were understandably naïve about certain things, particularly Andreus who didn’t have to be as forward thinking or cunning as Carys. I liked Carys from the moment she had slitted pockets sewn into her dresses so she could access her weapons- a girl should always have something sharp handy! One thing about the characters/story was how the queen suddenly just snapped after the loss of her husband and son and decided that she was going to go get eaten by the Xhelozi – I have suspicions about this… poison perhaps? Previously she had seemed very collected and while grief can elicit some very atypical behavior, I felt this was a little odd.
Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised that Dividing Eden exceeded my expectations and even made me wish it was a little longer. I was SO rooting for Carys at the end and I hope she crushes her enemies thoroughly in the sequel. It would be so satisfying. I highly recommend Dividing Eden for those who enjoyed Kendare Blake’s newest book, Three Dark Crowns. The stories have some similar themes that I really enjoyed!