Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
Starlight Brooking was always restless, leading her to talk a group from her settlement into crossing the water to Veeklehouse to see one of the only relics of Earth on the planet of Eden. While there, Starlight meets a man from a settlement called New Earth, across the Worldpool, and agrees to go with him to his home where he is the son of the headman. Soon she's right in the center of a struggle for the loyalties of the people of New Earth. Taking place several generations after the events of Dark Eden, when those characters are almost as much a myth as the original shipwrecked settlers of the dreary planet, the new volume revolves around a basic philosophical divide that has developed in the peoples of Eden since they split apart at the end of the first book. -VERDICT The power of men vs. the power of women and the rule of the strong over those who are weaker is played out in a primitive society. Cynical but powerful stuff. © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
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) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal Review
This sequel to Dark Eden (2014) continues the story of a civilization started by astronauts from Earth who were stranded on a distant planet. Generations later, the population has grown and split into several distinct communities. Starlight Brooking lives in Knee Tree Grounds, a place without social strata, where responsibility and power are shared equally. On a trip to the shrine honoring her earthly progenitors, she meets Greenstone Johnson, soon to be ruler of the community of New Earth. Starlight seizes the opportunity to live in a new place and agrees to become his Housewoman, ruling with him as Mother of Eden. Starlight is disturbed by New Earth's rigid hierarchical society, held in place by strict adherence to the Earth-based ideals of their ancestors, supposedly contained in documents wholly controlled by the Teachers. Jealous of the power Starlight now holds and convinced of their intellectual superiority, New Earth's Teachers set out to correct her ideas about equality and bring her beliefs in line with theirs. Instead, the heroine convinces Greenstone that the best way to rule is to shift power downward into the hands of the lower classes. The ensuing struggle for control becomes brutal, leaving Starlight fighting for her life as well as her ideals. The detailed world-building and strong characters beautifully illustrate the usefulness of myths as a tool for keeping power in the hands of a few. VERDICT This sequel will resonate with teens who meet resistance when questioning the status quo.-Carla Riemer, Claremont Middle School, CA © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Book Review
Sequel to Dark Eden (2014), Beckett's 2013 Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning tale of humans stranded on a remote planet who have mostly forgotten their origins.Leaving aside the utterly implausible proposition of a society descended from just two individuals, Beckett's sunless planet Eden has huge trees pumping hot water up from subterranean volcanic rivers to power its ecology. He doesn't engage with the question of how this might work but populates Eden with a fine array of weird creatures perfectly adapted to the weak illumination provided by various luminescent organisms. At the end of the last book, the revolutionary Johnfolk left the conservative Davidfolk, crossing the Worldpool ocean to establish an innovative new colony, New Earth. Intelligent and restless Starlight Brooking, who lives on an island in the middle of the ocean and has never been anywhere else, decides to visit Veeklehouse, a town where the original landing vehicle reposes. There, she meets the handsome Greenstone Johnson, son and heir of New Earth's brutal and ruthless strongman, Headman Firehand. The two fall in love, and Starlight accompanies Greenstone to New Earth. Firehand is dying, while his old rival and now right-hand man Chief Dixon nurses ambitions to take over. Still, Greenstone becomes the new Headman; Starlight wears the legendary Gela's ring and discovers that New Earth's workers, most of whom are serfs, worship her. Greenstone, seen as a weak leader, won't survive long against Dixon's plotting, so she tries to build support for his cause through the power the ring gives her to move the masses. What could possibly go wrong? Again, the narrative unfolds via several first-person accounts, this time more for effect than substance. Apart from the exercise in power politics, Beckett introduces some intriguing new ideas, which, presumably, he will develop in books to come. Readers delighted by the first book will certainly wish to renew their acquaintance. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.