Initial reaction: Not a bad start for Keary Taylor’s Eden Trilogy. I think “The Bane” was well worth reading as a dystopian narrative, but I had issues with it for the amounts of infodumping and predictability of certain measures without vetting some of the character and emotional qualities of the story. It didn’t quite hit me entirely with emotional investment, though I was propelled through the narrative to figure what happened next. Hard to say where this trilogy will go, but I think I’d like to be there for the journey.
Keary Taylor’s “The Bane” is part YA dystopic, part sci-fi tech thriller, part romance – a juggle of many aspects that I did expect quite a bit from. It has an interesting premise to match. Eve, a (reportedly) 17-18 year old girl lives within a colony known as Eden – migrating survivors of humanity fighting against tech mutated monsters called the Bane. The Bane formed from experiments gone horribly wrong – lending to an infection that has spread amongst the population into violent monsters. Eve doesn’t have any memories prior to living among the survivors who lost their homes and lives with the destruction caused by the Bane, but her respective skills make her a valuable asset. She’s definitely a character who seems like she can do anything and everything for her team, running on little sleep and an expert hunter. There’s more to this than meets the eye, however, and I’ll admit I saw it coming before the events hit.
As the story progresses, Eve finds herself torn between the affections of two boys (I know, I know, bear with me – I’ll address this shortly) and competing realities that face her group. Between sickness and scarce supplies, between a past that she doesn’t know and subsequently learns in progression, and between fending off the Bane – Eve has a lot on her plate. I’ll admit that the story kept me reading and invested in the characters’ journeys despite parts of the heavy infodumping narrative, where it set the tone and expansion upon the world. Eve herself is a protagonist worth following, though I’ll admit for the development of the cast and emotional backing for the events in this story – it seemed very bare bones, underdeveloped even. I expected some of the parts of the story to hit me a little harder than they did – but the way the story presents them doesn’t give them due weight/impact, not as much as they could’ve had.
The survival/action sequences in this novel were decent, and those aspects definitely propelled me through the narrative. The love triangle (between Eve, West and Avian) wasn’t as annoying or forced as other YA dystopian stories I’ve come across. I liked the characters, but I still thought something was missing from their respective construction to make them more dimensional. I really was surprised at whom Eve chose in the end, but I felt like it was odd considering what happens to one of the characters shortly after that point.
Even with a cliched ending and predictable turns, I still found things to like in “The Bane” – and I’ll certainly look into the next part of this series to see where Taylor takes it.
Overall score: 3/5 stars
Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, self published by the author.