After Eden by Helen Douglas

After EdenAfter Eden by
Series: After Eden #1
Published by: Bloomsbury USA Childrens on
Genre: Science Fiction, Time Travel, Young Adult
Pages: 288
Source: NetGalley
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Rating: 3/5

The day Eden met Ryan changed her world forever. Actually, not just her world. Ryan has time traveled from the future to save the world. In a few weeks, Eden’s best friend Connor will discover a new planet—one where human life is possible. The discovery will make him famous. It will also ruin the world as we know it. When Ryan asks Eden for help, she must choose between saving the world and saving her best friend’s greatest achievement. And a crush on Ryan complicates things more than she could have imagined. Because Connor is due to make the discovery after the girl he loves breaks his heart. That girl is Eden.

Grounded in a realistic teen world with fascinating sci-fi elements, After Eden is a heart-pounding love triangle that’s perfect for dystopian fans looking for something new to devour.

I mostly liked After Eden. It didn’t wow me, but I thought it was an enjoyable book. I really liked the time traveling part of the story. I’m actually a bit bummed that there wasn’t more in the book about paradoxes, because I love those in time traveling books. I actually had a big paradox theory for the ending, but it didn’t quite work out lol.

Most of the book reads more like a high school drama than an intensive sci-fi book. That might be bad if you want heavy sci-fi, but it might be good if you’re looking for light sci-fi. There’s a lot of “he likes her” “but she likes him” “but he’s from another time period” type stuff. Relationship drama.

I don’t think After Eden had insta-love, but I wasn’t floored by the romance either. I never quite fell for it. I liked Ryan, and sometimes I liked Eden (more on that later), but I just wasn’t completely sold on them together. Maybe it was a lack of chemistry. I don’t think it was a terrible romance, but it wasn’t incredible.

Okay let’s talk about Eden. I think Eden was the weakest part of the story. The problem was that I thought Eden had a few moments where she was insanely stupid. It wasn’t a start-to-finish type thing where she was ALWAYS stupid or ALWAYS annoying. It actually took a while for it to kick in. But then she had flashes of stupidity that really annoyed me. Here are a few examples:

#1 – When she first finds out that Ryan is from the future

She immediately wanted to know: what is the future like? Why is Ryan here? What is his mission? What is Eden like? And those questions are fair enough.. I’d want to know them too. But it’s so obvious why Ryan couldn’t tell her. He says:

The rules are clear. Do not communicate anything about the future to the inhabitants of the past. Knowing the future can change the future.

If Ryan were to tell Eden all about the future and their new technologies and what Eden is like, he’s giving that knowledge to someone who shouldn’t have it. Just having that knowledge could alter the course of the future. And yet, Eden didn’t seem to understand that. Her response (several times) was:

“You don’t trust me?”
“I can keep a secret.”
“I don’t want to hear any crap about Temporal Laws.”
“You don’t trust me enough to tell me something you don’t have to.”

IT’S NOT ABOUT TRUST!! Just the simple fact of knowing the future could affect things you can’t even guess. It’s not about whether or not he “likes” you or “trusts” you, so stop acting like that! And I hate how she basically says, “I don’t want to hear any crap excuses about how it’s against the law for you to tell me. You should tell me anyway.” Seriously? She sounds like a spoiled brat.

#2 – When she promises she can keep a secret… and then she doesn’t

This is spoilery, unfortunately. But OMG it aggravated me. The non-spoilery tl;dr version is: she learns the whole time traveling story, she swears on her mother’s grave (not exactly, but basically) that she’ll never tell anyone, they warn her to be EXTREMELY careful, she promises again, then she goes home and indirectly tells the first person she talks to. OH.MY.GOD. The stupidity… O_O

View Spoiler »

Another character I didn’t like was Connor. To be honest, he and I got off on the wrong foot in the prologue when he basically groped Eden:

But all he knew was the feel of her warm breath on his neck, the thumping of his own heart, his hand as it moved around her waist and settled on her rear.
“Connor?” she said quietly.
He looked down, found her neck with his lips, and began kissing her—small light kisses.
“What are you doing?” she asked.
“Something I should have done long ago.”
He kissed his way up her neck toward her lips. This was it. The moment he had dreamed of for the last two years.

If you’re proclaiming your love to your best friend, you don’t start that by touching her ass and kissing her neck. Just.. no O_O

But also, Connor was extremely immature and whiny. He got jealous so easily to the point where it pissed me off. I also hated how he had a crazy obsession with never driving with someone who’s underage, but he had no problems with underage drinking. If you want to despise both—fine. It makes sense. But I think it’s stupid to hate driving with someone who’s a good driver (but yes they are underage), but be fine with going out and getting totally hammered when you’re 15 years old. God.

I know I’ve complained about a lot in this review, but despite what you might be thinking, I didn’t hate (or even really dislike) After Eden. In fact, it’s not even until writing this review that I realized how strongly I felt about some of those points. But for the most part, I did enjoy the book! It’s interesting, I was really curious to see how it ended, and it was really quick and easy to get through.

I’m not sure where the rest of the series is headed though. I was so sure it would end on a crazy paradox cliffhanger, but it didn’t. The story gets really neatly wrapped up without any cliffhangers at all.

But After Eden is a good book to read if you mostly like contemporary high school dramas, but want a bit of a light sci-fi twist.

The Verdict

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7 comments

    1. It’s honestly not really a love triangle. There was a moment when I thought there would be one, but it doesn’t really happen.

      I mean, most love triangles involve the MC liking two guys at once, but that’s not the case here. In this case, two guys like the MC but the MC only likes one of them, so the second guy does kind of back off (eventually).

  1. I completely understand your feelings on this one. I felt quite similar actually since it was a perfectly fine read (and mercifully short), but just so….. high school. Also the whole Eden getting drunk and letting the secret slip too, gah Eden! I was also annoyed at some of the side characters since it seemed like too many for such a short book. I had trouble keeping track of Megan and Amy and their respective boys. There were paragraphs where Amy was mentioned and I was like, who the hell is this???

  2. Whiny characters really gets me annoyed. Characters are what I read books for, so if the MC is kind of…not greatly written…I end up staying clear. Loved your review, though!

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