From the author of the New York Times bestselling Testing trilogy comes a sweeping new fantasy series, perfect for fans of Victoria Aveyard and Sarah J. Maas.
Twins Carys and Andreus were never destined to rule Eden. With their older brother next in line to inherit the throne, the future of the kingdom was secure.
But appearances—and rivals—can be deceiving. When Eden’s king and crown prince are killed by assassins, Eden desperately needs a monarch, but the line of succession is no longer clear. With a ruling council scheming to gain power, Carys and Andreus are faced with only one option—to take part in a Trial of Succession that will determine which one of them is worthy of ruling the kingdom.
As sister and brother, Carys and Andreus have always kept each other safe—from their secrets, from the court, and from the monsters lurking in the mountains beyond the kingdom’s wall. But the Trial of Succession will test the bonds of trust and family.
With their country and their hearts divided, Carys and Andreus will discover exactly what each will do to win the crown. How long before suspicion takes hold and the thirst for power leads to the ultimate betrayal?
Freedom was a myth.
A lot stood out as original in Dividing Eden. I loved the premise, the characters and the overall execution of the book, but there was something that niggled me throughout the entire last half of the novel, something that stank of insincerity.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
When the Crown Prince and the king are assassinated, twins Carys and Andreus find themselves next in line for a throne they never wanted. Losing their mother to the madness of grief, Carys and Andreus are forced to enter a competition for the crown — either one of them wins, or their bloodline is passed over and the crown is handed to a new ruling family.
Although they concoct a plan in order to fool the Council of Elders and for Andreus to win the crown, the Trial of Succession isn’t as easy as it seems. Not only does it play on their strengths and weaknesses, but it also plays on their minds, and Carys and Andreus realise they may not be as close as they originally thought. With the Council of Elders watching their every move, and other players in the game silently moving chess pieces they hadn’t anticipated, the twins may have bitten off more than they can chew.
Overall, I really enjoyed Dividing Eden. Stories about twins are a guilty pleasure of mine, and I was excited to see how Charbonneau incorporated magic and science into her worldbuilding. The kingdom of Eden is kept alight by windmills powered by globes, and whilst the lights shine, the darkness is kept at bay — and so are the monsters that live in the mountains. I liked that Carys was the adventurous character, intent on discovering the world, whilst her brother was more of a scholar as well as a part-time womaniser. Both characters had a lot of depth and intrigue to them.
We’re immediately introduced to Lady Imogen, a seer in charge of telling the future of the kingdom and giving the answers to the royal family may they wish to know them. Imogen was also engaged to the Crown Prince Micah, but just happened to be Andreus’s secret lover. Although she was an interesting character, it annoyed me that Imogen seemed to hold this ridiculous power over Andreus and was able to make him doubt, and subsequently betray, his sister in just three days.
I think, ultimately, this is what cost the novel two stars for me. Carys and Andreus have a sibling bond like no other. Throughout their lives they’ve protected and looked out of each other, and yet, within a few days, Andreus is willing to throw that all aside in order to get the crown and almost kill his sister. It would take a lot more than that to almost murder my sister, lemme tell you.
Overall, it’s a solid three stars. I loved the Trial of Succession — the tasks varied from easy to breakneck difficulty; the side characters were fleshed out and interesting (I am way too excited to see more of Lord Garrett and see what the hell his part in all this actually is) and the story and worldbuilding were pretty damn solid. But that one little character flaw in Andreus knocked it down from a fantastic book to a solid three-star read.
I’ll definitely be reading the sequels, but I doubt I’ll be jumping at the bit.
Have you read Dividing Eden? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!