Author: Nick Sagan
Narrated By: Holter Graham, Clayton Barclay Jones, Jenna Lamia, Beth McDonald, Maggi-Meg Reed, Johnny Stange and Oliver Wyman
Genre: sci-fi/fantasy (apocalyptic, dystopic)
Length: 9.5 hours
Source: public library
Reason for Reading: This explanation is longer than usual, so if you don’t really care why I read it, I’d go ahead and skip to my thoughts.
Okay, sometime back in high school–this would be at least 6 years ago–I picked up a book called Idlewild by Nick Sagan. At the time I didn’t know it was the first of a trilogy. The name of the book caught my eye, because there is an Idlewild, Michigan, a town that I believe isn’t too big, which I drive past on my way to my family’s cottage every year. So I picked it up. I didn’t realize that it was named Idlewild because part of the story took place in backwoods Michigan. Even more interesting, I read this book while on vacation at my cottage–it happens to be a mere 25 miles away from Idlewild, MI. I asked my dad if he, my uncle, or my grandparents ever went to Idlewild while at the cottage and he said my grandparents used to go there to dance in the 1950s-60s.
Long story short, I loved Idlewild and have been meaning to finish the trilogy lately. When I saw Edenborn on the audiobook shelf at my local library branch and needed an audiobook for my commute to work, I just took it on impulse. And I’m so glad I did. That’s why I read it 🙂
Summary (from Goodreads):
“Edenborn begins with a stark vision – a microbial apocalypse called Black Ep has wiped humanity from the globe. Yet all is not lost. Six individuals have survived the epidemic and are now committed to the task of rebuilding a peaceful civilization. But not everyone shares the same vision, and soon two very different societies begin to form.” As we follow the children from each “family,” someone – or something – begins to threaten their innocence. And as the mystery mounts, a new biological threat moves against them. Now the architects who gave breath to this new world must scramble to protect their children from a two-front assault. It’s a race against extinction.
It’s essentially a dystopic novel. Black Ep is a plague from which only a handful of genetically altered humans (actually Human 2.0, as they’re not homo sapiens technically) managed to escape. They’re struggling to repopulate the human race. So it’s not “sci-fi” like outer space/aliens and it’s not “fantasy” like vampires/werewolves/etc.–it’s just a bleak look at a future of the world as envisioned by Nick Sagan.
My Thoughts: I was hesitant to read Edenborn without rereading Idlewild first, since it’d been so long since I read it first. But it turned out that I didn’t really forget much that was important. I remembered that a handful of teenagers were raised in what was called the IVR, a virtual reality computer program akin to The Matrix. And when they found out their lives were a sham and what the real world was like, some of them went berserk. Which I can totally understand. And I remembered Black Ep, which is pretty important to the story. But I had forgotten which survivors were friends with who and the fact that one of them killed off almost half of the total number, but that wasn’t very imperative to this installment.
I really liked this story. It is some time later from the end of Idlewild in that the original survivors now have grown “children” (what they call “water babies” as humans can no longer procreate naturally due to the crazy meds they take to help their immune systems). And there are two sets of “children” and their “parents”–one living in Munich, Germany, the other in Luxor, Egypt (or it might be Thebes). They have very different ideologies and lifestyles. But then another “child” pops out of no where (almost) and creates some havoc. And…well, it’s hard to gush over the book without giving it all away, so I won’t say much more than this: If you like/love Idlewild, give Edenborn a chance 🙂
Audiobook Format Thoughts: There was a cast of voices and, in this instance, I loved it. Each chapter had one of seven characters narrating it. So there were seven narrators for the book. But the narrator was the same throughout the whole chapter, reading narration and dialogue both. So, if Halloween and Pandora were having a conversation in Halloween’s chapter, only Halloween narrated the dialogue. I especially loved Penny’s voice, as read by Jenna Lamia. She had such a great “teenage” voice–attitudinal and whiny and very dramatic/expressive.
Idlewild sits right in the heart of the Manistee National Forest. The town’s protected by 500,000 acres of unspoiled wilderness.
-Pandora (Disc 6, Track 4)
I like this quote just because Idlewild is so close to my favorite place on earth, a small inland lake within the Manistee National Forest.