I’m going to begin this review by saying I liked the book and the story because my review is going to be critical. I only read this because I had agreed to read and review the sequel, and wanted to read the first.
Several reviews referred to the “quaint” repetition of words by the characters in the book due to limited vocabulary. It was suggested that this is to show that the denizens of Eden have lost their Earth-speak over the generations. It’s annoying. For a book that’s very long, the repetition of words just makes me cringe. Each time I read one of the repeated words, the narrative broke, and I was pushed out of the story.
I did like some of the etymology of morphed words. “Veekle” instead of “vehicle,” etc. The fantasy names of the flora and fauna make sense from a simplistic view, but I wonder if the first “family” of humans from Earth wouldn’t have made a bigger effort to correct improper speech. It could be said that they were too worried about survival to focus on proper education, or that polymorphism had corrupted the speech, but we’re only talking four or five generations.
The blurb and the description tout this award and that award for the story. I’ve got news for publishers of science fiction: these don’t mean anything. Listing a bunch of awards the book has received only illustrates how little publishers understand about their readers.
I did like the mythology of the people of Dark Eden, but I wonder if a sample size of 532 subjects as a society over five generations is enough to establish a mythology and a similar way of life. Of course, I may just be overthinking it as a student of human behavior.
There is a lot to like in Dark Eden. There’s a lot to hate in Dark Eden. I think many of the high reviews and ratings are because it is different from the standard fare, but being different isn’t enough to catapult Dark Eden into five-star territory. I read it in two days, and it’s a solid four-star read.