55 points, 3 stars
Warning: excessive violence
Newlywed Will Battese finds himself homesick and overwhelmed after following his ambitious wife, Shannon, to New York City. When a surprise pregnancy shreds their already meager budget, Will drops out of college and settles for work at a low-end diner. There, a small act of kindness draws the attention of Victor Degas, a man with an unsettling presence and deformed eyes. Unbeknownst to Will, Degas belongs to an ancient, sophisticated cult known as the Edens and believes Will to be the key to gaining otherworldly power. As the sun sets on Good Friday, Degas orchestrates a home invasion in which Will and his baby boy, Gideon, are kidnapped, leaving Shannon to join forces with an unreliable agent from the Roman Catholic Church. While Will struggles to save other innocents from the Eden parish below the city, Shannon discovers that the cult plans to use her family for an unimaginable demonic ritual, and that the Vatican may let it happen. With no one to trust but themselves, Shannon and Will must fight not only to survive, but to keep their humanity intact. THE CULT OF EDEN is the first volume in The Unrisen saga.
Available October 1st, 2019 from Amazon. Preorder Now!
“If God truly cared about Will, He would have warned him of what was coming—openly, unmistakably warned him.”
It is unfortunate, but no matter how much I tried I couldn’t make this book work for me. It just wasn’t what I wanted at all. The tone of the book matched exactly what Bill Halpin was trying to do, it just didn’t match what I wanted out of the book. It was overly violent with an air of anticipation for more bad things to come. It was more like a movie thriller than a fantasy novel.
It didn’t help that this was incredibly low on fantasy. Everything until the final pages can be explained away as a bunch of well-equipped, well-funded crazy cult people with an agenda. Which has its place, and I can enjoy a good low fantasy book. However, I was just left frustrated by the lack of overt fantasy for too long.
The story moved a bit slow, too. The Cult of Eden shows the happy, if a bit strained, life of the Battese family before evil crashes down on them. The narration is split between the Battese family, and one of the high ranking Eden members on a mission. Which leads me to admit that the book does showcase the evil side very well. It isn’t just chaotic evil, there are rules and expectations to the evilness. Yet despite how slow the book started, the entire book takes place in the span of a very awful 24 hours. It was probably even less than 12 hours, I wasn’t counting. The entire book was just a series of horrifying action sequences, pain, and death.
The Cult of Eden was also surprisingly way more religious than I thought it would be, based on the blurb. I expected some Christian mythology. I was unprepared for the amount and depth. I’m certain that I missed an entire level of cleverness that people who were raised in religion or are religious would understand a heck of a lot more. Not only is it religious in nature, it also manages to skew those beliefs when needed quite well, to my untrained sensibilities.
It really is unfortunate that I couldn’t get into this book. It was a bit too slow and a bit too violent for me. On paper, this should be everything I wanted to read. I just couldn’t make it work for me.
I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Bill Halpin, Cosmic Egg Books, and Netgalley for providing the opportunity to review this copy!