Thursday, August 27, 2015

Book Review: Eden's Creatures, by Valerie Zambito



Welcome to this stop in the
Eden's Creatures blog tour,
sponsored by 
Reading Addiction Virtual 
Book Tours!

For my stop, I'm featuring a review!




Eden's Creatures
Valerie Zambito
Kindle Edition, 208 pages
Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
July 2, 2015
Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, New Adult




Cal Taylor hates his life. A neglectful mother, an abusive stepfather, and town thugs all conspire to tear him down. But, he never could have imagined that his dreams of striking out on his own would take him to a whole different world.

When he stumbles into the mystical Faedin, he can’t help but be drawn to the beautiful girl who captures him. Stassi is everything he’s not. Confident. Strong. Ruthless. More animal than human really. Before he knows it, they’re caught in a dangerous struggle for survival and neither are prepared for the cunning of the serpent that slithers just out of sight.








Reviewer's Note
Although the tour company offered 
complimentary copies, I decided to buy my own, 
so I could put it on my Android phone.
(I have a Kindle app. on the phone.)

This novel is a very unique and creative take on the Biblical story of the Fall and the serpent, Satan, who is here known as Gai'tan. In this very imaginative novel, he's trapped underneath "The Tree That Will Not Die". If he gets free, it will be a terrible calamity for all of humanity....

Stassi's people, the Faedin, are similar to angels, as they have large, white wings. They are, in fact, the guardians of the human race. Theirs is a strange world governed by very primal rules, separated from the human world by a thin veil that can only be crossed under very special circumstances.

I really enjoyed the author's world-building! The Faedin really come alive, as does their beautiful world, and their purpose in the universe is one that is readily believable. There are several memorable characters among them, too, such as Julius, who is patient and kind, and yet, a very strong, determined leader, and Gilad, a warrior who is very jealous of Cal, as he is a rival for Stassi's affections.

Of course, the most memorable characters of all are Stassi and Cal. Their relationship begins in a rather abrupt manner, and Cal at first has a hard time adjusting to the Faedin ways. But Stassi enchants him from the very beginning, and it's clear right away that they're meant to be together.

What I especially like about their romance is that Cal never treats Stassi as anything but an equal partner (she's a future warrior, after all), and doing so does not negate his romantic feelings for her. In fact, he's a very sweet, sensitive young man, and it's his gentle love that awakens tender feelings in Stassi. They eventually participate in warrior training together, learning the necessary skills to fight the Fallen, who are demonic beings allied with Gai'tan.

Stassi's personality is an interesting combination of fierceness and yet, innocence. From the very beginning, even before Cal arrived in Faedin, she was intrigued by him, and felt empathy for his situation. He awakens feelings in her that she had never felt before. It was great to see her growing emotionally!

I also enjoyed seeing Cal grow in self-confidence as his body changed and matured. He's such a good guy! He's always thinking of others -- such as his endearing little brother, Landon -- before himself. He deserves someone who can love him totally!

There's some predictability in the first few chapters, as Cal is the typical downtrodden hero, bullied by his classmates, as well as his stepfather. It's when he meets Stassi that his life starts to improve, and the novel's originality emerges.

The pacing of the novel is a bit too fast at the beginning, in my honest opinion. I think the reader needs more time to get to know Cal and his family. More character development is therefore needed here. However, the pacing gets faster from about the beginning of the third part of the book to just before the epilogue -- there's a lot of action, with unexpected surprises, and so the more rapid pace is absolutely perfect.

The ending was explosive and had me riveted to my Android phone, as literally all hell broke loose. Just when it looked that all was lost, though, Zambito threw in a totally unexpected twist that not only took me by surprise, but also brought a big smile to my face. I can say no more without spoiling the entire story. Suffice it to say that it satisfied my romantic heart!

While this story is based on the Genesis tale, the author does her own thing with it, and a very interesting thing it is! The only real reference to the original tale is that the Faedin refer to every human male as "son of Adam". (Come to  think of it, since no human females interact with the Faedin, no "daughters of Eve" are mentioned, but that's fine; I don't want to split hairs.)

In spite of its Christian underpinnings, the novel is not in any way 'preachy'. It's just a great fantasy tale, with a fascinating variation on an ancient Bible story, and some sweet romance expertly mixed in.

The book reads like a YA novel, except that there are some aspects of it that would be better suited to older teens. There's a very romantic sex scene which is very tastefully handled. Nothing overly graphic, which is just the way I like it.

I highly recommend this book to lovers of fantasy and paranormal romance, as well as to those who love to speculate about the grand scheme of things. It's a great adventure, with an unusual romance, and an unforgettable villain you love to hate. Nor will you be able to forget the fierce yet innocent Faedin, whose destiny is so inextricably entwined with the fate of the human race. 

MY RATING:







Heroic fantasy author Valerie Zambito lives in New York with her family. A great love of world-building, character creation, and all things led to the publication of her epic fantasy series, ISLAND SHIFTERS, in October, 2011. The first book in her paranormal fantasy series, ANGELS OF THE KNIGHTS, followed in 2012. Visit her website for all the latest information regarding upcoming projects.




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4 comments:

  1. Great review! Thanks for that and for participating in the blog tour. It is very much appreciated.

    Valerie

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi, Valerie!

    Thanks so much for stopping by to comment, and for the compliment on my review!

    I really enjoyed this novel, and would love to read more about Stassi and Cal in future novels! It looks like this is a standalone. But I sure would love to meet up with them again!

    You know, I re-read the review this morning, and realized I hadn't said much about Stassi, so I went back to the post editor, and added some comments about her. She's a GREAT character, just like Cal is, and I LOVED them together!

    I hope to read more of your books!! : )

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great commentary as always Maria.

    The story of The Garden of Eden and Humanity's Fall is very ingrained in our culture. I think that it is interesting and it can be very enlightening when a modern author takes it and puts their own twist on it. In fact I think that this is great opportunity for the author to say a lot about people, culture and the Universe at large.

    By the way, I love the cover and I think that it would be a great choice for Shelf Candy Saturday.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey, Brian!

    Thank you so much for the compliment!

    The story of the Fall and the Garden of Eden is definitely very ingrained in Western culture. That's because it's an archetypal story. And I agree that, when a modern author decides to use it as a basis for a novel, he/she can do many interesting things with it. (Years, ago, I attempted to write something based on this ancient story myself. I abandoned the project, though. It struck me as a little heretical at the time.)

    I also agree that the cover would be PERFECT for "Shelf Candy Saturday"! But I'll wait a few weeks first, so as not o publish two posts with the same cover nearly back to back.

    Thanks for the great comment!! : )

    ReplyDelete

THIS IS NOW AN AWARD-FREE, AND TAG-FREE BLOG. Thanks for the compliment, though! : )

Thanks for your thoughts on my posts! I always reply here, as well as comment back on your blog. Have a WONDERFUL day!! :)