FINALLY catching up on more reviews. I’m so mad that I’ve fallen behind like this, but life is crazy at the moment and I haven’t had much time to sit and relax.
Thanks to St. Martin’s Press for the free copy in exchange for my honest review
PRIDE OF EDEN – Taylor Brown (Released March 17th, 2020)
Vietnam veteran, retired racehorse jockey, and keeper of secrets, Anse Caulfield rescues exotic big cats, elephants, and other creatures for Little Eden, a wildlife sanctuary near the abandoned ruins of a failed development on the Georgia coast. But when Anse’s prized lion escapes and is killed, he becomes obsessed with replacing her—even if the means of rescue aren’t exactly legal.
Anse is joined by Malaya, a former soldier herself, who after discharge hunted poachers decimating an elephant refuge in Africa; Lope, whose training in falconry taught him to pilot surveillance drones; and Tyler, a veterinarian who has found a place in Anse’s obsessive world.
From an ancient crocodile scarred by forced combat with other animals, a panther caged in a yard, a rare tiger destined to be harvested for its glands, a lion kept as a tourist attraction at a gas station, to a pack of wolves being raised on a remote private island off the coast, Anse and his team battle an underworld of smugglers, gamblers, breeders, trophy hunters, and others who exploit exotic game.
Pride of Eden is a brilliant fever dream of a novel: set on the eroding edge of civilization, rooted in dramatic events that are linked not only with each character’s past, but to the prehistory of America, where great creatures roamed the continent and continue to inhabit our collective imagination.
My Thoughts: 4/5 stars
This was my introduction to Taylor Brown and I completely agree with the reviews I had seen about his other books, the writing is incredible. PRIDE OF EDEN will not be for everyone due to the subject-matter. Animal abuse is depicted and the torture of these exotic animals by poachers when it comes to hunting them for specific pieces of the animal for their monetary gain. However, it’s these parts in the book that will capture your attention and really experience the beautiful prose Brown gives us.
We get a variety of perspectives and characters in this book – even the perspective of a lion. This book will evoke all kinds of emotions as you progress through. It’s not an easy read and there are some gruesome parts, but those are the pieces that really draw you in and connect you to the book. I’m kicking myself that I haven’t picked up anything by Taylor Brown before this, but that is definitely changing.
This isn’t a fast read, so the pacing kind of slowed at parts for me personally. However, that didn’t take away from the overall message of the book and the beautiful writing. So much detail that it feels like you’re right there with the characters and living these experiences with them. I highly recommend this one, but also warn again, that this depicts cruelty to exotic animals and won’t be an easy one to get through for some readers.