Synopsis from Goodreads: Eden Newman must mate before her 18th birthday in six months or she’ll be left outside to die in a burning world. But who will pick up her mate-option when she’s cursed with white skin and a tragically low mate-rate of 15%? In a post-apocalyptic, totalitarian, underground world where class and beauty are defined by resistance to an overheated environment, Eden’s coloring brands her as a member of the lowest class, a weak and ugly Pearl. If only she can mate with a dark-skinned Coal from the ruling class, she’ll be safe. Just maybe one Coal sees the Real Eden and will be her salvation her co-worker Jamal has begun secretly dating her. But when Eden unwittingly compromises her father’s secret biological experiment, she finds herself in the eye of a storm and thrown into the last area of rainforest, a strange and dangerous land. Eden must fight to save her father, who may be humanity’s last hope, while standing up to a powerful beast-man she believes is her enemy, despite her overwhelming attraction. Eden must change to survive but only if she can redefine her ideas of beauty and of love, along with a little help from her “adopted aunt” Emily Dickinson.
Number of pages: 307
My review: I was not paid to write or say anything in this review. These are my own personal opinions.
Okay. So prior to starting this book I did some casual research on it and realized there was a lot of controversy surrounding certain aspects in the novel. And I’d like to address those first before I move into how I feel about the controversy and the novel itself.
As the synopsis states, the main character Eden, is a Pearl. In this dystopian world pearls are the Caucasians, and the lowest class, while coals, or African Americans and those with darker skin tones are the ruling class. The reason for this is that global warming has caused an overheated environment on earth which is not safe for those with low melanin levels (those with lighter skin). They have developed skin cancer, or “The Heat”, and have died off in numerous numbers. Those with darker skin tones have managed to survive due to their high melanin levels.
Okay, so many people feel that the terms used to describe the different races is extremely offensive. But Victoria Foyt clearly states on the savethepearls.com website… “Why are whites called Pearls, while blacks are called Coals? Imagine a gritty, post-apocalyptic world where all that matters is survival. What good will a pearl do you when luxury items have no use? Coal has energy, fire, and real value. It is durable and strong, not easily crushed like a pearl. Pearl is a pejorative term here. Coals are admired. Coals oppress Pearls because they fear that those with light skin will add to a population unable to survive “The Heat,” and drain meager resources.”
The terms are not being used in anyway to mock either race or to promote “black face,” another topic that has to be discussed. Eden, and other light skinned people in this dystopian world color their faces and entire bodies with a dark coating in order to protect themselves from the sun. They are doing it for protection, again, not to poke fun at the other races or to mock them.
Going through all the reviews on Goodreads it became clear to me that most people had either never read the book, or had never finished it. Honestly the only time these two “issues” are thrown in your face are in the first 50 or so pages. Then, other events occur and Eden learns to adapt and recognize her true inner and outer beauty.
Personally, I believe the novel does an excellent job of tackling racism. Racism, is an extremely hard topic to cover without someone somewhere becoming upset over it. I mean if you think about it, the series Noughts and Crossses by Malorie Blackman discusses the same ideals, but just in a different setting.
Also, apparently a lot of people are extremely offended by the cover. Which, just by looking at, and not actually reading the book, makes you seem judgmental too. It’s no different than looking at someone and making assumptions about them right? Right!? Plus, if you don’t like the issues discussed, or can’t handle them in this particular setting, ignore it. Don’t read the book. It’s really that simple. You have to remember this is not taking place in today’s world. These are dire circumstances presented in a dystopian world.
Anyways, I personally liked the book a lot, and I appreciated how the racism, and struggles were overcome by Eden in this dystopian world. Maybe she’s a little stuck up or so in the beginning but she grows and she learns. That’s the most important part, she learns that by embracing her true self she has become beautiful inside and out and others see that too. And the romance was pretty awesome too. This novel was packed with adventure and romance so if you’re into that kind of thing check it out.
I am looking forward to the next novel, and can’t wait to see what issues Eden and Bramford will get into next. I proudly rate this with 5 stars.
See you soon!
P.S. Thank you to the Victoria Foyt for sending me the book and autographing it for me!