Eden Newman must mate before her 18th birthday in six months or she'll be left outside to die in a burning world. But who will pick up her mate-option when she's cursed with white skin and a tragically low mate-rate of 15%? In a post-apocalyptic, totalitarian, underground world where class and beauty are defined by resistance to an overheated environment, Eden's coloring brands her as a member of the lowest class, a weak and ugly Pearl. If only she can mate with a dark-skinned Coal from the ruling class, she'll be safe. Just maybe one Coal sees the Real Eden and will be her salvation her co-worker Jamal has begun secretly dating her. But when Eden unwittingly compromises her father's secret biological experiment, she finds herself in the eye of a storm and thrown into the last area of rainforest, a strange and dangerous land. Eden must fight to save her father, who may be humanity's last hope, while standing up to a powerful beast-man she believes is her enemy, despite her overwhelming attraction. Eden must change to survive but only if she can redefine her ideas of beauty and of love, along with a little help from her "adopted aunt" Emily Dickinson.
As I said, my skepticism for claims of Foyt’s blatant racism is the only reason I bothered to pick up Revealing Eden There’s no way, I thought, that her writing could be as outrageous as reviewers and bloggers have claimed! Unfortunately for Foyt, reviewers were not only correct in pointing out Revealing Eden’s racist undertones, but they were sometimes too kind in trying to justify Foyt’s reasoning. As has been pointed out by many reviewers, the “derogatory” terms given to each race were laughable, in that unlike dirty coal, they were all precious stones – amber, tiger eye, pearl. And the fact that she chose to use the word “Cotton” to represent the lowest class, Albinos, is just a slap in the face to those people (and their descendants) who were forced into slavery, working the cotton fields. Worse still was Foyt’s obvious lack of research, as she merely perpetuated current African-American stereotypes in two ways:
1) by transferring them onto her Caucasian protagonist.
"White people were lazy good-for-nothings with weak genetics."
Or 2) by using current African-American stereotypes when describing any character of color.
"Voluptuous, with raisin-colored skin, everything about Ashina screamed ruling class."
Continuing her theme of perpetuating current African-American stereotypes, Foyt made all of the Coals in Revealing Eden angry or violent.
"She suspected that each and every Coal passerby wanted to hurt her [...]"
"She smoothed a hand over her long black hair to reassure herself. Like her skin, the layers of dark coating – Midnight Luster – she’d worn since birth had turned it dry and crackly. A small price to pay for beauty and for protection. She had to cover her white skin or risk antagonizing the Coals."
If the mere presence of a Pearl is provocation enough to incite a riot, why would Coals bother to surround themselves by Pearls at all? Being the dominant race, they have the power to dictate how the Pearls live – why not force them into the deepest depths of the Combs, where no one has to see them? Or, if Coals are as bad as Foyt would have us believe, why not force all of the Pearls out into the sun and let them fend for themselves? Because of their low rate of survival, they’re forced out by the time they’re eighteen if they’re not mated anyways – what’s a few years early? Or why not breed out weak genes? They’ve already bred out the Albino gene, why not work on doing the same with the Caucasian gene? What about advances in medicine? Eden talks about a machine that feeds her the right combination of drugs whenever she’s ill – in this future Earth we’ve advanced far enough that we have self-diagnosing machines that can treat any variety of illnesses, but we’re unable to create an advanced version of sunscreen? Or some kind of fabric that will prevent the sun’s rays from penetrating to the skin beneath? Nothing about this future Earth made sense.
Which only furthered my constant questioning of why anyone would bother with blackface – “Midnight Luster” – at all? From the sounds of things, the society in Revealing Eden lives underground where the sunlight is unable to damage their skin. What’s the point in covering one’s skin, if not for protection from the sun, when everyone around you is aware of your true ethnicity because of embedded computer chips?
But as an example of Foyt’s lack of forethought, the majority of Revealing Eden is actually spent in the middle of a jungle. Outside. In the sun. After falling in the river and having all of her luster washed clean, Eden is originally fearful of her skin’s direct exposure to the sun. But as the plot progresses, those worries are heard less frequently and at one point, she even remarks at how nice it feels to be outside in the warmth of the sun. Other than the odd reference to someone having died from The Heat, it’s not a valid concern of Eden’s – it’s actually something I forgot about, by the end, because it hadn’t been mentioned in so long. Which further lessens my beliefs, as a reader, for the need of any kind of blackface…err sorry, Midnight Luster coating.
