Hunt for Eden’s Star
D. J. Williams
Published April 4, 2023
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The Hunt for Eden’s Star
A coming-of-age teen is thrown into a world of ancient secrets when he discovers a supernatural compass that protects a weapon of mass destruction. With the help of a diverse group of friends, he embarks on a global adventure, seeking the truth about his sister’s death. He uncovers two clandestine, supernatural societies waging an epic, hidden war that threatens the future of civilization.
D. J. Williams’s suspenseful, page-turning style whisks readers into a wildly exciting, supernatural adventure that grabs hold of the imagination and never lets go. As Jack races to collect ancient artifacts critical to the survival of the world, readers are transported to incredible locales across Asia, including the lush jungles of the Philippines and the high-energy streets of Hong Kong. Themes of addiction, revenge, faith, and friendship emerge as Jack battles literal and psychological demons, and even his own friends and family members, on his quest to thwart the forces of evil.
This was a tough one for me. Suspense is always a bit of an iffy genre, so it could be that I’m generally less comfortable reading that type of story. I found myself struggling not only with some of the suspense elements, but also other elements of the story as well.
One of the things I wrestled with most was the portrayal of characters. I felt like a lot of the characters came across as kind of flat. Jack and his friends kind of acted a bit like frat boys, only interested in girls when they were attractive or could offer the boys a benefit of some kind (a key to an exclusive area, for example). Do high school boys act like that? Yeah, I’ve known some who did. But I found it to be an odd choice to cast those boys as the heroes of the story?
I also felt like Jack never really gained real forward momentum. There were a few scenes where he would make a grand statement about having a goal (one time this was about getting revenge for his sister’s death), and in the next scene, another character would basically tell him that was the wrong goal because reasons. And Jack would abandon his stated goal and kind of be back to trying to figure out his next move. I think I expected him to at some point become the character making things happen.
He does have moments where he accomplishes this. For example, he rescues a bunch of girls who are prisoners being trafficked by the bad guys. It’s a cool scene, but it didn’t really connect to the larger story other than to remind us that the bad guys are super bad.
HUNT FOR EDEN’S STAR has a lot of interesting elements in it. For example, Jack and his friends attend a coed, elite boarding school with four houses. Each house is identified with a particular set of virtues. Students are assigned to a house by a sort of magical process. Very reminiscent of a certain wizarding school. It was cool, and maybe the various houses are more involved in later books in the series, but I didn’t really catch much connection to the story in this first book.
Lots of the story takes place in Hong Kong, so I enjoyed the connection to history and politics/current events happening there. I kind of wish the story had featured that more in connection to the plot.
So, there were some really cool elements. I don’t know if the author just wanted to include all the things that will be relevant to later books to kind of garner reader interest for those things and set up some elements for later? It made the book kind of a long one for YA, especially for YA suspense, at almost 500 pages.
On the whole, I think this series really isn’t for me. Parts of it reminded me of the TIME ECHOES series by Bryan Davis which also has kind of a secret society, murder mystery thing going on. If you liked that one, then HUNT FOR EDEN’S STAR might be a good fit, too.
Recommended for Ages 12 up.
Jack is white. Some minor characters are BIPOC.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Some comments by boys about girls being attractive. A man brings a girl who is bound and blindfolded to Jack’s room and hints that Jack is to have sex with the girl.
Some characters worship Elyon. It seems like this might be supposed to be a representation of Christianity. (The book is published by a Christian publisher.) The religion is pretty transactional. Characters earn supernatural gifts by fully committing to the faith. Jack must pass tests where he must master his fear and instead have faith. If a servant of Elyon goes to a forbidden place, they lose their supernatural abilities and eventually die. Jack’s sister made a kind of contract with Elyon– her life for his– and this means Jack must be the one to complete a mission she left unfinished.
Situations of peril. Some battle scenes involving gunfire. Jack witnesses a political protestor murdered by police in the street. Jack discovers a group of girls who are victims of human trafficking. All are bound and blindfolded.
Jack and his friends visit a club and drink alcohol. Jack takes a pill that a stranger hands him in passing. He reflects on his past as an addict and credits his sister with saving him.
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