Title: The Eternity Cure
Author: Julie Kagawa
No. of Pages: 448
Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Bottom Line: Amazing sequel that leaves a reader begging for the third novel
“In Allison Sekemoto’s world, there is one rule left:Blood calls to bloodShe has done the unthinkable: died so that she might continue to live. Cast out of Eden and separated from the boy she dared to love, Allie will follow the call of blood to save her creator, Kanin, from the psychotic vampire Sarren. But when the trail leads to Allie’s birthplace in New Covington, what Allie finds there will change the world forever-and possibly end human and vampire existence.There’s a new plague on the rise, a strain of the Red Lung virus that wiped out most of humanity generations ago-and this strain is deadly to humans and vampires alike. The only hope for a cure lies in the secrets Kanin carries, if Allie can get to him in time.Allison thought that immortality was forever. But now, with eternity itself hanging in the balance, the lines between human and monster will blur even further, and Allie must face another choice she could never have imagined having to make.”
Thoughts: When readers last saw Allie Sekemoto, she had been forced out of Eden and was on her own as she made good on her decision to rescue her creator. Julie Kagawa’s second novel in the Blood of Eden series, The Eternity Cure, opens up several months after her departure from Eden. Still alone, she has spent the time following the pull of her sire’s blood as she attempts to rescue him before he goes insane from the torture he faces at the hand of Sarren. Immediately, a reader senses that Allie has had to grow up while alone. Gone is the fragility that used to lay hidden beneath her tough exterior. Together with the most unlikely of allies, Allie must now use her new-found hardness to combat a new threat to her existence – a mutated version of the very same plague that wiped out most of humankind but which now attacks vampires as well.
Whether one likes monster stories or not, the fact remains that Ms. Kagawa knows how to write a story. Her world-building is excellent. While her stories may take place in mythical worlds, she portrays the fantasy in such a realistic way that it is easy to forget that it is fictional, as she takes care to attend to the smallest detail. Moreover, she balances action with establishing her characters, never allowing the pace to slacken but taking the time to allow readers to know and understand her characters. Most importantly, however, is the fact that she always manages to hold back a few key details and spring them on a reader at the most unexpected times. Her use of red herrings and other distractions ensure that she surprises a reader with at least something in each of her novels, whether it is related to a particular character or thread of the plot. The net sum of all of this is that each of Ms. Kagawa’s novels are rich in detail, fast-paced, action-packed as well as character-driven, and ultimately highly entertaining.
She also excels at highlighting the very blurry line between good and bad. Fey or vampire, there exists an essence of humanity in all of her characters, even the most depraved of them. In the first novel, both Kanin and Allie establish themselves as strong humanists, using their supernatural powers to help the weaker and imperiled human race. The Eternity Cure’s surprising humanist is Jackal, the most least likely of all of Allie’s acquaintances, made more so due to the fact that he was her main foe in the first novel. In this second novel, Jackal remains ruthless, ambitious, and self-serving, and readers know that he is fundamentally one of the “bad guys”. Yet, his actions prove there is more to him than his outward appearance, and one knows without a doubt that he will play a key role in Allie’s eventual success at tracking down a cure and/or killing Sarren. For now, he provides an entertaining counterpoint to the saccharine sweetness of Allie and Zeke’s relationship and Kanin’s moroseness.
Allie remains a strong and likeable character. Her determination to help others at her expense puts her at odds with her upbringing and with her world at large, but everyone loves a rebel. In addition, there are hints that Allie is going to be one strong vampire, if she can ever fully accept her new life. Much is made of her ability to have survived a direct confrontation with Sarren, while Jackal loves to point out that she identifies too strongly with the humans. There is a balance there that remains to be seen, and one instinctively knows that Allie is going to be quite formidable when she finally manages to accomplish it. For now, readers will have to enjoy this slow build of potential and hypothesize on its eventual outcome.
Ms. Kagawa does not typically use a cliffhanger to end her novels, but be warned that The Eternity Cure does contain one. As one would expect by anything Ms. Kagawa writes, this cliffhanger accomplishes everything it is supposed to accomplish. It not only leaves readers gasping for more, it sets the stage for the future showdown between Allie and Sarren. Twitter has already been full of chatter about the ending, its twists, and the length of time it will be before readers receive their much-needed resolution. It is the best type of teaser ending, even if it does make the wait time between the second and third novels seem interminable.
The Eternity Cure is a very strong follow-up to the first book in the Blood of Eden series, in no way succumbing to the dreaded middle-story letdown. With its torture scenes and violent, gruesome battle scenes, the story moves to the very edge of the young adult realm and even crosses over into the horror genre. The decisions Allie must make are increasingly adult, and she shows a maturity that was not seen in the first novel. Likewise, the story itself is intense. The short time frame of the novel guarantees a fast-paced, action-packed plot that ratchets up the tension and anticipation, while its surprising ending is going to leave many a reader begging for closure. If Allie’s continued growth and the strength of The Eternity Cure are any indication, the wait for the final book readers must face will be worthwhile.