Monday, 17 September 2012

Eden-West by Janelle Stalder

Title:   Eden-West

Series:  Eden Series

Author: Janelle Stadler

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Age: 13 and up

Published:   August 2012

Amazon  ~  Barnes & Noble  ~  Smashwords 

New beginnings, new conflicts, and new adventures arise in the second installment of the Eden Series, Eden-West.

Months after his initial journey to Eden, Aiden is learning to cope with his own transformation. His social status has changed, his friendship with his best friend Ethan is in jeopardy because of it, and worst of all, he has heard absolutely nothing from his new friends in Eden. What has become of the world he fell in love with? Are his friends safe? Is the war over? With no answers, and no hope for contact, Aiden decides to focus on his life in his world.

Just as he makes this decision, he encounters a familiar bright light and thinks he knows exactly what it means. Except the light isn’t at all what he expects and neither is the person behind it. When Aiden returns to Eden, it is to a whole new part of that special world, and a whole new set of adventures.

Weeks after Aiden was returned to his own world, Elisa is sent to Nysa, the revered Southern city, to retrieve the one thing she’d rather avoid – Wolf. Captain Turk instructed her to get in and get out - but that is easier said than done. When she finds her missing friend, she also stumbles upon a great deal of trouble. This trouble goes by one name – Markus, the leader of the Sun People.

Follow all your favourite characters as they ready themselves for battle and fight for a world threatened to be destroyed. 

If you haven't read Eden, book one in the Eden Series, you can find it here on Goodreads!


My Fifty Shades of Grey
No not that Fifty Shades, tempting, but no. What I’m referring to are the shades of grey I’ve created in my series, the Eden series. I’m, of course, referring to the reader’s favourite Callum. For those of you who haven’t read the series, I’ll quickly explain.

Callum is the youngest prince of two. His father, the late High King, picked Callum’s brother Jameson to be King after his passing, even though Callum was the likely choice. This left Callum feeling betrayed and slighted, causing him to leave the Capital and join forces with the northern enemy, Brutus the Red, and the sorcerer Aziz. He is essentially the “bad guy” in the novel. Callum, Brutus, and Aziz declare war on Jameson and the rest of Eden, in a bid for Callum to regain his lost crown. 

The kicker with Callum and Brutus is that most readers love them! Yes, they are my shades of grey. Even though they are the “bad guys” I wanted to make them likable. The advantage, on my part, is that readers will develop an emotional attachment to both sides, causing them to become more involved in the war and its outcome. The other important factor in their side is Rose, as most of my readers will know. Rose is a prisoner of war, taken by Brutus and Callum’s army after her entire family is killed. She is kept in Callum’s tent, and a slow bond builds between them resulting in an inevitable romance. 

I love shades of grey. I think it’s very easy to have a black and white story, where there is a good side and bad side. What’s more difficult as a writer is to create a sense of hesitancy in the reader to really dislike one side over the other. It makes them consider the reasons for the war, and who they actually want to see win; especially when they’re rooting for two characters to fall hopelessly in love. What I find funny is that because of the romance between Rose and Callum, I think a lot of readers tend to overlook his less likable qualities. My grey areas completely fogged over the fact that Callum is still, in fact, a “bad” guy. 

Not only do we ignore the fact that Callum is still killing innocent people, even talks about seeking revenge on an entire city filled with innocent citizens as one reviewer pointed out, but we also ignore the fact that it’s actually very unusual that Rose can love him. He didn’t personally kill her family, despite what some may think. I’ve never confirmed or denied this outright in the story, but I am telling you here that he didn’t kill her family. That doesn’t really matter when you consider the fact that he is leading the men that did. He also takes her from her burning village, along with all the other young females in the village, for the purpose of being brutalized by his men. Of course Rose is saved from this horrible fate because Callum takes a personal liking to her, but again it doesn’t erase the fact that he sentenced girls she would have grown up with to this. Rose even comments on the fact that all the girls suddenly disappear. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what happened to them. 

Despite all this, Rose still falls for him, and you can’t help but wonder why? And why, as readers, do we find this romantic? Does the blurry line between right and wrong affect the way we see things? Do we, like the character of Rose, turn a blind eye to Callum’s less than admirable qualities because of the idealistic love evolving between them? You also have to stop and question Rose’s mental state at this point. Has the loss of everyone she’s known pushed her to the first sort of safe person she finds in the aftermath? 

All of these questions are not only asked by readers, but by me as well, funny enough. I find Rose to be one of the harder characters to write. When I created this sort of grey area with the northern army, I also opened myself up to a difficult blurred line between right and wrong. For example, why does Rose sit and discuss the war with Brutus and Callum, when the opposing side has her brother fighting for them? You see her inwardly fight with what’s happening, but she never acts out against either of them. On the contrary, not only is she with Callum, but she’s also developed a very endearing relationship with Brutus. You also have to stop and ask yourself, would Callum be like this if he had stayed in the Capital? How much of his hatred is actually from himself, and how much was influenced by those around him? It’s all very controversial for me, which is one of the reasons why I love and hate writing their story.

I still love the fact that people seem to like the other side of the war. I want my readers to be emotionally involved in what’s happening, and being torn between who they want to see win. I learned this from reading other novels where the same thing happened to me. You tend to feel more connected to the characters when you don’t want to see anyone hurt, but know that only one person will come out of the situation as a winner. It’s just a matter of finding out who it will be.

In the third book you will start to see another side to this war, turning it into quite the triangle. What was grey area now becomes a little less grey, and a little more black. You will finally officially be introduced to the, up to this point only talked about, sorcerer Aziz. Until now we haven’t really seen him in person. Brutus and Callum discuss him, but he hasn’t been a big part of the story. Well that changes in the third, and he’s definitely not as grey as Callum.

The other main reason for creating such a shaded area around Callum, aside from tormenting my readers, was that in that grey area there is always the possibility that he can choose either side. It is left to be seen whether he will finally move to the lighter side, or the darker. I guess you’ll have to wait to find out! 

Thanks to Sheri and Making Connections for having me on here today, and being a part of the Eden-West Blog Tour! I appreciate you putting up with my nonsensical ramblings J 


Janelle Stalder



Twitter: @jmstalder                                                     


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