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Book Cover Image: The Eternal Ones by Kirsten MillerTitle:  The Eternal Ones: What If Love Refused to Die?

Author:  Kirsten Miller

Synopsis (Courtesy of Powell’s Books): “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.”

Thoughts:  First off, I have to say that I was reading one other book about reincarnation at the same time as this one, both completely unplanned. Is it another example of a strange coincidence or something else at work? All I know is that keeping the two versions of reincarnation straight was quite the challenge after a while!

The Eternal Ones definitely presented a more romantic albeit hopeless picture of reincarnation. Yes, the idea of finding your true love generation after generation is enticing. However, the idea that one never gets a fresh start, that one is doomed to repeat the same mistakes, or at least cannot hide from the past is unsettling.

As Haven works to uncover the truth and get some answers to her mysterious dreams, the sinister undertone definitely enhanced this mystery. The addition of rather evil aspects of the story were welcome additions and helped prevent this love story from becoming too cliched. This is definitely not a traditional love story, as evidenced by the fact that the eventual reunion of the reincarnated couple is not all kisses and happily-ever-afters. In fact, the story is completely unpredictable, compelling the reader to continue on in a quest for answers.

Haven is a bit of a conundrum. At first glance, she does not appear to be the pushover that so many other young adult novels contain. She does not fall blindly into submission, doing what she is told to do but rather questions, pushes back and stands up for her rights. However, as Haven traverses New York City, coming to grips with her past, this begins to fail her. In fact, she begins to jump to conclusions, making hasty judgments and becomes easily swayed by anyone with a kind word in her direction. The end result is a heroine that is a lot smarter than she acts. This is easily attributable to her youth and inexperience, but the inconsistency of her actions is a bit bothersome.

Overall, The Eternal Ones is a smart love story with a twist. The sinister note adds to the creep factor of the past literally coming back to haunt someone. In addition, there is a wonderful circle aspect to the story, even if the overall message is rather chilling. Haven especially is quite memorable, and fans of YA will fall in love with Iain. If you are looking for a fresh look at reincarnation and all that it implies, you can’t go wrong with The Eternal Ones.

Thank you Razorbill and Penguin Young Readers Group for the opportunity to review this book!

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