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.
What I should mention first about this read is that the description of the settings was absolutely lovely. Different parts of the book are in different settings and it was a brilliant contrast between one and the other - complete opposites that got me really feeling like I was there.
I must admit I found it hard to like the protagonist, Eden, at first. She really got on my nerves but I found she grew on me the more she developed throughout the story. As events unfolded she made better decisions so I ended up really liking her towards the end.
Let's talk about Bramford for a minute though. Wow. He's made of hot stuff let me tell you! I really loved his character and how underestimated he was for literally three quarters of the book. I didn't fully understand his intentions until right towards the end of the book and I think that's the way it was meant to be. He was a brilliant character - full of depth and passion.
What let me down though was that the book only seemed to start to get going towards the end. The last quarter was where it started to get really exciting and things were brought to light. I think what kept me reading was little tidbits of interesting clues here and there to make me wonder what was going on. It was worthwhile towards the end though because when everything came together it all made perfect sense even though I was no way near close to guessing what was going to happen!
Overall this is a very quick and easy read full of great characters - some of them more charming than others - and a lot of action. I do recommend it and I'm certainly looking forward to the next book in the series!