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REVIEW: The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller

Dear Ms. Miller,

Being a part of what has become known as ‘The Penguin Five’ must build a lot of pressure on you.   The Penguin Five are being shopped as some of the best releases to come from Penguin’s various imprints in the next five months, and your book is the leader of the pack.   It’s also the start of a new YA paranormal romance series.   Ever since I heard about The Penguin Five, The Eternal Ones has been on my radar as a reader.   Reincarnation and finding lost love?   It’s my kind of plot, and I feel like you do a fair job of it.

The Eternal Ones by Kristen MillerHaven Moore has lived in Scope City all of her life.   Her grandmother, Imogene, is a religious zealot, and her mother is a doormat.   Ever resourceful, Haven manages to bring some life and rebellion to her life in the extremely conservative area of Scope City by designing and making prom dresses with her best friend, Beau.   Haven and Beau have been outsiders from the beginning – Haven for having strange visions of a girl named Constance from 1920′s New York City, and Beau for being gay.   They are a motley duo that everyone else ignores.   Haven’s visions stopped soon after the death of her father and his supposed mistress, Veronica, years before.

With her 18th birthday less than a year away, Haven is ready to leave Scope City, and the clutches of her powerful grandmother, forever.   But then she gets a vision.   One of the boy who makes her knees weak.   Who fills her with the overpowering feeling of love.   Ethan Evans.   He’s clutching Constance, and it starts a chain of events that slowly tears at her life in Scope City.   Beau is by her side, but Haven soon finds more resistance than ever.   She can no longer go to school, and her grandmother is convinced she’s possessed by the devil.   The discovery of a box of written conversations between her and her father leads her to think otherwise.   Even as a toddler she had mentioned Ethan Evans, and his life with her past life, Constance.   With a mention of a society advocating Reincarnation – the Ouroboros Society – Haven sneaks off to New York City, leaving the world of Scopes behind.

New York fascinates Haven, but her real goal is to meet millionaire playboy Iain Morrow.   Ever since she saw his picture on the television, she felt connected to him.   It would only be natural to suspect HE used to be Ethan Evans, just as she used to be Constance.   But the move to New York brings other issues onto Haven.   The possibility that her relationship with Ethan in all of his past lives has been a lie.   Not only this, but the Ouroboros Society feels that she may be an asset, and will do anything to get her to join.   Especially with the information she has concerning her past lover, Ethan.

The Eternal Ones is a strong debut that manages to be consistently good in pretty much every area possible.

If there is one part of the novel I liked overall, it’s Haven Moore.   For a main character that could have gone so wrong, she (usually) went right.   She could have easily been a doormat or a character with no personality like some young adult paranormals.   Instead, Haven is a spunky character who knows what she wants but manages to be resourceful about how she gets it.   From the beginning of the book, Haven is mature and hardworking; starting her own dress making business and saving up the money to go to design school.   She knows how to use her talents.   Whenever she gets a whiff of trust issues, she isn’t afraid to get her information.   She has some relationship ignorance, but has a lot more brains than not.     Haven also had actual skills and hobbies.   Like her dress making.   It made her more interesting, but it didn’t seem tired or cliche.

Iain Morrow, however, was not as easy for me to like.   Well I enjoyed his romantic side and the way he could easily make things seem better, I felt like his dishonesty with Haven was a little rotten and odd, considering they both felt comfortable right away because of their history as lovers through the ages.   Protection of the Ouroboros Society and its secrets was an understandable reason, and he did it all for the good of Haven, but I felt like he lied more than was necessary to the relationship.

Secondary characters worked a lot better for me.   Haven’s best friend, Beau, was probably one of my favorites.   He is a major gay character that has some issues of his own, but still helps Haven keep on track and offers some common sense along the way like a real friend would.   While there was some issue with his sexuality and their home town, your attitude towards Beau was very genre-fiction in tone.   He didn’t question it, and he was fine with who he was.   I would have liked to see him with some type of romance himself, but overall he was written very well.   Grandmother Imogene was also really fleshed out, with equal parts zealot and concerned grandmother thrown in.   She reminded me of the grandmother from Flowers in the Attic with her religious obsession, but she wasn’t creepy so much as tortured.   It worked well, and gave the book an interesting dynamic.

