2014 Reading Challenge and a Book Review

I love to read. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to pick up a book, let alone open it recently. My plate has been overflowing with stuff going on and I’m lucky I have time to workout in the morning.

But I make time to do that.

I realized I need to make time for things that are important to me, and reading is important. It stimulates the mind and improves vocabulary. It also improves my writing skills. So, it’s something I need to do.

I started out by creating a 2014 Summer Reading Challenge for Sam and I. It was kind of like our own little book club. Although we weren’t reading all of the same books, there were a few young adult novels that we were both reading. One of which was Eden, Dawn: The Chronicles of Paradise by Archer Swift.

I had 33 books on my summer reading list. Sam had about 15. But I wanted to keep reading after the summer, so to keep myself motivated, I joined the 2014 Reading Challenge on GoodReads.

I decided to start with a realistic goal this year since I am starting in June and increase the number next year. I’m going to try to read 40 books by the end of 2014.

I already finished one.

Eden, Dawn: The Chronicles of Paradise Book Review

Eden, Dawn: The Chronicles of Paradise

I started reading this book on June 4th, and finished it on the 10th. Considering I work part time and do freelance writing along with homeschooling and blogging in my spare time, that was pretty quick. If I could have sat there for two days straight to read this book, I would have. It was just that good.

Eden, Dawn is the first book of a trilogy. Eden, Noon will becoming out in October and Eden, Dusk is set to be released in 2015.

I refuse to give away spoilers, but I’ll do my best to give you the gist of the story, which takes place on another planet. Earth has been destroyed and the survivors have made their way to an Earth-like planet they call Eden. I’ll leave the description of the planet to the book since Swift does a wonderful job of painting a picture of this beautiful world.

The survivors have been on this planet for 10 years. Most of them have died. They are divided into clans of no more than 25 people and littered around the planet in an effort to protect themselves from them.

I love how the author refers to the nemesis of the survivors as them. It makes you feel the pure hatred they have for this humanoid alien race, which has killed many of their clan and elder leaders and taken most of their women.

I don’t want to say too much about the Zikalic (the aliens) because I don’t want to ruin it for anyone. Learning about the aliens as you read the book is essential to the development of both the characters and the plot.

The book focuses on one character – Ristan Abel. A seventeen year old boy, who becomes a young man over the course of the story. He has lost his parents as well a girl he thought was the love of his life.

Ristan finds himself thrown in the middle of an elaborate plot to destroy the human race that starts with dissension in his own clan. He realizes that one of his own clan members is in cohoots with the youngest of the  elder leaders and then simply by chance finds out that something much more sinister is happening. There are traitors among the survivors.

I have to confess, at one point in the book, I knew what was going to happen before it did, and put the book down. I thought the rest of the story was going to be just as predictable, and I commented about it on Good Reads.

But after about 24 hours of thought, I realized that the author had succeeded in engrossing me in this story up until that point, maybe the rest of the book had a few twists I didn’t anticipate. At the same time, the author contacted me and explained why the part was written that way, which told me I had made the right choice.

I was not disappointed.

Incidentally, if you’d like to read the author’s explanation in his own words, you can read it on his blog here.

The rest of the story unfolds in a way that had me glued to the screen of my kindle for about four hours (during a thunderstorm, which really added to the experience).

This was my first time reading a book in this genre, and I found it because it was recommended as a free book on Amazon through Jungle Deals. But I would have gladly paid for the book because it’s the best I’ve read in a long time. I’m glad I chose it as the first book in my reading challenge.

If you’re interested in reading the book, you can still get it for free on Amazon. If you’d like to know more about Archer Swift you can visit his blog (which I highly recommend). If you’d like to see what else I have on my Summer and 2014 reading list, you can find me on Good Reads.

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