I’m starting to really love science-fantasy books, and the first book in the “Eden East Series” helped build that love and appreciation even more. This is the story of Eden, a young woman with elemental magic, whose purpose is to bring Balance to the world, namely Earth. Her people do this by Binding themselves (think soulmates) and together, finding ways to bring peace and harmony to others. It’s a cute premise to be honest, and I loved how different families became essentially city states for each type of magic. There are Sirens who control emotion, Elementals who are pretty self-explanatory, Sorcerers who have legit wands that they use a-la Harry Potter style, Dryads who are healers (obviously), and Shifters who can—you guessed it—change into different animals. It’s honestly a really fun world and Black makes wonderful characters and has the building blocks for a really amazing YA series, but I wanted more.
I don’t want to spoil anything so this review is going to be vague, because honestly the novel moves so quickly that even mentioning much beyond what you get in the synopsis might spoil the fun ride “Keepers” will take you on. But let me just say what isn’t there: after the introduction, the story doesn’t focus on what Keepers are supposed to bring to Earth, which is Balance. Beyond the characters you meet with different powers, you don’t see those different areas of the world or see how they all fit together. You don’t see much of the world outside of a few key areas. I wanted more of each of those things because they’re so interesting! The author writes the characters well and clearly has her magic systems set up that I felt it was a shame to not show the reader more of that, especially for the first book in a series. Maybe it’s just me and I enjoy more world building (which can lead to slower reading), but without that I had a hard time being swept up in all the different conflicts—big and small—that the author places in the book.
So lots talk about what was there that was awesome: entertaining magic, a compelling love story, stakes that gradually get larger as the book progresses, and villains you love to hate. There is a lot of really fun elements in this book that fans of magical fantasy with light science fiction are going to love, so I highly recommend this if that’s your jam. Also, the last few chapters have some serious Harry Potter vibes from the last book, so there’s that to look forward to as well. The book moves extremely fast, there’s a lot of action always going on from basically the third chapter on. The whole plot is a sprint to the finish line which is wonderful! But, again, it did mean that a lot got thrown at the reader and resolved very quickly, negating a lot of potential tension.
This is honestly a hard book for me to rate. I really enjoyed the ride Black took me on, but as the book progressed, the lack of world building became all the more noticeable even though it was easy to kind of ignore as the “boss battle” loomed. It did make things a bit muddy when it came to some of Eden’s friends and how they were related, and who was in what faction. You just don’t see enough of those things to get a good sense of them, at least in my opinion. But even knowing that, I still had a great time reading this book and even though I knew where it was going, I enjoyed the journey and am looking forward to the next book. So why am I giving this a 3.75 stars instead of a 4 or higher? Because of the world building, to be honest. Maybe it was left on the editing room floor for word count purposes—which I totally get—but my personal preference is for thorough world building especially for the first book in a series. I liked Eden as a character, but she could have fit in any magical realm, and I wanted her to fit in only with the world Black created. But given how Black set everything up and how much I did actually enjoy reading it, I’m confident that as the series progresses, the world will be developed further and we’ll see more of it. So, should you read this book? YES! Am I excited about the sequel? YOU BET YOUR BUTT I AM! And thanks to the author for providing me a review copy!
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