A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dividing Eden is the start of a new fantasy series by Joelle Charbonneau (Need). It follows a set of royal twins as they participate in a Trial of Succession in the wake of their father's and older brother's deaths. Violent scenes include a flogging, a beheading, fights with quarterstaffs, and sabotage during the descent from a cliff. Both main characters have romantic interests, but they have little time for anything other than a few passionate embraces. Carys is addicted to a heroin-like substance.
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What's the story?
As DIVIDING EDEN opens, twins Carys and Andreus learn that their father, the king, and their brother, the heir apparent, have both been killed in a highly suspicious ambush. The news is so distressing that their mother collapses after refusing to rule the kingdom, leaving the twins in line for the throne. Each, however, has been keeping secrets from the other, and when they are forced to compete in a set of potentially deadly challenges, the consequences are dire.
Is it any good?
Long-hidden secrets prove corrosive and deadly in this twisty tale of sibling loyalty turned sour. In Dividing Eden, author Joelle Charbonneau devises another set of challenging games, but by forcing Carys and Andreus to compete against each other, she ups the ante and adds much-needed novelty to the proceedings. Carys and Andreus are well-defined characters, and readers can expect to encounter some unforeseen plot developments as the twins test each other mentally and physically. Sometimes the narrative feels padded with unnecessary interior monologue, as if the author is trying to make a two-volume story stretch over three. The ending of Dividing Eden is particularly abrupt and unsatisfying, although the cliffhanger will generate reader interest in the next installment.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Dividing Eden and its presentation of court politics. Why do readers enjoy stories about politics, modern-day or historical?
What are the disadvantages of a form of government based on inherited bloodlines?
How is violence used in Dividing Eden? Does it produce the desired results, or does it have unexpected consequences?
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