Wednesday, January 9, 2013

REVIEW: The Eternal Ones

Miller, K.  (2010).  The Eternal Ones.  New York:  Razorbill.

411 pages.

Appetizer:  Seventeen-year-old Haven Moore is haunted by dreams and memories of another life, of a girl named Constance who loved a boy named Ethan.  While watching TV with her uber-religious and controlling grandmother, Haven happens to see a celebrity gossip report of a rich playboy named Iain.  She faints at the sight of him, certain that she is the love she lost in the 1920s.

Haven's grandmother conspires to prevent her granddaughter from travelling to New York City, the scene of all her memories.  As her grandmother's religious overtures grow more intense and as Haven becomes more and more ostracized by the other students in her small town in Tennessee, her only means of escape to New York may include a strange society that is focused on helping people who believe they have been reincarnated.

But, even after Haven does escape to New York City, she learns that everything may not be as they appear and that the love she has trusted through multiple lives may be her greatest betrayer...time and time again.

I really liked the idea of The Eternal Ones, but the execution of the story left a lot to be desired.  Plus, despite liking this initial premise of finding a love from a previous life and trying to find him, I realized that it had already been used previously.  Dead Again is a movie from over 20 years ago and it does a much better job of establishing a mystery...if you can manage to look beyond all of the early 1990's styles:

The novel felt like a rough draft for a great mystery.  It felt like all the ingredients to a recipe had been thrown into a bowl, but very little mixing had taken place.  Plus, the story should have been tightened (say to 280 or 300 pages instead of 411 pages).  The Eternal Ones spent way too much time in Snope City with Haven being bullied by various characters.  As I read the first 120-ish pages, I thought the book would appeal much more if the novel opened with Haven arriving in New York. Let her past and purpose be a mystery to be unraveled as the reader gets further into the story, as opposed to having to witness Haven faint many times and go back and forth about deciding to leave or not leave.  Ugh.

As a character, there was nothing really striking or engaging about Haven's love interest, Iain/Ethan.  In fact, after he meets Haven, I almost immediately started to dislike him.  Gentlemen of the world pay attention:  If you want to turn-off a girl and send her running, be sure to refer to other girls as "props" (p. 163), and make her feel as though you're ordering her around (p. 179).  So unsexy.

Dinner Conversation:

"Haven was back.  She glanced across the familiar little room.  Silver clouds hovered over the skylight high above a rumpled bed.  A candle sat on the edge of the vanity, waiting for her sun's weak rays to finally fade.  Her gaze returned to the mirror in front of her.  She smoothed a strand of her blonde bob and tucked it behind one ear.  The reflection in the mirror wasn't hers, but she knew it as well as her own." (p. 3)

"Haven Moore stood on top of the footstool, gazing out the open window in front of her and willing herself not to fidget.  Over the winter, the anticipation had been building inside of her.  Once the weather turned warm, she found herself unable to sleep or stay still.  It felt as if every cell in her body were dancing.
Beyond the tall mountains that surrounded Snope City, something was waiting for her" (p. 5).

"Haven's eyes glanced up at the action.  A tan, handsome young man slid out of a black Mercedes as camera flashes sparkled in the car's windshield.  For a moment, he stared back at the paparazzi, his face dark and unreadable.  Then, unexpectedly, a corner of his mouth curled into a grin.
"Ethan," Haven whispered.  A blaze ignited at the tips of her toes.  As it began to burn its way upward, Haven felt her knees buckle beneath her." (p. 8)

"Suddenly she was no longer just Haven Jane Moore, daughter of Ernest and Mae.  If the notes were to be believed, she had once been someone else.  A girl named Constance.  And her visions weren't fantasies or hallucinations.  They were scenes from a past that was every bit as real as the present." (p. 43)

"'Well, I think I might be having the visions for a reason.  I'm pretty sure I'm supposed to find Ethan.  That's what I told my dad when I was little.'
"Ethan?  You think he's still around?  Wouldn't he be awfully old for you by now? I mean, even if he is real, at the very least he'd be pushing a hundred and ten--"
Haven cut him off.  "I had another vision last night.  There was a fire.  That's how Constance died.  I think it killed Ethan, too.  And I think he's been reborn, just like me.  I have to find him, Beau.  And you have to help me.  I can't explain how, but I know he's out there." (p. 53)

Tasty Rating:  !!

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