Friday, July 6, 2012

Book Review: Revealing Eden: Save the Pearls, Victoria Foyt

Author: Victoria Foyt
Series or Stand-alone: 
             Part One in Save the Pearls
How I got it:
             ARC courtesy of Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!
Pages: 307
Publisher: Sand Dollar Press Inc.
Genre: Young Adult / Post-Apocalyptic/ Science Fiction
First Published: January 10, 2012
Buy it from: Amazon
                  Barnes & Noble
Book Trailer: 

FIRST LINE(S): "Eden jumped at the sound of the approaching steps. They must not see. Hide Beauty Map!."

The GIST (From Goodreads):

Eden Newman must mate before her 18th birthday in six months or she'll be left outside to die in a burning world. But who will pick up her mate-option when she's cursed with white skin and a tragically low mate-rate of 15%? In a post-apocalyptic, totalitarian, underground world where class and beauty are defined by resistance to an overheated environment, Eden's coloring brands her as a member of the lowest class, a weak and ugly Pearl. If only she can mate with a dark-skinned Coal from the ruling class, she'll be safe. Just maybe one Coal sees the Real Eden and will be her salvation her co-worker Jamal has begun secretly dating her. But when Eden unwittingly compromises her father's secret biological experiment, she finds herself in the eye of a storm and thrown into the last area of rainforest, a strange and dangerous land. 
Eden must fight to save her father, who may be humanity's last hope, while standing up to a powerful beast-man she believes is her enemy, despite her overwhelming attraction. Eden must change to survive but only if she can redefine her ideas of beauty and of love, along with a little help from her "adopted aunt" Emily Dickinson.

Let’s set the stage for Revealing Eden: Save the Pearls. Eden lives in a world where major sun flares have caused everyone to move underground. Due to excessive UV rays, most white people have succumbed to something akin to sun poisoning and died. For their more resilient skin color, people of darker skin tone have become the desired mates in order to carry over their genes which are less affected by the sun.

Eden has always be ridiculed for being pasty a.k.a. a Pearl. In this society, you have to either mate by the age of eighteen or get kicked to the surface. And Eden is almost eighteen. The problem is that she's pretty low on the mating totem pole and refuses to mate with another Pearl even if that means getting kicked out to the surface and thus death. Luckily for Eden, her father is a genius and in charge of a top secret project for Bramford, a powerful black man, a.k.a. Coal, so she has been able to live in relative comfort up to this point. Sure, Bramford has always seemed to have it out for Eden but it's the last thing on Eden's mind. A good-looking Coal named Jamal might want to be her mate and that's all she's focused on.

When her father's project goes go array and Eden, her father and Bramford are forced to the surface, she has to leave Jamal behind and look past her prejudices against her own skin color in order to survive and be happy. I really liked the caustic and often volatile relationship between Eden and Bramford. Bramford is powerful, smart and overwhelming and he was a great love interest, emphasis on the interest. You’ll know why I find him so interesting if you read the book. I don't want to spoil that since it's a big part of the story.

Some minuses for this book are that Eden had a major case of idiotitis; she was constantly doing things that put herself in danger. Good intentions aside, she was just plain stupid sometimes. Cue Bramford coming to save her which is always hot but still it got annoying the third time around.

The bigger problem I had with this whole story was that I got the impression that it was supposed to be the complete opposite of today’s world in terms of what people consider attractive. Eden thinks she’s hideous because of her white skin and blue eyes and constantly wonders what it would have been like when people considered Pearls as beautiful. If this was true reversal of today’s beauty values, which I think it was supposed to be, then the author is saying that black people are not thought of as attractive today and only people like Eden, white with light eyes, are attractive. I really liked reading a YA novel with minority characters who are major love interests but I didn’t like the message I was getting from this book. The names for each group only seem to emphasis my point. White skin is undesirable but yet they are called things like Pearls and Cottons. Then there are Tiger’s Eyes (Latino?) and Ambers (mixed Asian and black) who were in the middle. Lastly, there were Coals, the darkest skin tone. Coals? Not really as appealing as Pearls or Ambers. Why not Ebony or something? It just reinforced the message I got from this novel.


The message in this novel was a bit disturbing to me. I’m not sure if I was misreading it or not. For the most part, I liked the story and thought the concept was interesting.---6.0 out of 10