Another major issue I had with Revealing Eden was it’s lack of world-building. Eden is constantly complaining about the injustices she must face as a Pearl. But as far as I could tell, she had everything the Coals had – a well-respected job as a research assistant in a lab, regular meals and a small apartment she shared with her father. Other than the Coals outright dislike for her (which might just be because she’s an awful person), I failed to see how Eden was being oppressed. And she never once acted like someone who was living under an oppressive thumb. She’s defiant and demanding of those who are socially above her and constantly trying their patience, she’s selfish and she has an air of entitlement, having already turned down to mate requests because they were fellow Pearls. Add in that the history of the rise of the Coals is never fully fleshed out, I was completely unable to empathize with her situation.
Once in the jungle, Eden becomes impossible to follow as a character. She’s constantly berating Bramford for being beast-like, and yet she spends her time fantasizing about how his animalistic tendencies ignite a fire in her belly.
"She dared to test the boundaries of their body language and flexed her thighs around his neck. Unbelievably his gait slowed.
A feverish thrill shot through Eden. She could guide Bramford with a mere squeeze. Did she dare push him further?
She couldn’t resist the wild urge to flick her hips against his shoulders. At once he picked up speed. She almost squealed – his raw animal power was at her command. Eden pressed her body against the back of Bramford’s powerful head, rocking to the rhythm of his quick pace. A gush of pleasure swept through her."
(I’m not even going to comment on how much time she spends riding on his shoulders). She drives herself crazy, trying to figure out Bramford’s secrets, but when opportunities arise for her to actually discover parts of the truth, she chooses to remain ignorant in fear of inciting Bramford’s wrath. So most of her time is actually spent wallowing in self-pity or stomping around after Bramford demanding things of him. Towards the end of Revealing Eden, she proclaims to have undergone a transformation, where she realizes truths about herself and the “Real Eden.” Except, she doesn’t change. She’s still self-absorbed and vain, worrying about whether Bramford would find her attractive if she were to also adapt, and when her father refuses to help her, she tries to destroy his experiment so she won’t have to live without Bramford.
There’s so much more I could say, so many other things I could comment on that had my blood boiling or my head shaking. But I’ve already spent more time on Revealing Eden than I ever intended to. If I had 0 stars, Revealing Eden would be the first to join its ranks.
Foyt's post apocalyptic universe creates stunning visuals and delivers a dystopian world different than anything YA fans could have ever imagined. Unlike other YA novels, Save the Pearls' world isn't struggling because of a lack of resources, they are struggling from a depleting population and a society that can no longer survive above ground. Foyt brings Darwinism into a realistic light, as "The Heat" slowly kills off Caucasians, forcing humans to be divided by race, as if they were different species. She put a futuristic, eye-opening spin on this dystopia that plagued my mind for weeks.
Eden's internal struggles and paralyzing fear of the world around her rings true for many of my fellow introverts. Her sudden bursts of self-confidence are reminiscent of any pubescent teen who has stumbled upon a little faith in themselves while struggling to find their place in the world. When Eden finally found her footing and realized that the key to true beauty was within herself, and real love couldn't be found until she accepted who she was as a person, I was moved to tears.
Revealing Eden truly teaches the lesson, don't judge a book by its cover (or reviews). Don't let the negative press deter you. I guarantee most have not taken the time to experience this wonderful novel. Revealing Eden was a truly inspiring novel, and I can't wait to read what happens in the sequel.
What I love about dystopian novels is their ability to make us look at ourselves and what the world can become if we’re not willing to change—and author Victoria Foyt gets the reader to do exactly that. The premise of a post-apocalyptic world where, after a “Great Meltdown,” humans with lighter skin, aka Pearls, are at the bottom of the caste/class system due to a lack of melanin to protect them from the radiation given off by the overheated sun. Pearls are considered the lowest of the low and ugly, which makes it hard for them to survive, since due to limited resources and a government mandate, women must mate by their 18th birthday and men by their 24th or 25th.
The main character, Eden Newman, is on the verge of her 18th and desperate to find a mate so she can survive. Since she’s in a secret relationship with a highly desirable man of a dark skinned race, aka the Coals, Eden hopes that she may have a chance, until a betrayal and misunderstanding throws her entire world into chaos.
I related to Eden very well and loved figuring things out at the same she did during the book. She grows immensely throughout, learning to accept herself and realize that she is actually beautiful. And in a world where true love seems to be a myth, she discovers that it may actually exist. The plot is well-crafted and extremely unique, and all the characters are believable.
The descriptions in the book are amazing and thorough, yet enjoyable to read and don’t overload you. The elements of tension are incredible, which is what I think makes it such a page turner. It was hard not to think about how horrifying society could easily become—a world of extreme racism and danger caused by a deteriorated environment.
