After Eden by Helen Douglas (review)

January 27, 2014 Book Reviews 5 ★★

After Eden by Helen Douglas (review)After Eden by Helen Douglas
Published by Bloomsbury UK on November 7th 2013
Pages: 288
Format: eArc
Source: NetGalley

Eden Anfield loves puzzles, so when mysterious new boy Ryan Westland shows up at her school she's hooked. On the face of it, he's a typical American teenager. So why doesn't he recognise pizza? And how come he hasn't heard of Hitler? What puzzles Eden the most, however, is the interest he's taking in her.

As Eden starts to fall in love with Ryan, she begins to unravel his secret. Her breakthrough comes one rainy afternoon when she stumbles across a book in Ryan's bedroom - a biography of her best friend - written over fifty years in the future. Confronting Ryan, she discovers that he is there with one unbelievably important purpose ... and she might just have destroyed his only chance of success.



AFTER EDEN was a light, enjoyable afternoon read with a fun mix of sci-fi, romance, friendship and adventure. After a shaky start with a bit of insta-love, things started to pick up as the mysteries began to unfold combined with plenty of info on a favourite subject of mine – Astronomy.

AFTER EDEN starts off like so many other YA novels, quiet, unassuming girl with a tragic past catches the eye of the mysterious new boy at school but despite the predictable beginning I decided to give it a chance and ended up fairly enjoying the story. Eden is sixteen and lives on the English coast with her aunt Miranda after she was orphaned in a car crash ten years previous. Best friends with Connor, Megan, Amy and Matt, Eden is preparing for her last term at school before the group parts ways and leaves for college. Ryan, the new boy at school befriends the group, in particular, Eden. During many conversations Eden picks up that Ryan doesn’t know a lot of facts that should be common sense for someone their age – who Hitler is and what Pizza looks like. When she picks up a book that is clearly written in the future, she confronts Ryan and finds out that he is here to prevent Connor from making an important scientific discovery that has tragic consequences for the human race in the future.

As much as I love Sci-Fi movies and TV shows, time travel in books tends to make my eyes glaze over and I end up lost in a nightmare of paradoxes and temporal anomalies so I was pleased that Douglas explained her theories of time-travel in a more simplistic way and I loved all the information given about the different galaxies and star clusters. The premise of the book was great but for me the execution was a bit bland and I was never truly invested in the book.

I liked Eden as an MC, I thought she was witty, mature and handled the situation she was in very well. However her attitude towards Connor wasn’t particularly gracious and I disliked how she treated him. The developing romance with Ryan was at times a bit too saccharine especially considering how important it was for Ryan to stay on mission and the lackadaisical attitude he had towards it and the confidential information he didn’t hesitate to share with Eden was irritating.

I started out writing this review with the intention of starring it 3 however on reflection I think 2 is more accurate. AFTER EDEN wasn’t a bad book, I don’t feel like I wasted three hours reading it but it was a tepid attempt at a subject matter that when executed correctly is incredibly interesting and compelling. If you’re looking for a way to ease into sci-fi with a bit of romance and action that flows well then AFTER EDEN is your book. If not then I would advise you look elsewhere. This one was just okay.


5 Responses to “After Eden by Helen Douglas (review)”

  1. Giselle

    Time travel can be a real hit or miss for me and I only have 1 instance of enjoying it (with the Julie Cross seres0 but I’m endlessly fascinated with the different concepts authors come up with so I like to give them a try. This one sounds like it had a lot of potential but maybe not as well executed as it could have been. Great review, Danielle!

  2. Aman

    The only thing I got out of the premises is that there is no pizza in future. WTF?!? Unacceptable! The story doesn’t sound bad, but we’ve already read several similar plotlines, so this one’s a bit overdone. Sorry you didn’t enjoy it that much, Danielle. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

    Lovely review Danielle, the romance was definitely saccharine lol. I thought After Eden was kind of average and more MG than YA. There just wasn’t enough in it that made it stand out for me. I also didn’t like how she treated Connor.

  4. Kelly

    You’ve really summed up my feelings for After Eden perfectly. I did end up rating it higher than you, because I really did enjoy it despite its shortcomings. It’s definitely not for anyone looking for complex worldbuilding or fantastic characterization, but it is a nice, light, sci-fi read.

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