3 star, YA

Review: Eden Conquered by Joelle Charbonneau

Series: Dividing Eden #2

eden conquered -joelle charbonneauThe electrifying conclusion to the Dividing Eden series by the New York Times bestselling author of the Testing trilogy, Joelle Charbonneau..

The Trials of Virtuous Succession have ended. Prince Andreus is king—and Princess Carys is dead.

But even as he’s haunted by what he did to win the throne, Andreus discovers that his dream of ruling only brings new problems. The people love his twin even more in death than they did when she was alive. The Elders treat him as a figurehead. And worst of all, the winds of Eden are faltering.

But despite what everyone believes, Carys is alive. Exiled to the wilderness, Carys struggles to control the powers that have broken free inside her. And as she grows stronger, so does her conviction that she must return to the Palace of Winds, face her twin and root out the treachery that began long before the first Trials started.

The Kingdom of Eden is growing darker with each passing day. Brother and sister, former foes, must decide whether some betrayals cut too deep to be forgiven—and whether one will wear the crown or both will lose everything.


3 Drink Me Potions


**Eden Conquered comes out June 5, 2018**

Thank you Edelweiss and HarperCollins for this copy in exchange for an honest review

A princess on the run. Unknown assailants and spies lurking in the shadows of the court. Who to trust? And who will save Eden?

This sequel to Dividing Eden in ways did it justice, but likewise could have been better. Carys is terrified of the power she’s uncovered within her. Andreus wants to prove himself as king, yet there’s a nagging feeling that not all is right within the walls of his kingdom – let alone within his castle.

While the pacing lagged at times, the story alternates between Carys and Andreus for each chapter. Both the twins have no idea who they can fully trust in the aftermath of the Trials they were forced to take. Their storylines tried to develop their individual journey towards placing trust in the right people, and even taking steps to right wrongs that were done by their hand. Carys had escaped with two men with questionable pasts while Andreus almost had no one in the castle that may not have ulterior motives to setting him on the throne. Charbonneau did well in writing their fears, desires and other emotions into their POVs, yet at times this really slowed down the plot.

I can’t say that action wasn’t a pivotal component of the story. An imminent attack on Eden from their rival country was coming, and different groups had different agendas for who should be put on the throne. There was always an underlying sense of urgency – whether in Carys’ return to the castle or Andreus’ ability to outwit his shadowy enemies – but the action only packed the greatest punch in the last 25% or so of the novel.

And oh boy, was that something. Like a wind hurtling full force, all of a sudden a bunch of things were coming into play. Vague predictions/messages from the seers, monsters coming at full force out of the darkness, and the threat of war just amassed on these twins.

Unseen twists caught me by surprise, though I’m not sure in hindsight why I didn’t see that coming. Yet now in hindsight, I can’t help but feel somewhat cheated in the ending to this duology. Don’t get me wrong, it was exciting in a way but it all happened so fast. Each “obstacle” was resolved in a way that didn’t take the time to fully appreciate the climax of the story. Even the twins’ reunion after the rocky way they left each other in book 1 all occurred so fast.

What I will say about the ending that redeemed this entire book for me was that it didn’t wrap itself up in a very nice bow. Not completely at least. It’s not a sad ending, but things are left somewhat open to the happiness and future of the protagonists. And while this entire series, including this sequel, only supplemented the story with romance, I felt it was the perfect amount to support the plot instead of overwhelm it. The highlight was kept on the twins’ character development and unearthing the subterfuge amidst them.

Would I rather the novel was extended a bit more to really flesh out the climax, and maybe added to the plot a bit more? For sure. But as it stands, Eden Conquered managed to deliver an ending that I think was worthwhile in some way still.

Overall Recommendation:
Eden Conquered may not have packed as heavy of a punch as a final installment to this duology, but it made up for its lack of plot and sometimes slow pacing with a beautiful focus on character development. Both Carys and Andreus are flawed protagonists with their own inner demons, or curses, they had to face. With a kingdom depending on them working together instead of against one another, this sequel placed emphasis on all the right aspects that made it a worthy conclusion in the end. A surprise twist here and there, a touch of feels and an ending that was somewhat open to interpretation, I at least leave Eden with a smile on my face.

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