Jan 20, 2014

Blog Tour: Escape from Eden by Elisa Nader

Hello, people of the bookish cult! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Escape from Eden by Elisa Nader, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours! I'm pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this book (a lot), and I'm super excited to share my review with you. And while you're here, don't forget to enter the super awesome giveaway that's part of the tour. If you can't wait to try to win the book, then no worries--Escape from Eden is only $1.99 on Kindle until the end of the month, and it's totally worth purchasing. (And I'm not just saying that for this post.) But in the meantime, be sure to check it out!

The Review
Title: Escape from Eden
Author: Elisa Nader
Publisher: Merit Press
Publishing Date: August 18, 2013
Pages/Format: 272, Hardcover

Since the age of ten, Mia has lived under the iron fist of the fundamentalist preacher who lured her mother away to join his fanatical family of followers. In Edenton, a supposed “Garden of Eden” deep in the South American jungle, everyone follows the Reverend’s strict but arbitrary rules—even the mandate of whom they can marry. Now sixteen, Mia dreams of slipping away from the armed guards who keep the faithful in, and the curious out. When the rebellious and sexy Gabriel, a new boy, arrives with his family, Mia sees a chance to escape. 

But the scandalous secrets the two discover beyond the compound’s façade are more shocking than anything they ever imagined. While Gabriel has his own terrible secrets, he and Mia bond together, more than friends and freedom fighters. But is there time to think of each other as they race to stop the Reverend’s paranoid plan to free his flock from the corrupt world? Can two teenagers crush a criminal mastermind? And who will die in the fight to save the ones they love from a madman who’s only concerned about his own secrets?

Initial Reaction of Book in One Word: GOOD.

Going into Escape from Eden, I think I was expecting a book about a girl who lives in a cult (I'm not sure what else to call it), but because she doesn't like living there, she decides to escape with a boy she likes. (So basically a complete and total love story.) You could say that I got parts of that (I wouldn't call it a love story, though there's romance), but really, I got so much more. And I mean that in a very good way, for this book was GOOD.

It's told from the POV of Mia, a sixteen year old who's spent six years of her life living in Edenton and under the rules of the Reverend. Mia didn't go to Edenton by choice (she had to go with her mother and younger brother), so her thoughts aren't always what they should be, and she wants out. When a new family comes to join Edenton, Mia sees something in the rebellious Gabriel--who doesn't want to be in Edenton, either. After realizing that they both have the same idea (and dislike of where they are), they plan to work together to escape Edenton. (And I'm telling you now, there's some romance between them. It's definitely not clean or perfect, but I loved it, I loved Gabriel, and I loved those two together. It was great.) But of course, plans don't always work out.

Edenton is an eden set in the middle of the jungle. It's run by the Reverend (I don't like him at all), who claims that he'll fulfill God's wishes and all that. The people--aka the Flock--live by a set of rules, and they follow them, no questions asked. They do their duties, they live where they're supposed to, they court when they're told they can, they marry who they're told to, they don't speak against the Reverend, and so on. They don't talk about the outside world, and the outside world isn't supposed to be come in. (Mia isn't even allowed to have paper and a pencil so she can draw.) But once again, things aren't always as they seem.

I don't want to say too much to avoid spoilers, but Edenton is a lot more than it appears to be. Really, some of the things (okay, maybe more than some) that happened were pretty dang messed up and disturbing. But it was all done and written well, and it completely worked. I understand that some people may avoid this book because they make thing it's religious and all that, but it's not. And if that's why you're not reading, please don't do that! I promise you, it is so much more than that, religion isn't the center of the story, and you should absolutely read this book. (And I'd looove to tell you more about this book, but the way everything unravels in that thriller/mystery sort of way, I'd be telling you the whole story, and I want you to go into this book figuring things out on your own and having few ideas.)

I feel like this is one of my reviews that fails to show how I feel about a book. (Scratch that. I don't feel like this is one of those reviews. I know it is, and I'm sorry it's inadequate!) Escape from Eden is a really, really good book, almost flawless. (I can't think of anything that really bothered me, except maybe for some commas, or lack of.) While I'm not sure that I loved it, it at least comes pretty close. Actually, I think this may be one of those books that I grow to like even more over time. The story was fantastic, full of twists and turns and thrills (and some steamy romance). So many things happened, and they were done quite well. I'm pretty sure I said "Oh, nooo," and had several freakouts and reactions throughout the book. I had some inklings, but I don't think I actually predicted anything (which was great). Escape from Eden did so many things well, and it was constantly unputdownable.  As I neared the end, I thought to myself that I didn't really want the book to end. I'm definitely looking forward to more books from Elisa in the future, and I wouldn't say no to a sequel...(hint hint). You won't want to escape this book while reading it! (I had to put a pun somewhere.)

Did I like it? Most definitely!
Did I love it? Almost...
Would I reread it? I wouldn't say no to a reread.
Would I purchase it? I'm happy that I already own it in hardcover!
Who would I recommend it to? To be honest, I don't think there's anyone I'd say no to if they asked me if they should read this book. So...Everyone?

The Author
Hi. I’m Elisa. I like cheese and reading and TV show marathons. Writing is scary, but not as scary as, say, Civil War amputations. I’m an Aquarius. Uh… let’s see… I’m not very good at writing my own biography. Or autobiography. I guess this is reading more like a slightly incoherent personal ad.

Website Twitter Facebook

The Giveaway
One lucky winner in the US (sorry!) will win a signed copy of Escape from Eden (you want this!), a silver dog tag necklace, and a green snakeskin pop phone headset for mobile phones! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Wonderful review, Rachel! I, too, was wondering if it would be more romance oriented and I'm so happy at how all-around good and profound it sounds. I've always been fascinated by cult stories so I've had my eye on this one for a while, now. I'll definitely be giving it a go!

  2. Thanks for the giveaway. The books sounds like it would be a good read.


I've been having s-to-the-pam issues, and I wasn't thrilled with Disqus, so sorry about the CAPTCHA!