Published: October 2011
Publisher: Sand Dollar Press Inc
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.
What? What?! How can I even start? There are so many things about this book that are just completely - Argh! I can't even think of how to describe it.
Revealing Eden starts off with a fairly interesting premise. Radiation is permeating the ozone and has managed to kill of the majority of fair skinned people. Survivors live under ground in a society based on a racial class system with white people at the bottom and black people at the top. Definitely a twist on racial issues I could find new and interesting. Then the author names the whites as 'Pearls'. Yes, Pearls. You know those rare and precious stones? What a horrible name for them. How atrocious. I'm white and I don't think being called a pearl would offend me. And trust me I've been called racist names before. What's even worse is that the first racist comment of the book actually comes from Eden, our Pearl protagonist.
I could have still gone along with the story if it had some kind of focus. What starts as a dystopian, takes an abrupt turn into Fantasy, as one of the characters undergoes a procedure to turn himself into a jaguar hybrid. The story moves out of the combs of their racial society and into the rainforest, where it then becomes a mesh of South/Central American mythology and environmentalist preaching.
On top of this is the total lack of a likeable, coherent main character. Eden is whiny, selfish, racist, self hating and all round bit*h. She is constantly flip flopping between pitying herself, hating herself and hating everyone else. She's a completely unlikable character. I didn't buy into anything she felt that was not negative. Her father is completely oblivious to her and couldn't care a bit about her in any capacity other than how she can help him in his scientific discoveries, yet there is a moment when Eden believes she is about to die that she decides he does care for her and she's been a fool to not see it. What? Like when she nearly drown and he told her it was an inconvenience, or when he chose his research over her life, while she had a gun pressed to her head? But wait! When she comes back alive, he does seem to care, so much he might even shed a tear! There was another moment when she decided she was wrong about her treatment of Bramford, the lead male of the story, simply because she put on a pretty dress, then moments later decides to try escaping him, because she hates him.
Bramford is at least interesting, and I wish the book had actually been told from his perspective. He makes some radical life changing decisions and has a past that makes his choices even more powerful. He's honestly the most human character and it's pretty obvious from the first scene with him that he's meant to be Eden's love interest despite her prejudice and constant hate filled words.
The love story angle is even more What?! One moment Eden can't stand Bramford, then he turns into a half human, half jaguar and she spends the rest of the book lusting after him, breathing heavy, squeezing her thighs, groaning and moaning. I thought it was about to turn into a porn or something. If she wasn't panting then she was blaming him for everything wrong with her life. Then just as suddenly she loves him. But wait! He loves someone else. So, how does Eden treat this person she claims to love? She tricks him into sharing painful details of the woman he loved and then uses them to hurt him. Deliberately. Of course, she kindly lets the reader know every few pages that he is a beast, a selfish beast, so she must be justified, right? Of course, because she's a horrible dirty Pearl, while he's a precious Coal.
I'm really sad to say that I spent about five days reading this, when I could have been doing anything else. I'd only recommend this for fantasy readers not offended by the idea of human/animal relations.