Dark Eden: Phantom File by Patrick Carman

6 Jul


I absolutely love Dark Eden.

While I’ve been a fan of Patrick Carman for years now, his genre busting, transmedia novel Dark Eden (available as an app for your iPhone, iPod or iPad, ebook or hardcover) is truly something amazing. It’s young adult as you’ve never seen it before with a dark psychological twist and a killer plot.

What I love about Dark Eden is that it pushed the boundaries of what a traditional story could be and succeeded on every level. With the second book, Dark Eden: Eve of Destruction, coming out on April 24th, I’m anxious to experience Dark Eden again in app format and book format.

To keep us sated while we wait, Patrick Carman has written Dark Eden: Phantom File. Though it’s a short read, Carman manages to pack quite a punch in so few pages. After the events of Dark Eden, Will Besting has found something important that could be a key to the cure.

In Dark Eden, Will Besting and six other teenagers were cured of their deepest fears by Rainsford, a mysterious man who may have cured them but also gave each patient something else in return. Will Besting knows that Rainsford is old, perhaps older than time itself. Should he get the chance, Will wants to make Rainsford pay for what he’s done to Alex, Avery, Ben, Connor, Kate, Marissa and himself, should he get the chance. Though they are cured, they are all left with some sort of impairment: pain, headaches, narcolepsy, deafness.

Will they get the chance to repay Rainsford for his unkindness? We’ll have to wait for Dark Eden: Eve of Destruction to find out. But what about Rainsford himself? What do we know about him? Not a lot…until Will finds the phantom file on his Recorder.

Having kept voice, video and written accounts of what happened at Fort Eden, Will is surprised to find a file on his recorder that was placed there by Ms. Goring and removed…but it left a piece behind. Will has been able to retrieve the phantom file and in it, we learn a piece of Rainsford’s past.

Though Will is still angry at being used and the lack of hearing that his cure left him with, he can’t help but feel a little sorry for Rainsford. Dark Eden: Phantom File is an incredible read that you can finish in one sitting. It will leave you anticipating Dark Eden: Eve of Destruction even more than before.

Carman has done something really neat with Dark Eden: Phantom File. It’s actually a story within a story, within a story. There are three narratives here: Will’s, Ms. Goring’s and one from Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, who later became Mary Shelley the author of Frankenstein, one of the most amazing classic horror novels of all time. This isn’t the first time that Carman has used literary references in Dark Eden (The Pearl by John Steinbeck is mentioned in Dark Eden and is a crucial clue to the mystery of the cure) but he uses it here to great effect.

Mary’s narrative picks up just after she has been challenged by Lord Byron and poet Percy Shelley to write the most frightening tale she can. She knows that every good story starts with an idea, trouble is, she doesn’t have one. While she is ruminating about her story, she meets Rainsford in Lord Byron’s kitchen. He offers to tell her a story of his own.

The tale he tells her will change Mary’s life forever and give Will Besting a clue of what is to come…

For such a short read, Patrick Carman packs in quite a lot: three different narratives, a twisting storyline and a dark plot that just makes me want to read Dark Eden all over again while I wait for Dark Eden: Eve of Destruction. If you want a great read, make sure to check out Dark Eden and Dark Eden: Phantom File.

Care for another cure?


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