Nature has been allowed to reclaim land in the Virgin Zones, places across the world where no human interference can take place. Abandoned by humanity these zones have blossomed with life, but is something else growing in these areas we don't know about? A group of extreme runners are trying to set the record for crossing Eden, the oldest of these zones, in the fastest time possible - but will they be prepared for how Eden plans to slow them down?
A massive thank you to Titan Books for approving me to read an ARC to read via NetGalley of this new release! Lebbon's concept for this novel is something so original that I had to take a look and see if it lived up to expectations!
Initially the main character, Jenn, is not my favourite person. We can tell from the start that there is something going on that she hasn't let the others know about and it begins to create tension in the group. As I progressed through the novel she did grow on me but her initial deception made her a bit cold so I could never 100% connect with her. Eventually this book tugged on my heartstrings (no spoilers), it has a strong message of family ties and the lengths we go to for protecting those we love and the initial implementation of the characters was key in this. By introducing the characters all at once we get the feeling that they're just as important as each other and by using the slow developments we form those key bonds with them. I will say it was a little overwhelming to try and remember the characters at the beginning and their connection to each other through this method, but the payoff worked for Lebbon.
Eco-thrillers are becoming more and more pronounced in the publishing world with the unfortunate state of our world (recycle people!) but I have to say that the concept in 'Eden' is something original that cannot be topped. Seeing Lebbon's personal interest in running definitely hits on the 'write what you know' trope you see many writers use. Not being a runner myself some of the mechanics of the story were lost on me and a little confusing, the characters are having heart to hearts whilst running through thick jungle at speed and it doesn't seem plausible for me.
Joining the two story-lines of Jenn with her team and then Kat was a wonderful technique to keep me interested. Kat's short bursts of narrative built the tension for Jenn's experiences and the more that developed for Jenn I became more on edge with the knowledge gained from Kat's story.
This is definitely a book I'd recommend for others to read, there is a sense of feeling a little lost to begin with and overwhelmed with a different world but don't worry because all becomes clear!
If you'd like to get your own copy, use this link: https://amzn.to/3fwI9vD