Review: The Eternal Ones by Kristen Miller

Filed in Kirsten Miller , Review , The Smutty Lover Posted on October 15, 2010 @ 10:00 am 4 comments

Format Read: Print Book
Number of Pages: 416 pages
Release: Date: August 10, 2010
Publisher: Razorbill
Formats Available: Hardcover, Paperback, Ebook
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Book Depository UK, Book Depository US

Book Blurb:

What if love refused to die?

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 Thoughts:

Haven Moore has always lived with strange visions and dreams of a past life as a young woman called Constance in 1920’s New York, that constantly haunts and scares her. This strange occurrences does not help with the fact that she is also living with her ultra religious grandmother who feels that she is being attacked by demons. And the fact that she is an outcast among her school peers who have derided and look upon her with suspicion. Only her best friend Beau, who is also an outcast due to being gay in a religious rural small town is her lifeline from being completely lonely.

So she starts to suppress these visions until one day, she catches sight of a very familiar face on television which rekindles her visions with a vengeance, that sets her on a path to go to New York city to rediscover an age old love and danger.
I was really intrigued by the cover and the premise of reincarnation, which is a trope that can really work or fail for me. But in The Eternal Ones – it was a strong core element albeit not a unique trope. I really liked how the concepts played out and how it related to the characters, especially with Haven’s character development. I also loved the descriptions of her past life setting and how that interrelated with the current events in Haven’s life in the book, which for The Eternal Ones was a major theme. Although this approach was not a unique premise – I thought it truly added an epic weight for the love story between Haven and Iain and their past lives and love story they shared with each other.
I really enjoyed Haven’s character, especially in the first half of the book. I loved how free spirited and independent she was, despite the problems she was facing and I really liked how she would have little rebellions against her authoritarian grandmother and did not let the fact that being an outcast affect her.
Her relationship with her best friend Beau also added to her character as well as his and I liked the fact that as a football player was also a business partner in Haven’s dressmaking business. Their friendship and how it develops in the book, for me was a highlight of the book.
But the plot doesn’t really get going until Haven leaves for New York to discover the mysteries of her visions/past life and to try to meet the mysterious Ethan, who has haunted her dreams for so many years. She also discovers a group called the Ouroboros Society dedicated to reincarnation and welcomes members who have had past lives. Yet when she she spots popular movie star Iain Morrow on television she recognises him as Ethan in this incarnation.
Now I am in two minds about this aspect of the book, I couldn’t really understand or get how she would recognise her soul-mate/past lover from television, especially adding the fact he was a superstar and my suspension of belief was being stretched at this point. But as the story progressed with Haven’s past incarnation, as Constance and her tragic love for Ethan was enfolding via visions and dreams alongside with her first encounter and tentative romance with Iain (which I have to say was a pretty hot reunion) I really felt that the elements started to gel into a really engrossing story.
However, I did get pretty frustrated with Haven’s mistrust of Iain, who later appears to be hiding things from her and with her past life memories hinting of Ethan’s betrayal towards Constance, she starts to think that Iain is dangerous. I could understand this was a great way to create tension and at the beginning it did although there was a lot of toing and froing with this plot point and I mean A LOT. One minute Haven would dismiss this fears/doubts after she discovers they were unfounded and then suddenly they would creep back up when something suspicious happens with Iain and this happens several times. It really got frustrating with this because it made Haven who was a pretty smart and capable character venture into too stupid to live moments and there was several times she did things that made me figuratively slap my palm on my forehead.
At this point I wished Haven and especially Iain talked to each other because it would have saved a lot of heartache and also the fact they didn’t seem to be listening or learning from their past lives and this is not the first time I read a book with this trope that made this plot point. But the ending and the revelations that came out salvaged this rut in the plot and saved the book for me.
This also made Iain’s character less developed than Haven’s or even Beau’s because there was so many questions and mysteries linked with him but I felt there was so much more happening with the Ouroborus Society and other characters that this wasn’t needed because there wasn’t much tension especially towards the end about his motives towards Haven. I hope in the next book his character is further developed and fleshed out from the archetypal mysterious hero which in this book, didn’t really work for me.
However despite the problematic middle with Haven’s repeated doubts and TSTL moments, was a great YA book and the start of a promising series. I really liked how the reincarnation elements intertwined with the overall plot and I am looking forward to how the loose ends ties in with the next book. I also found it refreshing from the usual YA paranormal plots of werewolves/vampires/ghosts and due to this made it stand out more from an increasingly crowded market. The Eternal Ones, is a sweeping and romantic story with historical elements that adds to a multi-layered plot, I am really looking forward to its sequel!
So if you fancy an epic love story that literally spans the ages, and I suspect that this aspect will be explored in future books with more past lives revelations, then I highly recommend you pick up The Eternal Ones.

I give The Eternal Ones 4 out of 5 bookies

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review. Ebook copy bought by myself.

About Susi

Susi is a geeky vegetarian from Gemany. She just finished university and now works as a civil engineer in steel construction. Besides her reading addiction she also knits like a maniac while listening to audiobooks. Susi also blogs at the Secret HEA Society.

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Join the Discussion
  • Danielle October 16, 2010 at 12:53 am

    See, the middle/end of the book totally clunked for me. I loved Beau and wish she'd never left him behind. I thought the small-town bigotry was fantastic.

    But the complicated 'organization' was dizzying and boring, the romance fizzled and Haven's Nancy Drew sleuthing grated.

    I *LOVED* the premise, but thought the execution could have been better.

    I also really like the front cover – very elegant.

  • Has October 16, 2010 at 11:21 am

    The cover in person is really pretty. I love the hologram and the shade of pink even though I hate pink LOL 😀

    I agree with you about the sleuthing. Although I liked the organisation aspect of the plot – I think that was a strong point of the book but plot fell into cliched pits like is he or isn't he dangerous hero.
    I suspect the next book will really focus on the society and will look at more past lives that Iain hinted of to Haven especially the Roman one with him, Adam and Haven. I also want to know WHO is Adam!
    I hope the next book focuses on that and fleshing out Iain's character and develops the romance more!

  • Jenny N. October 16, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    You know what I never knew what the symbol on the cover was until I read the book. Before I thought the snake's head was in the shape of a human with a head and its two arms.

    I agree about Haven and how she was listening to others and not trusting Iain. But Iain was pretty shady about what he was doing too. The ending concluded nicely and I'm looking forward to whats next.

  • Natasha October 17, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    Great review! I'm dying to get my hands on this book. I have bto pick it up asap! 🙂

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