Something I did not realise from the cover of this book is that it’s actually a thriller/horror. It’s not exactly scary, but there are some creepy elements and emotional moments around the last half of the novel.
The book is set in a not-so-distant future where humans have, to put it frankly, ruined the earth. In order for nature to begin to recover, ‘Virgin Zones’ have been set up – areas where nature is left to thrive, and where it’s illegal for any person to enter. But of course, people still do. Some of these people are a particular type of thrill-seekers, racing across these wild zones. Our protagonist, Jenn, is a member of a group of these travellers. Along with her father, boyfriend, and a few other friends, she sets out to cross Eden, the first Virgin Zone, with little more than a compass and some energy bars.
But Jenn another motive, too. Her mother – who left her and her father years ago, and only contacts Jenn to show her the Zones she’s crossed – has gone missing. And she was last seen crossing into Eden.
It turns out Jenn isn’t the only member of the group with ulterior motives, though. Legends of a mysterious, almost magical orchid have been spreading from various Zones. It’s believed that these ghost orchids have healing powers, possibly even immortality. And one of Jenn’s companions is hoping to find one.
What he doesn’t know is that the orchids are the centre of Eden. The centre of the horror, the fear, everything. And She – the very spirit of nature itself – will do anything to protect them.
The group face numerous hurdles, hunted by beasts working together in unnatural ways. As they find more and more corpses in odd states, their own group begins to dwindle.
I found this really interesting, not least because the whole setting is so plausible. The atmosphere gradually becomes tenser and tenser, as Jenn’s hunt for her mother well and truly comes to an end.
While I did enjoy this, I felt something was missing. I’m not sure what it is exactly, but I didn’t really click with Jenn, or feel her emotions all that much. 3.5 stars!