* I received a copy of Mother of Eden for free in exchange for an honest review via Blogging for Books
Mother of Eden is the sequel to Chris Beckett’s Dark Eden (You can read my review of Dark Eden here). It takes place hundreds of years after the end of Dark Eden. Though it can arguably be read on its own, Mother of Eden makes the most sense in the context of a sequel.
The descendents of John Redlantern and his companions have spread over the planet of Eden. The population has become large and fractioned by their beliefs about what the original humans who crash landed on the planet had intended for the race. In particular, the whole planet is fixated on Mother Gela’s ring, long lost, or so they’ve been told.
Starlight Brooking is from Knee Tree. Her family is isolated. They live rustically, but are protected from the politics that has taken over much of Eden. But, Starlight wants more. She’s got a wicked case of wanderlust. On her one big adventure outside of her home, she gets caught up in a whirlwind romance. She leaves for a new area of the planet with new people, technology, and — could it be?– Gela’s ring. When she arrives at New Earth, Starlight finds that politics is a much more complicated beast than she could ever have imagined.
Mother of Eden has a lot going for it. It’s a thought piece on what may happen in a world where some groups of people are highly isolated, when gender stratified societies take hold and collide, and the relationships between mother, children, and power.
Some of the characters are interesting. The contrast between Starlight and her more content sister, Glitterfish, is interesting, and there were a number of complex side characters. The setup of the novel incorporates a wide variety of points of view. Beckett uses this to develop some of the characters very well.
The story uses a very particular linguistic style. This was used pretty successfully in the first novel. It was odd in this installation, however, that the language hadn’t developed in the years that were supposed to have passed. Additionally, it became increasingly difficult for the characters to have distinct voices. Their phrasing and colloquialisms are the same regardless of age, gender, or background. That was odd and made the story a bit muddled. What could have been strong character voices were weakened overall, with the few notable exceptions.
The story was interesting in a thought-provoking way, but the plot seemed secondary as opposed to complementary. The idea of a young woman from an equal, largely agrarian society being thrust into power in a world in which the women have been subjugated and the political structure oppresses the average citizen is interesting. The route she takes afterwards is similarly interesting. However, I found the story to be pretty straightforward overall. I had wanted a more complicated world and interactions that simply wasn’t there.
I enjoyed it, but there was room for improvement.