For one boy and his friends, the path to Paradise comes at a cost—one they may not be prepared to pay.
When a biking accident leaves 17-year-old Joss Kazdan with the ability to hear things others can’t, reality as he knows it begins to unravel.
A world of legends exists beyond the ordinary life he’s always known, and he is transported to the same Paradise he’s studying in World Mythology. But the strange gets even stranger when his new friends build a device that delivers people through the gates of the Garden of Eden.
Now Samael, the Creator God, is furious. As Samael rains down his apocalyptic devastation on the ecstasy-seeking teens, Joss and his companions must find a way to appease Samael—or the world will be destroyed forever.
A thank you is due to Ms. Gonzalez who invited me to be in Mr. Sussman’s tour!
Crashing Eden is an original debut in YA fiction for Mr. Sussman. He definitely is one to look out for. His book was interesting and very readable, but not without flaws. Crashing Eden has moments were it truly shines, making the reader rush through it in a hurry, but in between the gold, there are dustbunnies. (I’m not really sure if that worked…) At times, it feels very cardboard-ish. The book felt like a lesson at times, with a dull teacher.
Joss’ back story was very interesting. He was very wacko. He set fire to his brother’s bullies house because he knew that the bully caused his brother to commit suicide. Apparently, he didn’t know that the bully’s sister was in the house sleeping. He disfigures her which makes her hate him forever (not really). I found it very interesting.
Then his entire personality shifts. This is when I started to get bored. I like a guy with an interesting personality. I think that the story would be improved if he fleshed out Joss’ new personality. All I knew about new Joss was that I never knew when he was going to start singing kumbaya.
Alessa was one of Joss’ love interest. She also happened to be the one Joss disfigured. She starts of as a complete bitch. The next time we meet her, she’s a sweet little angel and continues that way. I found her lacking, but again if Mr. Sussman fleshed her out a bit more she would have been a very interesting character especially because of her relationship with Joss (not talking romantically).
Another thing, the romance between Alessa and Joss is very unrealistic. I could never imagine having any romantic feelings to the one who almost killed me. Ever. Therefor, I couldn’t relate to the romance in the book. Joss and Alessa’s relationship as reluctant partners like it started off (sort of like Mac and Barrons in the first few books in the Fever series) would have made for a cleaner, less unrealistic book.
The mother of Joss was absolutely despicable. I never thought I’d hate someone nearly as much as Umbridge. I mean this in the best way. Sure, she was clichéd and stereotyped beyond belief but I felt true hatred to the mother which was (I think) Sussman’s wish. Her back story didn’t change anything. I honestly didn’t care if she didn’t want to be a mother.
Shakti was a very bland character. She was smart but weak. She relied on Seth (her partner) very much and was overly heartbroken when he left her. Sure, Sussman told us she was strong, but what he showed us was very contradictory. Sussman needs to work on his characters. They all have a lot of potential but the execution needs to be worked on.
Plot & Writing:
The story is very interesting. When you are a kid (talking about under 6), the reason you are so happy all the time is because of the OM, the vibration that you are able to hear. It’s so blissful it’s hard to be sad. When you turn six you lose the ability to sense the OM. The experience is so horrible your mind represses it. When the main character Joss hits his head in a biking accident, the OM returns to him and he forgets about his delinquent ways and becomes, basically, a hippy. All kumbaya and peace on Earth.
A scientist duo hunt Joss down (it’s pretty easy since one of them caused Joss’ accident) and tell him he’s not crazy (well, maybe a little bit) and what he’s hearing is the OM. Everything up till here was very interesting. Then the scientists made the PVD – a device which helps people hear the OM. The PVD was very odd. Suddenly, everyone who has been given a PVD and can hear the OM gets a super power. How does extreme bliss give you super powers?
Basically, the next 50% is all about Joss giving everyone PVDs. That’s seriously all that happens. In this 50%, I began tuning out. It’s was very boring. The plot kicks up at about 80%. By then, it’s a bit too late. If the middle had some more action in it, I would have given Crashing Eden a higher rating. But it didn’t, so I docked two stars.
Michael Sussman is good at writing. But, fiction that pushes the edge of fantasy isn’t his thing. If I were him, I would move to contemporary. Fantasy/Dystopian is not his strong suit.
Sussman needs to works on his pacing and characters, but other than that, he is doing pretty well :)
Crashing Eden is an original read which really made me think at times. I enjoyed some of the book by the rest needed some fine tuning. This isn’t a horrible debut (trust me, I’ve read worse). In fact, it’s a pretty nice start. Keep writing is all I have to say.
Favorite Character: The Mother