Becoming Calder & Finding Eden by Mia Sheridan
Epic Contemporary Romance. Must be read in order.
As usual, I went into Becoming Calder by Mia Sheridan completely blind. All I knew was that it was a Mia Sheridan book coming out soon. I put 100% of my trust into her genius hands. I had no idea it would be an epic, 2 part (with both parts out today) romance that is one of the most unique and captivating stories I have ever read.
Becoming Calder and Finding Eden is a two part series, but both books are out together (thank you , Mia!), and believe me, you won’t be able to wait to pick up the second. In fact, I can’t even review them separately.
Becoming Calder begins with a poor young woman coming to the big city with nothing but the clothes on her back and a locket in her pocket. She has lost someone dear to her, but we know nothing more, except her extreme heartache, and lack of someplace to go. Then her story, and his, is told.
At first, I thought, “what is this fuckery? Is this a paranormal book and I didn’t know it?” when we meet 10 year old Calder, working in fields in a desert when a new arrival comes to his village.
“She was [Hector’s] blessed one–the bride who would stand by his side when we, his people, were welcomed by the gods to the fields of Elysium, the most glorious paradise within the heavens”
We meet Calder’s best friend Xander, who steals the rare sugar cube from a local ranger station so they could have something sweet. You see, these boys are young workers in a cult community. Raised there, they have never seen the outside world. They live in tiny cabins with no water or electricity, living off the land, waiting for the great floods to wipe out the world, while they are led to Elysium by Hector and his bride. Hector is the great leader, and he the “council” live in the main lodge where, of course, sweets, water and electric are abundant.
But when Hector returns with his “princess” to Acadia,
“Behold the blessed one. My bride and your mother. Eden!”
We find she is only a little girl herself.
“And her face…I felt my heart lurch in my chest at the beauty of that small face…and my breath hitched as our gazes met and held, her blinking and me staring…Some strange instinct told me to run after her and take her hand” ~Calder
2 months after Hector’s marriage to “the chosen one” on Eden’s 18th birthday, the floods were foretold to come, so they still had years to go, since she was only just about Calder’s age. She was too elite for any of the other kids to play with, so the princess was just sequestered away. When she finally worked up the nerve to ask to play with some of the worker kids, she was told:
“You’re a flower, we’re the weeds. You’re either one or the other. You need to play with the other flowers.”
But Calder stepped in to save the day.
“A morning glory is a beautiful flower, delicate-like. Blue, just like your eyes…but the thing about a morning glory is if you let it, it will totally take over your crops, because it’s not JUST a flower. It’s also a weed. Stronger than it looks.”
Though they were never allowed to play again after that day, Calder and Eden had begun something special. He left her pressed morning glories where he could, and she snuck him butterscotch candies for 5 long years. In those 5 years, Eden watched Calder from afar, and was completely in love, despite the fact that she was supposed to marry Hector in a year, and be the entire community’s salvation.
When Eden was 16, she found herself with a few hours of freedom every day where she went to the springs. Since Calder was the water boy (almost man) of the community, he had to go down to the springs as well, and when he saw her there, he came alive.
“Hi Morning Glory”
Since Eden never went to school, only learning piano and the holy book, she and Calder traded–his knowledge for paper and paint for his art, though it was forbidden that she even talk to the workers.
“You never know when a small piece of knowledge is going to come in handy or maybe…maybe even change your life.”~Calder
As the boys get older and Xander gets to see a little of the outside world in his dealing with the ranger station, they begin to quietly question the cult that they are raised in. But nobody ever leaves Acadia except Council members, Calder’s goal in life. And Calder would never really break the rules because:
“He was goodness–raw, unguarded goodness. It glowed in him.”
But it didn’t stop him from wanting…
“If I were just a boy, and you were just a girl…I’d kiss you long, and I’d kiss you often.”
Despite Calder wanting to follow the rules, he couldn’t help himself.
That is actually how I felt about this book. It took a little time, but we watched them grow up through years in this community of cult members. I fell in love with Calder and Eden with all my heart and I swear that heart was beating out of my chest in fear that these two beautiful souls would be caught. I was overtaken by the story.
Their love took time to develop, but when Eden was 17, the innocent love became passionate. And I mean PASSIONATE, it was beautiful, and it was HOT.
“I’ve wanted you for so long. So long. Every waking minute, in my dreams, too. I want to bury myself in you, drown in you, and never come up for air. I want you to be mine, and only mine.”
He knew it was wrong…
“I was evil and disgusting. This was wrong. But if it was, then why did I feel like I would die without it? Why did Eden’s touch suddenly feel necessary to my very existence?”
