For one boy and his friends, the path to Paradise comes at a cost—one they may not be prepared to pay.
When a biking accident leaves 17-year-old Joss Kazdan with the ability to hear things others can't, reality as he knows it begins to unravel.
A world of legends exists beyond the ordinary life he's always known, and he is transported to the same Paradise he's studying in World Mythology. But the strange gets even stranger when his new friends build a device that delivers people through the gates of the Garden of Eden.
Now Samael, the Creator God, is furious. As Samael rains down his apocalyptic devastation on the ecstasy-seeking teens, Joss and his companions must find a way to appease Samael—or the world will be destroyed forever.
Thanks to Leah Gonzalez of Novel Publicity for contacting me and allowing me to do a review of Crashing Eden.
Crashing Eden is one of those books that makes you rethink, or at least wonder about, all that you thought you knew or thought you might know about the world, what makes it tick, and what could bring it to an end. Michael Sussman concocts an imaginative world where science and religion of all kinds combine, creating a path to the enlightenment of the human race.
The story line is very fast paced and simple to follow which made it easy for me as a reader to keep the pages turning. As it progresses, enlightenment becomes achievable instantaneously to anyone who was willing to give it a try, but rather than bringing people together as one, it brought people at odds with each other, not to mention totally ticking off the Creator God. The world gets torn to bits and can only be saved through what boils down to forgiveness. There were a few key moments that I wish had been expanded upon, but there is a great message here of compassion and complete acceptance leading to peace.
Joss, our main character, is a kid who's been put through the ringer by his family and his own self-deprecating thoughts. He sees himself as a no-good, juvie punk, but although he says he's done some major damage, I never really saw it for myself as I read. Joss tells us rather than shows us how bad he is (or was, really), which leads me to believe that most of the "evil" he sees in himself was a reaction to a horrible situation in the past, not who he truly is. He has it in him to be good, as we see with his relationship with his sister, Callie, but he tends to focus on the negative. How can he not? With crap for a mother and the blame for everything horrible that's happened to his family constantly falling on his shoulders, how else is a guy supposed to feel?
Most of the other characters, with the exception of Callie and Alessa, were very much in the background. They didn't really stand on their own, had similar voices, and I didn't feel much of a connection to them, except in relation to Joss and his actions. I loved Alessa's strength and courage, and while I felt that her relationship with Joss was a bit forced, I did appreciate the reaction she got out of him. It proved that he did indeed had a heart, even when he thought he it was impossible, and that even he deserved forgiveness despite everything, which seems to be a recurring theme in this novel. Again, the positive messages in this novel are undeniable.
The writing style is fluid and easy to read. The tone is a nice mix of serious depth layered with light humor, making this a novel for a wide range of ages. As I've mentioned, the novel is based on the ideas of many religions, combining and morphing them into "One" idea. Where religion is involved, there's bound to be some friction and a crazy, wide range of opinions, so just keep that in your open minds :). But it's fiction, it's fun, and it's an interesting, thought provoking read ~ I'd recommend :).
Michael Sussman is the author of Crashing Eden, a YA fantasy/paranormal novel, and Otto Grows Down, a children’s picture book featuring illustrations by Scott Magoon.
Dr. Sussman is a clinical psychologist and has also published two books for mental health professionals. He’s the author of A Curious Calling: Unconscious Motivations for Practicing Psychotherapy and the editor of A Perilous Calling: The Hazards of Psychotherapy Practice.
He resides in the Boston area with his son, Ollie.
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~ Keely ~