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The Eterna Files: The Eterna Files #1 Hardcover – February 10, 2015
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“Hieber’s formidable imagination is given free rein in this smart, boundlessly creative gaslamp fantasy. She blends historical fact and paranormal fiction with ease, creating a world that is lush and fascinatingly strange, and reveals her secrets sparingly, keeping fans on edge for more information about these intriguingly powerful characters and the ties that bind them together. Patient readers will be well rewarded for letting this haunting novel unfold around them.”―RT Book Reviews (4 stars)
“Rich in conceits as anything from Alan Moore, Hieber’s novel mixes action and the emotional lives of its characters into a fascinating stew. Anyone who enjoyed Paul Cornell’s London Falling will certainly cozy up to Hieber’s parallel depiction of questioning savants and heroes versus the forces of anarchy and despair.”―Paul Di Filippo in Asimov’s Science Fiction
“Extremely descriptive; the supernatural plot is intriguing. The author has offered up a rainbow of characters, from the guilt-ridden to the intellectual to the satirical, which will have readers chomping at the bit for more.”―Suspense Magazine
“The alternating plotlines seem equally urgent, riddled by murders and bearing the taint of madness. Both settings take the time to introduce a fascinating array of offbeat characters (many but not all Gifted): circus performers, a few surprisingly sane politicians, strong-willed women, and male sensitives. Quests to find ways around death – whether to renew life, or find new ways to kill – keep getting stymied.”―Locus
“Excellent first installment in a unique new series. Hieber expertly blends intriguing supernatural elements and interesting, quirky characters in an authentic historical setting. Readers who enjoy a skillful mixture of history and paranormal elements will be well-pleased with the terrific The Eterna Files.”―Bitten By Books
“Hieber’s alternate history/steampunk world is well drawn, and her characters, though numerous, are fully realized.”―Historical Novel Society
About the Author
LEANNA RENEE HIEBER's first novel, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, won two Prism Awards from RWA's Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal Chapter: Best Fantasy Romance and Best First Novel and is currently in development as a Broadway musical, with Hieber writing the script. Her YA novel, Darker Still, was a Scholastic Highly Recommended Title, an INDIE NEXT selection, and a finalist for the Daphne du Maurier Award.
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The Americans are headed up by the feisty medium Clara Templeton who faces the loss of her lover among the other various quandaries. She must navigate the pitfalls of politics along with the apparent loss of her fiance, Louis Dupris, the man that could have held the key to solving the mysterious Eterna equation.
Across the ocean, Harold Spire, an accomplished policeman is suddenly thrust into the esoteric world of spiritualism despite his complete disregard of this new “science”. Not only must he fight with who or whatever killed the british team, but his own disbelief of the project. Can he come to grips with the eclectic nature of his team to lead them to success? If that’s not enough to handle, it soon becomes apparent that a third more sinister force has taken an interest in their research.
Leanna Renee Hieber sweeps the reader into a colorful, imaginative world of intrigue and adventure in the late 1800’s. I can’t say how deeply impressed I am the way this author can immerse the reader in the culture and fashion of the time period. Her clever use of costume and setting keeps the tone of the century and never lets up. Each team has a cast of iconic characters that are both distinctive and intriguing.
Hieber also strikes a perfect balance between the two teams leaving it completely up to the reader to pick their favorite to win the race. One moment I was cheering for Clara, the next Harold. I also loved the way she kept the cultural nuances between the Americans and English so that it was easy to distinguish between the teams.
I did find this to be a slow read due to the atmospheric nature of the writing but I can’t say that lessened my enjoyment of the story. It made for a great page turner. If I had one complaint it would be the pacing remained fairly even throughout the book. I felt like there should have been a greater sense of urgency as I got to the end but the flow remained consistent right up until the last page. Despite this I still found the book to be thoroughly enjoyable. I couldn’t recommend it any more highly.
Clara and Harold are the two main characters who learn that things are not always what they seem. Both of them want to find the Eterna compound, because there is a competition between the British and American to find it. Whoever finds this compound or creates it, will have the power over life and death. We are talking about things that people should not play with. Both Clara and Harold have challenges to accomplish their missions/goals. Clara and Harold have different goals in mind when it comes to finding Eterna, not realizing that their is a third player who wants it for nefarious purposes.
I really found that Clara was an interesting heroine because she has lost a lot in the search for this compound. Plus Clara friends are interesting as well because they all have gifts/skills that are important. These skills are important to find clues. Plus their are ghosts who come into the story. The ghosts find ways to contact both Clara and Rose Everhart in different ways. Also the fact that there seems to be a hidden agenda among both the American and British Government. I also like the scenery of New York and how it’s incorporated. (RN: Being a native new yorker, I really like that some of the scenery are places that I walk along, so in the 1880’s everything looked very different)
The pacing of this book was very good as well. We learn that Harold and his team have been misled as well in what Eterna really is. No one really seems to know much. Yet there are clues. Some clues are very easy to uncover. There is something much bigger going on. Yet we don’t know what that is exactly. I like that there is a mystery and that both the Americans and British want Eterna, but it may lead to something even more dangerous and dark and sinister.
This book leaves off with such a stunning cliffhanger. I can’t even say much because it was so unexpected. The twists and turns were interesting because they were done in a way that made you think we are only at the beginning of this story. Yet there is something happening. Plus I like that some of the authors other characters from her other books made some appearances.
A very good start to what looks like a promising series.
Rating: 4 Hearts