Author: Tim Lebbon
Publisher: Titan Books
Publication Date: April 7, 2020
A timely tale of eco horror, Eden has an intriguing concept at its core. With trash-filled oceans, rising sea levels, Amazon deforestation, and skyrocketing extinction rates puting the Earth at risk, Tim Lebbon has imagined the establishment of Virgin Zones . . . where nature isn’t just thriving, but looking for revenge.
The Virgin Zones are vast areas of land, spread across the world, that have been given back to nature. Like something from Life After People or The World Without Us, they are post-apocalyptic landscapes reclaimed by nature, taking down buildings, chewing up roads, overgrowing cars and trucks, and erasing our footprint. Those who used to live in these Zones have been forcibly relocated, moved from their idyllic homes to slum-like apartments, adding to humanity’s woes while easing nature’s. With the Zones prime targets for illegal smugglers, poachers, and explorers, they are guarded by a militarized sort of United Nations, soldiers and mercenaries who are responsible for ensuring nobody gets in . . . and nobody gets out.
The first half of the book is character introduction, world building, and picturesque travelogue. It’s a fantastic read, full of exciting details. It serves to start building the tension, revealing hints and clues as to the darker aspects of the Zones. By the time Jenn, her father, and their team fend off their first attack, we’re already paranoid and curious, fully invested in whatever is happening around them.
The second half is pure survival horror, a crazed race through an unforgiving wilderness, stalked by shadowy beasts, with creepy evidence of nature’s war against humanity scattered throughout the Zone. It’s an everything that can go wrong will go wrong kind of scenario, one that just keep escalating the danger. I wasn’t sure where it was headed or how it could possibly end, but the climax is more than worthy of the tale that precedes it – and the (almost) final scene along the river is breathtaking.
The characters are engaging, with a nice dynamic and some growing tension as secrets are revealed, but it is Eden itself that is the real draw. The landscape and the story behind it are fantastic, and the evolution of nature within it is equal parts surreal plausibility and terrifying mythology. Definitely a can’t-put-down read.
Rating: ♀ ♀ ♀ ♀
My sincere thanks to the publisher for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.