Monday, 22 November 2010

Review - The Eternal Ones / Kirsten Miller

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. Goodreads.

Review - While Miller has the technical writing skills and a brilliant premise for a young adult novel, that's where my appreciation ends.  The Eternal Ones was an emotionally devoid creation piggybacking on the the young reading set's appetite for paranormal romances.

The  premise of two souls continually being reincarnated over time is splendid and oh so romantic.  Haven (horrid name) has gravitated towards New York and 'Ethan' since childhood.  This longing is the only way that Miller establishes the bond these two have for one another, that and the need to immediately have intercourse.  The lack of development between these two is astonishing and yet the pull towards this guy (Ethan/Iain) is supposed to be overriding.  He had money, prestige and good looks but that's about it.  He's not charming or truthful so I don't really see the attraction.  Additionally both characters have an appalling lack of common sense for individuals that have apparently lived many lives.  Between them they could possibly have the equivalent of Paris Hilton's IQ.  The emotional pull that is supposed to sustain the plot and motive the characters is non-existent.  Chalk is more romantic.  Sardines are sexier.  And I would sooner marry Larry King.

As for the intrigue of the Ouroboros Society and the role of many characters that fluttering around the dull duo it worked.  To a small degree.  It was overly reliant on the Haven character being spectacularly stupid and/or forgiving for it to play out as it did.  It was clunky and ricocheted poorly off the love connection.  But ultimately I was more interested in seeing them off Haven than the dull duo being reunited in the bonds of true love.

What is most concerning is the lack of emotional heart in this book.  It feels as though the author has overworked her creation to the point that it has become fragmented.  So many things slightly miss the mark that the book feels underwhelming.  So attached to the intrigue and romance is Miller that she forgets to give Haven more teenage introspection.  She has a relationship with a liar who seduces her and it is the first point that sticks in her craw.  The fact that she lost her virginity to this dubious guy is never really broached.  Instead we are constantly hearing the protagonist parroting the character she has most recently spoken to as the truth.  The character is without integrity or heart.  Or a brain.


Published: August 2010
Format: Hardcover, 416 pages
Publisher: Razorbill
Source: Penguin UK / Penguin USA
Origin: USA

** I would also like to question the author's and publishers need to continue this journey with a sequel.  Completely and utterly unnecessary.


Megan Burke said...

woah, that was really harsh, esp the last bit.

while it certaintly wasn't the best thing since sliced bread i didn't think it was *that* bad...

Missie, The Unread Reader said...

I completely agree. What could the sequel possibly bring that wouldn't bore me to tears?

Splendibird said...

Great review. I enjoyed this one as a holiday read, but agree with many of the points that you have made. There is certainly a distinct lack of chemistry between the two love birds. Your last line made me think that perhaps the sequel could involve a visit to Oz... couldn't hurt.

Meg @ write meg! said...

The premise is interesting, but I'm definitely staying far away from this one after your review! It gave me flashbacks to how much I hated Evermore, which felt like nothing more than a Twilight rip-off to me.

Emma (the Expat) said...

OH MY GOD I'm so excited that you read this. Ahem.

Emma (the Expat) said...

I have to agree with you on a lot of things in this review. I really hate to agree with you on this book, though. I LOVE Kirsten Miller and I love Kiki Strike. But although this book has some great elements to it (I did really love the first part, and I enjoyed the end), you're right on so many counts. The under-developed relationship, the virginity thing, the way she kept switching around. You've said all the things I didn't want to say about this book. Thank you!

Anne@HeadFullofBooks said...

Guess I will skip this one. Thanks for the heads up!

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with this review. I found this to be well written, but short on plot, characterization, and any sort of real emotion. It also had the same plot as another YA series I really disliked - I don't remember the title of the first book, but the second was Blue Moon.

I think her Kiki Strike books are great, though. (I couldn't believe this book was written by the same author as those.) If you haven't read them, you absolutely should.

Midnyte Reader said...

Your review made me laugh!

Anonymous said...

I was seriously starting to think I was the only person that on the planet that didn't swoon over this story. I was so excited to get it, but just like you felt - it was so flat. No emtional pull at all and I just didn't understand the appeal of Ethan - like you said, no charm at all. Gah! Thanks for such an honest review, and for making me feel a little less crazy for not liking this book at all.

Tez Miller said...

This may be way I stay away from most YA paranormals. Either one or both of the couple tends to be a stalker/douchebag/eejit.

I do still read some YA paranormals. But I do wish there weren't romances in them, because I just can't relate to them.

Adele said...

Megan - If I don't believe the first title is compelling it seems pretty logical that I would feel a sequel is unnecessary. There wasn't enough propulsion forward to interest me.

Splendidbird - perhaps they were once star crossed convict lovers sailing to Tasmania? I would actually be eager to read more of their past life adventures if the depiction of them in this title was better.

Meg - I read Evermore but chose not to continue as I found it uninspiring. Did it get better?

Beth - Thanks. It had a lot of potential and is probably why I was more critical. I was enormously disappointed that it didn't live up to what it could have been.

Midnyte - thanks....I think :)

Megan H-S - The flatness was frustrating and you're not crazy. or if you are, than I am too!

Tez - I think we are sharing the same boat of thought :)

Anonymous said...

Don't pooh-pooh the sequel. It will presumably be about what the book should have focused on to begin with (IMO, because I'm never much for romance).