Dark Eden (Dark Eden Series #1)

Dark Eden (Dark Eden Series #1)

4.3 40
by Patrick Carman
     
 

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Fifteen-year-old Will Besting is sent by his doctor to Fort Eden, an institution meant to help patients suffering from crippling phobias. Once there, Will and six other teenagers take turns in mysterious fear chambers and confront their worst nightmares—with the help of the group facilitator, Rainsford, an enigmatic guide. When the patients emerge from the

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Overview

Fifteen-year-old Will Besting is sent by his doctor to Fort Eden, an institution meant to help patients suffering from crippling phobias. Once there, Will and six other teenagers take turns in mysterious fear chambers and confront their worst nightmares—with the help of the group facilitator, Rainsford, an enigmatic guide. When the patients emerge from the chamber, they feel emboldened by the previous night's experiences. But each person soon discovers strange, unexplained aches and pains. . . . What is really happening to the seven teens trapped in this dark Eden?

Patrick Carman's Dark Eden is a provocative exploration of fear, betrayal, memory, and— ultimately—immortality.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—A spooky, psychological thriller. Will Besting, 15, is afraid. The fear that he feels is irrational, a byproduct of a traumatic event he experienced as a child that he can't fully remember. His therapist Dr. Stevens, seeing no other way to help him, refers him to a mysterious man named Rainsford, who works out of an old, abandoned army base. After arriving at Fort Eden with six other patients, Will makes a break for it and manages to sequester himself in an old, nearly abandoned bunker with a mysterious bomb shelter. From there, he is able to monitor what happens at the base using old surveillance equipment. He witnesses silently as the other patients begin their "cures" in earnest but can't shake the suspicion that something at the base is really wrong, just below the surface. Further complicating his hidden observations is Davis, a former graduate of Fort Eden who both encourages the other patients and begins to hunt for Will in earnest. Will serves as an outsider among outsiders, unwilling to be cured of his fears by the seemingly amoral Dr. Stevens and Rainsford. A crotchety old cook serves as both comic relief and as chief antagonist, with the suspenseful threat of her discovering Will right under her nose always looming. With seven different characters who have seven different fears, there is bound to be someone for readers to relate to in one way or another. While elements of this story may at first seem predictable, the supernatural twist at the end will leave teens with more questions than answers.—Ryan Donovan, New York Public Library
Publishers Weekly
Carman (the Skeleton Creek series) continues to play with the integration of print and digital media, crafting a competent but slow thriller about seven teens with serious phobias who have been sent to a last-ditch facility to help them conquer their fears. Rainsford, the man at the head of Fort Eden, uses painful, high-tech aversion therapy that works but leaves its subjects with debilitating side effects that he insists will wear off. Agoraphobic 15-year-old Will Besting takes an instant dislike to the place, hiding in the basement of an outbuilding where he discovers an electronic setup that allows him to watch the others’ treatments; it eventually becomes clear that something other than therapy is going on. Though teamed up with an elaborate interactive Web site and an iPhone app, Carman’s tale isn’t entirely successful in making things seem as bad as Will believes; when, in what is essentially an afterword, readers discover what’s behind the supposed therapy, it doesn’t have the impact that it might. Still, for younger teens, the book’s relatively low fear factor might be an advantage. Ages 12–up. (Nov.)
Los Angeles Times
“DARK EDEN is a fast-paced thrill ride.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“The added supernatural twist...maintains Fort Eden’s air of doom and gloom to the very end.
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books
“The added supernatural twist...maintains Fort Eden’s air of doom and gloom to the very end.
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“The added supernatural twist...maintains Fort Eden’s air of doom and gloom to the very end.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"The added supernatural twist...maintains Fort Eden’s air of doom and gloom to the very end.
Children's Literature - Maggie L. Schrock
Will Besting is a fifteen-year-old boy struggling with a life-crippling phobia. He is sent, by his psychiatrist, Dr. Stevens, to Fort Eden with six other fifteen-year-olds. Like Will, those six also suffer from life-crippling phobias. Will's fear of people forces him into hiding in a bomb shelter he finds in the basement of the caretaker's house. Strangely, this bomb shelter is equipped with monitors that show what is happening inside the main house at Fort Eden with Rainsford, Dr. Stevens' mentor. After watching a couple of his fellow camp-mates go through the cure for their fears, Will happens to find a pair of ear phones so he can also listen to what is happening. At night, Will makes trips into the main house and befriends Marisa, a girl afraid of being kidnapped. Will begins to care for Marisa and is afraid for her to go through this strange cure. He decides to rescue her from Fort Eden. Will discovers that Rainsford has figured out a way to stay alive forever. Left with this knowledge, it is up to Will to stop the madness as the story continues in this book's sequel. With an accompanying multimedia app, Carmen has again paired the written word with amazing audio and video files, which makes it perfect for today's youth. Reviewer: Maggie L. Schrock
VOYA - Susan Redman-Parodi
Dark Eden tells the story of Will Besting, an adolescent boy who, since traditional methods of psychotherapy has failed him, is sent to try a more rigorous course of techniques to cure his life-restricting phobias. Will joins six other teenagers, all of whom seek an alternative way to remedy their fears, at Fort Eden for aggressive therapy to conquer their afflictions. Fort Eden is nestled away in the woods, and proves early to deserve some skepticism. Will hides out, refusing to integrate with the group and take part in the rituals. He seeks refuge in a room in a cabin equipped with monitors synced to his cohorts' accommodations. Able to observe the situation, Will quickly becomes fearful of the therapy they are experiencing, and the more troubling side effects each of them is left with in place of their original phobias. He gains a unique perspective on the methods conducted at Fort Eden through his voyeurism and decides that the group facilitator, Rainsford, is not to be trusted. Able to evade detection for some time, Will is eventually captured and brought to be flooded with his fear to therapeutically overcome it. He is left with a fate that can only be a result of experiencing Dark Eden. Carman's idea for a story, as well as his marketing techniques, are interesting; however, its execution is shallow and leaves the reader unfulfilled. The characters are one-dimensional and not intriguing, described only to a point which illustrates their fears, not to a level which will draw compassion from the reader. The plotline is jagged and unpolished, an irrational outline of ideas that were never honed or refined. Dark Eden may by elusive and suspicious, but the reader will never be compelled to care about why. Reviewer: Susan Redman-Parodi
Kirkus Reviews
The author of the Skeleton Creek and Trackers series continues to explore multiplatform narratives with this tale of phobia treatment gone awry. Two years of therapy have not helped 15-year-old Will Besting overcome his acute fear of crowds, and his parents are willing to try extreme measures. These include packing him off with six other phobic teens for treatment with pioneering therapist Rainsford at Fort Eden, a cluster of cold concrete buildings in the middle of a dark wood. Armed with only his homemade recording device and an MP3 player, Will investigates the brutal nature of Rainsford's cures. Carman's attempts to build a psychological thriller are hampered by both characters and climax. Will's observations of his fellow teens via monitor combine with his disregard for patient confidentiality to create an uncomfortable sensation of voyeurism, making it difficult to feel sympathy for him. The supposedly evil Rainsford, on the other hand, seems largely unthreatening until multiple epilogues provide insight into the motivation and process of the treatments. The other teens feel like color-coded numbers, there to advance the plot and devoid of personality beyond their phobias. A downloadable app will provide multimedia content on mobile devices; this is due in August 2011, some three months before the book's scheduled publication date. Carman's dedication to integrating digital content with print is admirable, but as a standalone book, this thriller doesn't thrill. (Mystery. 10-14)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062061782
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
11/01/2011
Series:
Dark Eden Series , #1
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
573,749
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

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