I’ll be the first to admit that I like dinosaurs. I also like reading books from authors who aren’t American. Those are just two points in favor of John Kerry’s Eden at the Edge of Midnight, a young adult fantasy dropping in at 348 pages.
Now I’m going to tell you something straight-up: this book is only technically young adult because the main character, Sammy, is sixteen. The psyche of this girl, however, is a lot closer to a thirteen or fourteen-year-old. Just wanted to let you guys know that up front in case you can’t stand young protagonists. Okay, now on to the good stuff:
The plot is that Eden was separated from earth and its own atmosphere is slowly going bad. Sammy manages to get launched from earth to Eden in fulfillment of a prophecy. The thrust of the story is she doesn’t know what part she plays. That mystery is what makes the book good—I liked not knowing at first whether Sammy was predicted to save the world from certain destruction or become a specter of death. Fortunately, there are clues along the way.
The characters are also colorful and well thought out. Kerry doesn’t just pull stock actors from the closet. Everyone has at least two different motivations for the things they do and they act (as well as react) consistently when plot events are triggered.
Now you’re probably wondering why I didn’t give this book five stars, so here’s the deal: the story needs to be edited! Really badly! The problem isn’t so much with grammar or spelling as it is with parallel structure and loose ends that never get tied up. Kerry leaves a lot hanging at the end of the novel that needs addressing, and the thing is, the first half of the book is only worth three stars while the second half is four or even five stars—it’s like it gets better as it goes! If Kerry would just take a little time and fix things like balancing dialogue with description and making the first half of the book a lot leaner, this would be a five-star novel, no joke. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
I recommend Eden at the Edge of Midnight to lovers of fantasy who can power through a slow first quarter.