The entire time I was reading Eden's Root, one thought kept resonating: this wasn't just sci-fi - this was realistic science fiction. And for me, that is usually the most terrifying kind...the sort that isn't out of the real of possibility. This suspenseful novel forced me to think about possibilities that, although they scared me, also made me appreciate the Fi and her family live in, and the choices she makes to keep them safe. Ultimately, Eden's Root had a few issues that detracted from my enjoyment of it, but I still found it to be a wild ride I won't soon forget!
While reading Rachel Fisher's novel, I struggled a bit with some of the characters. I've waited awhile after finishing to write my review, and I think there was something off in the character's voices for me. I liked the actual characters themselves well enough - Fi was brave and loyal, Sean was protective and strong, Asher was devoted and swoon-worthy, and the other members of the Family all had important roles to play. But in retrospect, even though I understand she was forced to grow up fast, Fi never felt like a teenager, nor did Sean or Asher, really. The only way I can describe it is that maybe Rachel struggled to really find their identities as teens - even teens who had grown up before they should have had to, due to their circumstances. Also there was a bit of a distance between the writing and their voices, almost as if she was afraid to get to close to the characters.
However, I did find a lot to like about Eden's Root. I really loved the scenes with Fi and her father - to me, that's where part of the heart of the story lies, in Fi's devotion to her father, and in his wish to prepare her for the harsh realities she'd face after he was gone, another victim of the Sickness, a cancer-like disease transmitted through the very food they're eating.
I also liked the unexpected romance between Fi and Asher! At first I thought Rachel Fisher was going in a different direction with the romance, but I'm happy with the way it all played out - it felt natural. Despite the fact that the pacing when it came to large passages of time felt choppy, Asher and Fi ARE given time to grow as friends and as a couple, so that their pairing felt more natural than rushed.
Overall, I liked Eden's Root, and read it in one sitting, so that says something about the story being told and about the writing! I think Rachel Fisher has a lot of promise, because while there are a few aspects to this book that felt under-developed, there was also a great deal of potential for a brilliant sci-fi trilogy!