Mother of Eden

Chris Beckett. Broadway, $15 trade paper (480p) ISBN 978-0-8041-3870-3
Beckett’s second Eden Saga SF novel (after Dark Eden) once again fails to stretch beyond the familiar. Several generations after John Redlantern shook up the stunted culture of the planet Eden, humankind’s new home, its residents are split into factions. Starlight, a young woman who lives in a small tribe but dreams big, finds herself part of a political struggle when she falls for Greenstone, the new head of a violent, patriarchal oligarchy. She becomes a pseudoreligious stand-in for Gela, Eden’s first woman. Starlight tries to make life better for women and the serfs, but she predictably pushes too far, leading to tragedy. There are substantial echoes of what has come before, including multiple narrators, linguistic quirks, and garbled accounts of the first book’s events. However, Beckett frustratingly refuses to deviate from real-world historical lines, and the extreme villainy of Greenstone’s rivals (along with the recurring threat of rape against Starlight), significantly detract from a strongly fleshed-out world that’s sadly just too close to ours to stand on its own. Agent: John Jarrold, John Jarrold Literary. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/30/2015
Release date: 05/12/2015
Genre: Fiction
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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