The love between Calder and Eden was so pure and so real, the writing so amazing, I was swept away with it.
“I am yours. I’ve always been yours. I’ll be yours here on earth, in Elysium. I’ll fight the gods if I have to.”
Calder’s and Eden’s spring was a place of magic.
“The gods created this place for us…so we’d have a place to fall in love.”
“Calder kissed me in a way that made me believe I had not only always been his, but I would be his forever. In this life or any other.”
I was on the edge of my seat. Things started escalating. I couldn’t put Becoming Calder down.
“Do you think there’s a life out there for us?”
“I’m going to MAKE a life for us out there. A place for you and me. And until then, yes, I’m going to believe there is.”
I love that Mia split this into two books, yet released them together. The books each have a full story with a beginning. middle and end, but still can’t really stand alone, and I think you definitely want to read Finding Eden while your emotions and heart are still so deeply involved with the story. And believe me, they will be.
“There’s a spring. I’ll wait for you. I’ll be there.”
I have decided to review these books together for a few reasons, even though I completely see Mia’s reasoning for splitting them up. Though they need to be read together, Becoming Calder is about Calder and Eden’s relationship. About innocent forbidden love, and filled with dreams and hopes.
Finding Eden is the aftermath. It is a journey for each of the characters individually, to discover themselves and their place in the outside world. I don’t wan’t to give away any of the plot points in Finding Eden, not even the beginning, like I usually do, because you need to experience this journey on your own. We know some of the plot though, just from the first pages of Becoming Calder.
“Sometimes I imagine the rain is him… If I’m alone, I turn my face into it… and I can FEEL him… I’ll never have a place where I can visit him, and so I’m with him in the rain.”
Oh, my emotions in this book ran so high. I was so connected to the characters. We watched them grow up and go through hell for years. I just wanted them to find their slice of happiness. They are just living, but they aren’t ALIVE.
“I swear to you, my beautiful, sweet love, everyone deserves a love story that doesn’t hurt.”
But they are hurting. There is just too much guilt and pain.
“I know all the dreadful sorrow inside of you. I live it, too. I know. I know. But I also believe we are going to be okay – we are going to love so hard and with so much intensity, that it’s going to melt away all the pain.”
Zander was a great character, and he provided a lot of the lighter moments, just when things feet a little heavy.
“By the way, ‘Throw Back Thursday’ was a big success. I got about a thousand likes.”
“It was an incredible painting.”
“It’s the subject that makes that painting great. God, I was even good-looking at ten.”
There was still so much they didn’t understand. They each had good, beautiful souls that will never understand the ugly.
“Sometimes it seemed so much of the beauty in life resulted from the ugly. And how did you make sense of such things? How could you be thankful for something when so much suffering was necessary to bring it to you? Or was that the very thing that defined real beauty—light after darkness? And maybe that was the whole point. If you constantly sought beauty in the most obvious places, in only the brightest of circumstances, perhaps you weren’t really looking for it at all.”
But they found a way around it.
“I think we have to focus on on the beauty we’ve been given in this life, and make that the thing that defines us.”
They’ve had a rough life, there is no denying it. But they were so lucky, they needed to live lucky.
“You were victims. But don’t live like victims. Live like survivors.”
- Absolutely EPIC story, and COMPLETELY unique.
- Watching a friendship bloom into love over years.
- Calder’s inherent goodness.
- Calder’s sister.
- Zander & Calder’s amazing friendship, filled with love.
- The writing was absolutely amazing.
- So many great quotes, and even more in book 2.
- Very unpredictable.
- The pure innocence of first, true love.
- The forbidden love story.
- Overcoming tragedy and keeping up hope.
- I had a little trouble getting into Becoming Calder when the Acadia part began. It took a chapter or two or three for me to really start to connect to the story. So if you think it’s not for you at the beginning, STICK WITH IT. You’ll thank me later.
While I thought Becoming Calder was a 5+ star read, with the addition of Finding Eden, it pushes them both into the 5+++++ (or 6) star rating. While the first book was fairly innocent, there was still sexy times, but book 2 had LOTS.
The writing was flawless. Emotional and sexy, heartbreaking and heartwarming, Becoming Calder & Finding Eden brought out so many emotions, from anger and frustration to fear, to hopefulness, to disgust, to pure unadulterated joy.
Becoming Calder is about hope. It’s about undying love in the worst circumstances and has a good vs. evil theme throughout. Finding Eden is about strength, about forgiving yourself, and finding the road to happiness. Together, the two books are definitely going into my all-time favorites group. Filled with so much emotion and heart, this duo of books is one I can’t wait to get signed at Wicked Book Weekend.