Saskia. A world that parallels Earth. Its inhabitants are said to be the descendants of four angels whose greed delivered them unto God’s wrath. As punishment, He banished the angels to another realm. To each angel, He bestowed one element (fire, water, earth or air) so that they might come to understand the values of each. Then God separated Saskia from Earth by a wall of fire. But eons have passed and the angels’ descendants (who have inherited the affinity of the elements) have devised a way to cross the wall of fire. One woman, Marta, fled to Earth to save the life of her unborn child. Twenty-one years later, she is taken, returned to Saskia, enslaved by the Queen, and tortured for a true purpose that is more terrifying than anything she has ever known.
When Marta is rescued, she reveals the Queen’s evil plans – it involves Lucian, a horrifying man with bloodred eyes, and her daughter, Sarajane. Guardians are dispatched to Earth tasked with bringing Marta’s daughter to Saskia (for her safety…of course).
In Saskia, Sarajane learns she is not a mortal; rather she is a descendant of angels with unprecedented powers that are just beginning to awaken. She discovers the King is her father, but his actions lead her to believe he cares little for her. She survives attacks of the mountain exiles and other attempts on her life. And through it all, she wrestles with her undecided feelings towards Tristan, a guardian who is cold one minute then hot the next. Now she has found out the Queen is holding her little sister hostage in Eden Forest and guardians have been sent to Earth to kill the man she has called father for twenty-one years. And she only has time to save one.
First, let me say that I found the world of Saskia enchanting. The weeping willows with white leaves and white wolves sounds breathtaking. I could picture the beauty Sarajane and Marta must have seen. I also liked the scene where Musa asks Sarajane to gaze into water to see her true self. It made me wonder what I would see as my true self. I am intrigued by what powers Jessica has and wonder if more about her will be revealed in the second novel. I’d also like to learn more about the different societies in Saskia (looking forward to meeting the people of Hummus) The exiles sound positively terrifying (and I didn’t miss Mirium’s interest when Sarajane said Carew called them “his exiles”). I really enjoyed the part where Sarajane furiously attacks Taurus for hurting her sister and the elements feed off her rage. The writing there was really fantastic and strong – but it was too short, it was over too quickly. I want more scenes like that! I also liked the different point of views from Sarajane, Marta, and Queen Bellona.
Sometimes there is the perfect amount of detail that really allowed me to get lost in a scene of the story. One example is when Sarajane arrives at Aquaterra and she learns the luxurious, soft bed is made from animal skin that has been cleaned and stitched together then stuffed with feathers. I could see the stitching of that bed and feel the softness of that mattress! Sometimes there are parts that seemed to be missing, or needing, more information or a few connecting sentences. Then there are times when some of the detail seemed a little tedious and unnecessary – this is mostly at the beginning as Sarajane is going through the motions in her day. While I thought the beginning was good, I felt it took a little longer than I expected before Sarajane arrived in Saskia. Regarding some typos I noticed (and remember I am far from being a grammar and punctuation guru): there seemed to be areas where there were hanging quotation marks or errors in the line breaks. Also, the last couple of paragraphs in chapter 15 look like they were switched around. But maybe these formatting errors are a result of the novel being in ebook format (and switching the formatting from mobi to pdf to epub)?
I think Eden Forest has a lot of good pieces and questions that remain unanswered – which serve as great teasers in anticipation of the second novel. A little more TLC from the author would have really put a nice polish on the overall story. Nonetheless, I still found this book to be enjoyable – but part of me felt it had the potential to be so much better.
Overall rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
Appropriate for ages 14 & up.
For more information about Aoife Marie Sheridan, check out her website
Special thanks to Aoife Marie Sheridan for giving me the opportunity to read and review Eden Forest!