Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller

Genre: YA fantasy
Pages: 416(hardcover)
Published: August 2010 by Razorbill
Recommended for: a wide variety of readers, adult and YA
(from Goodreads):
Haven Moore can't control her visions of a past with a boy called Ethan, and a life in New York that ended in fiery tragedy. In our present, she designs beautiful dresses for her classmates with her best friend Beau. Dressmaking keeps her sane, since she lives with her widowed and heartbroken mother in her tyrannical grandmother's house in Snope City, a tiny town in Tennessee. Then an impossible group of coincidences conspire to force her to flee to New York, to discover who she is, and who she was.
In New York, Haven meets Iain Morrow and is swept into an epic love affair that feels both deeply fated and terribly dangerous. Iain is suspected of murdering a rock star and Haven wonders, could he have murdered her in a past life? She visits the Ouroboros Society and discovers a murky world of reincarnation that stretches across millennia. Haven must discover the secrets hidden in her past lives, and loves¸ before all is lost and the cycle begins again.

My Take:

The Eternal Ones is based on a concept that's not uncommon in paperback romances-- a love story which involves two lovers finding each other again and again throughout their many incarnations, and more often than not, meeting a tragic and untimely end only to be reborn again and find each other yet again. (Lots of 'again's there, but you get the picture.)  I was a little hesitant to read this book, because the reincarnation angle reminded me too much of Fallen by Lauren Kate, which was a huge disappointment for me.  The Eternal Ones, however, is surprisingly smart, well-written, and always entertaining. 

Haven Moore is the odd girl out in her small, uber-Christian town of Snope City, Tennessee.  She's had visions of the man she loved, Ethan, and their lives together in Rome and New York since she was small.  These visions are usually accompanied by fits and fainting spells, and the fact that Haven's dad allegedly ran away a few years ago with his mistress only to die in a car wreck doesn't help her reputation in the little town.  Haven's own grandmother, along with her entire high school and the local pastor, is convinced that Haven harbors a deadly demon which will lead her to follow the avaricious, evil paths taken by her father.  The way that the town and her grandmother especially treat Haven is fairly horrible, and I would have been disgusted enough with the lot of them to put the book down had it not been for Beau, Haven's best friend.  The 'gay-friend-who-loves-fashion-and-is-a-sympathetic-fairy-godfather' stereotype is a bit of a YA cliche, but Beau was so much more unique as a character than that stereotype that I instantly loved him and completely got why he and Haven had been friends forever. 

The novel starts out fairly slow in Snope City for the first 100-150 pages but if you can keep patience with it, the story really takes off after that.  Haven ends up running away from Snope City and headed up to New York to seek out the latest incarnation of her beloved Ethan-- Iain Morrow, a rich and paparazzi-pursued New York playboy.  She also has several encounters with the mysterious and corrupt Ouroboros Society-- a group whose ranks are filled by people who like Haven have lived many times before--, including a charming, yet sinister, man who may well be Chaos (or the Devil, call it whatever you like) himself.  The Ouroboros Society's world is so intriguing and complex, making me wish there was a sequel where we could learn more about their wicked ways and circle of fear and endless 'favors'.  The Eternal Ones bills itself as a romance, but honestly I didn't enjoy it for the romance.  Iain wasn't even one of my favorite characters-- I never trusted him much after Haven stumbles upon the rumors that he was in fact the one to kill her in her most recent past life.  Short chapters and relatively fast pacing make this book seem much shorter than its 400+ pages.  Altogether, I pretty much loved it.

Cover: 4/5 (I love the Ouroboros symbol) 
Premise: 5/5 
Characters: 4/5 
Plot: 4/5 
Overall Rating: 4/5


Melissa (i swim for oceans) said...

I can't believe I've yet to read this one! I think that the premise (though perhaps not the most original) sounds really interesting. Fabulous review, as usual, Kat! :)

Jenny said...

Spectacular review Kat, very in-depth and thorough! I enjoyed this one as well though Haven's penchant for believing what anyone told her irritated me a bit. I thought it was a fast read like you said and I'm definitely going to pick up book 2:)

Alyssa said...

Thanks for the review!

Christina / Book Addict said...

Great review! I've had my eye on this one for sometime now and your review has me excited for it. I will have to check it out!

Kayla said...

I'm glad you liked it! I have it sitting on my shelf right now waiting to be read, and now I'm a little more excited to get into it.


Kat said...

@Melissa- Thanks! I love it when authors can put a new and fantastic spin on an over-used concept.

@Jenny- Agreed! I hope book 2 has more of Beau and the Ouroboros Society, and less of Haven trying to make up her mind. :)

@Christina and Kayla-- I hope you both enjoy the book! :)

Nic @ Irresistible Reads said...

I was thinking about getting this one but now I definitely will. Great review :)

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