Novella Review: Dawn of Eden

Dawn of Eden
(Blood of Eden #0.5)
By:  Julie Kagawa
Published By: Harlequin Luna
Publication Date:  January 29th, 2013
Page Count: 130 pages
Buy it at:  Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Source:  ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher Via NetGalley
  Audience:  New Adult/Adult Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Paranormal
Recommended for ages 17+

WOW!  This was not quite what I was expecting! was a really GOOD surprise at that!  Dawn of Eden is a prequel novella to The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa, and part of 'Til the World Ends, an anthology comprised of three unrelated dystopian/post-apocalyptic short stories by different authors.  In Julie's contribution, we are transported back in time, through the perspective of Kylie (and Ben Archer), to the desperate beginnings of the Red Lung virus that nearly obliterated humankind off the planet. 

Kylie, the main character of this short story, was a fresh-out-of-school-doctor in charge of a make-shift hospital because she was one of the few medical professionals left in the city to attend to those dying from the insidious virus.  Ben Archer, and his friend Nathan, stumbled into Kylie's clinic, bloodied and battered.  At this point in the story, the name "Archer" sounded very familiar so I went back to my copy of The Immortal Rules and remembered that the Archers were the family who owned the homestead that Allison, Zeke and company stumbled upon in the first book. 

Now back to Dawn of Eden...

Pretty early on, Kylie realized that Ben wasn't telling her the whole story about how they got into the condition they showed up in, and that had serious repercussions after Nathan's condition worsened.  Because I've read The Immortal Rules, I easily guessed what was going to become of him, but it wasn't any less terrifying to witness. 

Through all this intense drama packed into only a few pages, the characterization was still perfectly carried out.  Kylie's compassion for her patients, despite being fully aware of their odds of survival, was desperately heroic.  She tried to instill in her interns that there was always hope, no matter how futile their efforts seemed to be, and it was evident she truly believed there was always hope, and I liked that in her.  She was not dillusional either...not with all she had witnessed.  Even though she was often running on auto-pilot, adrenaline and caffeine, it seemed, she was always level-headed and smart about things.

Ben was described as ruggedly gorgeous (even battered and bloodied) but it was obviously evident he had a sensitive heart as well...and you know that combination would be a win, and in my opinion, it was!  Ben's protectiveness for Kylie was swoon-worthy. Now, don't roll your eyes...they did fall for each other rather quickly...but it would not be unreasonable to imagine given the situation they were in.  Their desperation to FEEL anything but hopelessness and despair was a driving force for sure, but they were brought together nonetheless and they became a great team.  As his story unfolded, it was easy to fall for him as Kylie did. is where I will interject that this is NOT a Young Adult story.  Kylie and Ben were in their 20's...and they were desperate, shocked, numb and horrified by all they that their only comfort was in each other...I'll let your imagination run with that thought.

And Kanin made an appearance in this story as well!  Everyone knows I LOVED Kanin in The Immortal his part in this story was a real treat!  "K" was the nameless and mysterious stranger who saved Kylie and Ben from an attack of Rabids.  What I loved about his part in this story was that we learned that someone inspired and restored Kanin's faith in humanity and his fight to right his wrongs -- namely the experiment that resulted in the creation of the Rabids.  It was a perfectly executed bridge.
The sense of despair and hopelessness with what they had to face back then was gut-wrenching but that despair was also what sucked me right into the story virtually from the start...just as The Immortal Rules did. The pace was quick and intense, which I expected it would be given the number of pages holding this story together...but true to fashion, Julie worked her magic awesomely.  Once I was able to really sit down and read, I couldn't put it down.  And because The Immortal Rules was originally geared to a mature young adult audience, I need to mention that there was some language and some fairly graphic sex, albeit well-written, but not meant for the younger set.  And I would further add that teens would not really be missing anything from the original story (Allie's perspective), for not having read this novella.  Dawn of Eden really served to fortify what we already learned in The Immortal Rules with a little bit more back-story.

Having said that, I do hope Kylie and Ben become players in the main story as I'd like to know how things turned out for them.  I have some questions since I couldn't find any reference to them in The Immortal Rules...although they might have been nameless characters.  I will look out for that when I reread the first book before the sequel comes out in April.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read Julie's novella prior to its official release!  I will admit that I requested 'Til the World Ends for Julie's story within but I may just read the other two novellas in short order.  But I wanted to first get the word out about this awesome little short story...older Julie fans will not be disappointed!


 Dawn of Eden by Julie Kagawa

Before The Immortal Rules, there was the Red Lung, a relentless virus determined to take out all in its path. For Kylie, the miracle of her survival is also her burden—as a doctor at one of the clinics for the infected, she is forced to witness endless suffering. What’s worse, strange things are happening to the remains of the dead, and by the time she befriends Ben Archer, she’s beginning to wonder if a global pandemic is the least of her problems...

Thistle & Thorne by Ann Aguirre

After a catastrophic spill turns the country into a vast chemical wasteland, those who could afford it retreated to fortresses, self-contained communities run by powerful corporations. But for Mari Thistle, life on the outside—in the Red Zone—is a constant struggle. To protect her family, Mari teams up with the mysterious Thorne Goodman. Together, they’ll face an evil plot in both the underworld of the Red Zone and the society inside the fortresses that could destroy those on the outside... for good.

Sun Storm by Karen Duvall

Sarah Daggot has been chasing storms since she was a child. But after the biggest solar flares in history nearly destroy the planet, she becomes a Kinetic, endowed by her exposure to extreme radiation with the power to sense coming storms—in the cosmos and beyond. And she’s not the only one. Sarah believes the Kinetics are destined to join forces and halt the final onslaught of the sun. She’ll vow to keep trying to convince the one missing link in their chain of defense, the enigmatic Ian Matthews, up until the world ends.