Moving on, the reason I chose to read this was because it is a dystopia. Gotta read 'em all. What intrigued me about this one was the power reversal that happened at some point. Old white men no longer control the economy or politics. Now, young black men are the most powerful and desired. Unfortunately, whoever is in power, they are assholes to everyone else. To avoid being treated too harshly, the Pearls have to paint their skin and hair black.
What really weirded me out about this novel was the romance aspect. To begin with, Eden hates Bramford and has no real interest in him. She thinks he's vaguely attractive, but mostly just a jerk. And you should probably stop reading now if you don't want spoilers. I don't think they are very surprising plot-wise, but just saying.
Okay, so then Bramford gets transformed into a jaguar man. He's still on his hind legs like a human, but he has a thin coating of black fur, long black hair (he was bald before) and a vaguely feline face. As soon as this happens, Eden wants him like none other. She begins panting after him now that he is not wholly human. She is so drawn to him that she cannot think about anything else when he's there; when he's not nearby, she insults him and continues to think he's the biggest douchebag ever. Creepy!
Overall, Revealing Eden reads like a romance novel. However, the themes of racism and what it does to people are interesting. This wasn't a bad read, just a strange one.
Eden is a pearl in a world where the coals are the ruling class. Pearl and Coal are racial epithets used by people in this society. She lives in a society where human beings are valued according to their phenotype and how pigmentation makes them fit to survive the environmental conditions. In this society where Eden lives, each individual seeks a mate to ensure the survival of the species. When people are knowing each other, before asking questions like what is your favorite music? or What colors you like? they prefer to know their genetic analysis and if they possess features that could improve an offspring.
Eden is a pearl, a person with caucasian pigmentation. A caucasian can hardly survive the onslaught of the sun on their skin and the temperatures. The pearls are kept sheltered in a facility without receiving contact with sunlight. For their 18 birthday they must have a partner chosen to procreate and continue the species, so they can continue receiving those things that need to continue living. Eden is close to its 18 years, and although she is brilliant, his genetic analysis gives her only 15% of aptitude as a mate. She is yet to found a partner that complements her. She has only received interest from a young coal who works in charge of security at the site where Eden and his father, a scientist, works. Blinded by this opportunity and desire to find a mate, Eden reveals her father’s work without even realizing it, detonating a drastic change in their lives.
Eden was forced to leave her life behind and start learning to survive in another environment and other circumstances. Her life is going to be impacted by a quasi-supernatural and fantastic creature, born of a genius scientist, who will redefine her preconceptions about herself, about her feelings and about about what is beauty.
About the book
The cover of this book is interesting and intriguing, gives a clue to the theme of the story, but never gives it away. The image in front is striking and captures the reader's interest. The plot developed in this post-apocalyptic totalitarian society book is characterized by interesting plot twists, and the discussion of a variety of issues.
The novel provokes reflection on several issues of current importance:
A caste society- individuals are classified into groups according to their value in society. This value is assigned according to the pigmentation of the person and how fit they are in order to survive. These groups are named based on racial slang.
Racial equality - society is governed by rules that seek to maintain order subjecting the less fit for survival in obedience by developing low self-esteem in people.
Ethics in science: Genetic manipulation - To what extent might be acceptable or even necessary genetic manipulation? Or is it unacceptable?
Resource conservation- conservation of resources to provide adequately for a population of individuals who prove to be useful in that society. The utility in this case lies in reproductive potential to produce individuals capable of surviving.
Environmental impact- damage to the environment /atmosphere caused social change.
The world where these characters interact is one that clearly shows a racial divide. The beads have lived for generations indoctrinated to think that they are less than the ruling class, the coals. For much part of the book, Eden sees herself as ugly and worthless. Only when she abandons society, she begins to know herself and show others her genuine self.
What do I think about Eden?
Eden initially underestimates herself. She is brilliant, but in turn, completely naive. Only wanting to find a partner to survive and not be released outside and die because of the temperature. True her ordeals she finds herself.
Source: Received from Bookmasters and Sand Dollar Press Inc. via NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.
Eden is an extremely relatable character. Even though she exists in a very different world than we do, she struggles with the same issues that all teens do at her age. She wants to find meaning, she wants acceptance, and she wants to be loved.
The setting of the book is really amazing, as well. I'm a huge dystopian fan so I totally ate this stuff up.
Overall, Revealing Eden is a great book. The author really makes it an interesting and entertaining read.