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Synopsis: From Amazon
Haven Moore has always known she's different: there are the talents that can't be explained; the knowledge of places she's never been; and then there are the visions that overwhelm her - terrifying visions of a life that ended tragically two decades earlier and more than a thousand miles away in New York City. The citizens of Haven's rural, highly religious community, believe that she's been possessed by a demon. But this is no demon: it's reincarnation. Haven journeys all the way to Manhattan in search of clues about her past life and a decades-old murder. One wrong move could lead her into the clutches of the sinister villain at the center of a conspiracy much larger than she could have ever imagined. But if she makes the right choices, Haven will find the answers she's been seeking her entire life. This is an epic and thrilling romance set in the snake-handling churches of Appalachia, the dusty ruins of ancient Rome, and the grand mansions of Manhattan. The Eternal Ones tells the story of the first battle in a war between undying love and eternal evil.
Before I start my review I have to tell you that I completely adore the whole premise of reincarnation and soul-mates; so for me I was swayed by the synopsis before I started reading it.
Written in 3rd person narrative but mainly focalized from Haven's perspective. The narrator is a subtle presence guiding the reader through the intricacies of the plot and keeping control over the weaving of past and present action together.
Haven is an outsider even in her own home. Her defences are high and understandably so. At first I had difficulty picturing her as her current self as there were so many images of her previous incarnations taking precedence within my imagination. At times Haven's pessimism can be very annoying especially with regards to Iain/Ethan; I wanted to literally shake her for causing more problems due to her lack of faith in him.
The way in which different religious points of view were shown within the narrative was ingenious giving a well rounded plot. The vast contrast between the description of the churches within Haven's home town reflecting its parishioners and their true beliefs or lack there of. The portrayal of the church services showed how religion can be manipulated in order to control or isolate individuals. Especially the use of 'everyone is a sinner' preaching, it makes me want to get on my soapbox and rant. The bible quotes really reinforced the storyline. The description of Haven's condemnation by her local community and more importantly her Grandmother for her visions was brutal and haunting in the imagination. Connections within different religions proved a nice comparison with how the world actually is and how it should be.
The storyline and plot were so compelling I literally had to force myself to put the book down in order to get some sleep.
Plot teasers are placed throughout like puzzle pieces to be slotted together. Suspicions given validity as the story developed. Some aspects of Haven's vision were a bit confusing to begin with until they were put into context later in the action. The paranormal/supernatural woven together with religion was fascinating; I particularly liked the reference to the Devil being on earth based in NYC, swaying the balance of good and evil using temptation to tip the scales. Confirmation of this reference becomes apparent later in the book. The imagery depicted via the paintings was amazing; the dark figure symbolising the devil watching as the evil he has orchestrated comes into fruition; strengthening the plot.
Iain/Ethan balanced Haven's personality perfectly and I could definitely picture them as soul-mates, 2 sides of the same coin if you will. Were as Haven is impulsive and pessimistic, Iain/Ethan was calm, optimistic and logical. The narrative showed that it does not matter what you look like on the outside but what you have on the inside is what makes a person beautiful or ugly.
I have to say that I completely adored Beau as Haven's best friend and was unbelievably disappointed that he was gay. I adored how self assured and comfortable he was with himself. Yet his inability to move on with his life provided an additional sub-plot within the story. The bond of friendship he had with Haven was amazing and awe inspiring. I think Beau is a major player in this series and am looking forward to seeing a lot more of him in future books.
The writing style throughout is so wonderfully descriptive and sensory with everything from the sensual feel of fabric to the sights and sounds of Rome. Pieces of history woven into the description added depth to the imagery.
How can I sum up: For me this book had everything and more: action, adventure, romance, friendship, reincarnation, soul-mates plus a battle of good versus evil. What more could I ask for. I only have one complaint.......why is it sooooo long before the next installment is published??????
The Eternal Ones is the first book in a by Kirsten Miller. It was published on 19th August by Puffin and the book is 416 pages long.
Haven Moore has always been different from everyone else she has ever known. At an early age, she began to talk about a place that she had never been to and a man she had never met. She has skills and talents that she never trained to learn. She also has visions of a completely different life and these visions cause her to black out. In the town where Haven lives, everyone is extremely religious and truly believe that her visions are a form of being possessed by a demon.
Haven's visions are the result of reincarnation. The visions take Haven on a journey to New York, a place she can remember vividly to find Ethan, who now lives in the form of movie star Iain Morrow, the man from her past. Haven has to figure out who she really is and why she is so drawn to a man she has never met. Can she really trust what her heart is telling her or will she end up trusting the wrong man? One wrong move could land Haven in a serious amount of danger and a feud that has been going on for centuries.
What I thought
First off, a big thanks to Becky for giving me this book when we met at an OUP event in London. I had been dying to read it since I heard about it and had read so many good reviews for it. Even though my to be read pile is massive at the minute, I pushed this one up near the top as I had already waited a long time to read it.
Haven was such an annoying protagonist. She had me in two minds throughout the whole book. What bugged me the most about her was how indecisive she was. One minute she was completely in love with Iain and in the next, she didn't trust him at all and went ahead to believe the worst possible things about him. Yes, she was somewhat sensible being guarded and trying to make rational decisions about what was going on around her. I did understand that she didn't want to fully commit herself to Iain until she had answers to some serious questions and that maybe diving straight into a relationship with someone she could only half remember would have been incredibly stupid. The rationality behind her choices was what had me torn as to how I felt but in the end, the constant changing was just too much for me.
Iain wasn't actually in the story all that much. There wasn't enough characterisation for me to make a decision about him one way or another. Going back to Haven's split decisions about him, I ended up feeling the same way. I didn't get to see enough of him on his own or with Haven for me to choose between him being the good guy or him being a complete liar and a creep. If I do read the next book in this series, I hope that he will feature a lot more so that I can find out what kind of a man he really is. I get the feeling that he is really the good guy but I fail to see proof of this as of yet.
Considering Haven had been thinking about Ethan/ Iain for most of her life, the passion that should have been there wasn't. There were a few moments where Kirsten Miller got my hopes up for something special but they were quickly squished and everything went back to being bland again. I think for me, a tale of a never-ending relationship, a tale of a love that will last forever should be passionate and exciting, especially if you can't remember all of the details of the past. This may be something that is expanded upon in future books but for The Eternal Ones, this department was extremely lacking.
The beginning of the story was drawn out too much for my liking. It is nice to know about a protagonist's history and their life, giving the opportunity to really get to know them but in Haven's case, this wasn't exactly what happened. A lot of the beginning of the book is about Haven's visions and the people of the town in which she lives. There is a lot about religion here and this was part of the reason why I didn't like it. I don't think that this much time was needed to explain that everyone thought Haven was possessed by a demon. The time could have been put to a much better use by sending Haven to New York earlier and to have seen her have more time with Iain.
Something that I did really enjoy was learning about The Ouroboros Society, a society that helps people like Haven, people who have experienced reincarnation. There is a quite a lot of the history of the society explained and getting to learn about its past and present members was one of my favourite aspects of the book. A lot was covered about The Ouroboros Society and while I loved these parts, again, I think the time could have been put to better use. I always think that the first book in a series should be about setting the scene for the characters and really getting to know them, rather than focus on something else and end up not caring about the people you should.
Unfortunately, there just wasn't enough in this book for me to love. There were hints that it could be fantastic but most of it wasn't original enough or believable enough, especially in the romance department. If I happen to acquire the sequel when it comes out, I will read it in the hopes that the story and characters get better but I wont be rushing out to buy it.