Your writing worked well enough for what the book is.   There wasn’t anything obviously compelling about the voice or narrative, but it still manages to pull the reader in.   What some writers would have turned into a pretty average read, you turned into something that must be finished as soon as possible.   Some spots still managed to lag, and I felt like the constant cycle of Iain lying, Haven finding out, Iain apologizing and giving some reason, and the two of them making up, was wearing thin.   The end of the book hyped up the suspense considerably, though, and kept me interested.   I also liked the questions it brings up regarding the feelings of true, soul-mate inspired love, and how honesty can affect a relationship. It also ended solidly enough for the reader to stop if they didn’t want to continue the series, which will attract some readers.

The Eternal Ones, while not perfect, is a step above the average teen paranormal read.   The characters are vibrant and interesting, and the relationship and writing bring on some interesting themes to contemplate.   It’s compelling and the plot is frothy and managed to exceed my expectations.   Fans of paranormal romance will be interested in picking this one up.   B

All the best,

John

Book Link | Kindle | Amazon | nook | BN | Borders
| Sony

Ever since a good friend brought him a copy of Johanna Lindsey's Gentle Rogue, he has been hooked on the romance genre. Though he primarily reads in young-adult, he loves to spend time with paranormal, historical, and contemporary adult titles in-between books. Now, he finds himself juggling book reviews, school band, writing, and finding time to add to his TBR pile.

6 Comments

  1. Jennie
    Aug 30, 2010 @ 14:51:53

    The Penguin Five? What is that? All paranormal young adult novels?

    ReplyReply

  2. John
    Aug 30, 2010 @ 15:38:44

    @Jennie: The Penguin Five is a group of five novels coming from Penguin’s various teen imprints from August to December (one released each month) that Penguin believes will be quite successful and appeal to many readers.

    Of the five, The Eternal Ones is marketed as more a straight up romance, but it’s obviously paranormal. September’s release is The Replacement (Horror/Romance), October’s is Nightshade (Paranormal Romance), November’s is Matched (Dystopian/Romance), and December’s is Saphique (Fantasy, sequel to Incarceron).

    They are doing huge marketing campaigns promoting ‘The Penguin Five’, and you’ll more often than not see magazine adds and online adds promoting several of these titles together.

    ReplyReply

  3. Rowena
    Aug 30, 2010 @ 16:51:20

    Thanks for the review John, this is on my list of books to read soon!

    ReplyReply

  4. Missie
    Aug 31, 2010 @ 10:14:05

    I recently read and reviewed this book, and am surprised to learn that it will be a series. I like the book well enough, but it kind of seemed like Iain and Haven’s story was over. Will the series pick up with an exploration of other character with past lives? If so, it would be interesting to read Beau’s tale.

    As for TEO, you’re right, the cycle of lying and then making up with Iain and Haven did wear thin, but it a way it was also funny. She let herself get so convinced that he was a bad guy, but then gave in to him so easily at the end of the day.

    The one thing that really bothered me was the Adam character. I didn’t like that we were left clueless as to what he actually is. The story was about reincarnation, but with Adam, he is something different. And it didn’t satisfy me that he just agreed to be called the devil, because that seemed like a shrug off way to explain him.

    It just didn’t make sense. If Ethan/Iain’s gift was his memory, then why in the world would he let Haven anywhere near Adam? Why wouldn’t he warn her against him? Especially if Adam hasn’t changed forms, and with Haven mentioning that Adam flickered or something, like a hologram, it just puzzled me more. It just seemed like Iain should have been hyper aware of Adam as a threat.

    Iain, as a male lead, just disappointed me. I liked him, but he hadn’t learned anything from his past lives! Obviously, honesty could have saved Haven and him a lot of trouble, and I get that he was trying to protect her, and of course there has to be some type of story to tell, but he just didn’t seem like he was playing anything smart or safe.

    He did take the time to explain a lot to her, so why not take the extra few steps?

    You’re take on Haven is different than mine, but I can see a lot of your points. Thanks for taking the time to explain!

    ReplyReply

  5. Angela
    Aug 31, 2010 @ 19:53:34

    I had this book on my possible list. Great review! I’ll now definitely be adding it to my TBB list.

    ReplyReply

  6. hahaa
    May 03, 2013 @ 22:45:49

    SPOILERS Honestly, I stopped at the point where Adam announced that he was the devil. -_- (BTW you see the irony in his name and what he’s supposedly is? haha Adam, the devil jeez….) I mean the first part of the book deals with Haven supposedly possessed by the devil and then it turns out the devil’s in love with her? gosh. A little much to take in? and the idea was just so weird, I stopped reading. But I think the book really drew me in. Lots of suspense. It was a good book, as long as you have no qualms about some inappropriate stuff and weird concepts -_-

    ReplyReply

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