Author: Patrick Carman
Series: Dark Eden #1
Published by: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: November 1. 2011
Fifteen-year-old Will Besting is sent by his doctor to Fort Eden, an institution meant to help patients suffering from crippling phobias. Once there, Will and six other teenagers take turns in mysterious fear chambers and confront their worst nightmares—with the help of the group facilitator, Rainsford, an enigmatic guide. When the patients emerge from the chamber, they feel emboldened by the previous night's experiences. But each person soon discovers strange, unexplained aches and pains. . . . What is really happening to the seven teens trapped in this dark Eden?
pho·bi·a [foh-bee-uh] noun – a persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it.
Have you ever been so afraid of something, that it interferes with your daily life? Dark Eden tells a story of 7 teens who all suffer from different phobias. When their therapist, Dr. Stevens, feels she can’t cure them, she recommends the seven go see her mentor, Rainsford. She claims he is the only one who can help them. They are sent to a place called Fort Eden, where they are told to think of it as a summer camp. However, Will Besting knows better, and it isn’t long before strange things start to happen.
The story is told from Will’s point-of-view; he manages to swipe recorded files of the other teens’ therapy sessions. None of the seven had ever met before, but Will already “knew” them – their fears and personalities – once they all came together at Eden, because of the recordings. Will made me laugh at times, with his over exaggerations and weird thoughts. The six other teens were Marisa, Alex, Connor, Ben, Avery, and Kate. We don’t learn any of their phobias until it’s their turn to get cured. The character I was most intrigued about was Avery, who was adamant that she could not be cured.
When they get to Fort Eden, Will sneaks away and hides in a basement bunker. While there, he’s able see things the others can’t, and it terrifies him. And Rainsford seems to have some kind of hypnotizing hold over the others, but is this all just part of Will’s overactive imagination, or is there something truly horrible going on?
Dark Eden was a very quick book. I didn’t find it as thrilling or frightening as I thought it would be, but I did like it. I thought the story was interesting, but some of it was predictable. There is one thing that irritated me so much, though. I know it shouldn’t be a big deal, and a lot of people wouldn’t even notice this, but…. where and when did Will go to the bathroom?! It isn’t like I want to know every time a character goes, but in this situation, it’s a detail I wondered about. I know, I know… I can’t help it.
In the end, I think this book is worth the read. It’s not the greatest, but it kept me interested and I’m glad I read it.