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The Eternal Ones Hardcover – August 10, 2010
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Q: Where did you get the idea for The Eternal Ones? Have you always been interested in reincarnation?
A: I’ve been fascinated by reincarnation for decades. I won’t go so far as to call myself a believer, but I do think it would explain quite a few of life’s little mysteries—déjà vu, child prodigies, unusual phobias, and love at first sight to name just a few.
Haven’t you ever found yourself longing for a place you’ve never been—or drawn to people you’ve only just met? I’m pretty sure most of us have. Maybe there’s a “logical” explanation, but if so, no one’s uncovered it yet.
Q: Haven travels to many amazing places, but at heart she’s a girl from Snope City, Tennessee. Why did you decide to set part of The Eternal Ones there? What about Haven’s Southern background makes her unique?
A: I grew up in the mountains of North Carolina, just a stone’s throw from fictional Snope City, Tennessee. (I borrowed the geography of my hometown for this book, but little else. Unlike Haven, I had a fabulous childhood.) I’ve been in New York for many years now, but I remain a proud Southerner, and I’ve been hankering to set a book in the South.
I chose to make Haven Southern for one simple reason. Southern girls are tough. Even the ones with perfect nails and pretty hair. Maybe it’s the lasting influence of Scarlett O’Hara—or something they put in all that iced tea—but a Southern girl will keep fighting long after everyone else has given up and gone home. I’d like to think Haven Moore has that kind of moxie.
Q: Do you believe in love at first sight?
A: Not only do I believe in it, I’ve experienced it. Although I’m not sure about the “sight” part. For me, it was a certain accent that did the trick.
Q: You’re also the author of the acclaimed Kiki Strike series. What can fans of Kiki look forward to in The Eternal Ones?
A: The Eternal Ones is a romance, but it’s every bit as strange as the Kiki Strike books. I doubt teen and adult Kiki fans would want standard fare. And I don’t think they’d expect it from me. I’m the kind of lady who likes my romance mixed with snake handlers and sinister secret societies. The Eternal Ones is a pretty twisted tale, and I think older Kiki readers will love it.
Q: You live in Brooklyn. Does The Eternal Ones feature any of your favorite NYC haunts?
A: New York is a character in all of my novels. As far as I’m concerned, my city is the most magical place on earth. I love all the spots here that make you feel like you’re stepping back in time. Washington Square Park and the Washington Mews. The colossal apartment buildings that surround Central Park. They’ve all captured my imagination at one time or another. I’ve been getting to know Brooklyn since I moved here about a year ago. Much of the borough looks exactly as it did in the 19th century. So expect it to pop up in one of my books very soon.
Q: Who are your influences as a writer?
A: The list of authors who’ve inspired me is too long to include. But my two biggest influences have always been my parents. They’re responsible for most of my bizarre interests and crazy ideas. My mother knows the best ghost stories and will talk about reincarnation for hours. My father is an endless source of weird historical facts. So I guess you could say that my strange books are the products of both nature and nurture.
Q: What do you like about writing for teens?
A: I love that teens (and tweens in the case of Kiki Strike) aren’t afraid to show their enthusiasm. If they love a book, they really REALLY love it. And they’ll hunt you down and tell you so. (Which is great to hear when you need a little encouragement.)
Q: What would you ultimately like people to take away from their experience of reading The Eternal Ones?
A: I’m not sure there’s a moral to the story. Hopefully it will inspire a few readers to approach life with open eyes and open minds. But more than anything, I just want everyone to have a darn good time.
“Miller delivers a smart and sinister tale of romance and destiny that…elevates the supernatural romance well beyond typical fare.”
--Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Miller is adept at humorous description. Her keen eye for detail and Haven’s bold maneuvers keep the tale humming along.”
“If you are looking for a novel filled with mystery, suspense, intrigue, and romance, look no further.”
“Deeply and irresistibly romantic with twists and turns that will keep you guessing. A hauntingly beautiful novel.”
--Melissa de la Cruz, author of Blue Bloods
--Danielle Trussoni, author of Angelology
From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up–The title refers to the multiple reincarnations of personalities who can't let go of their past. As they live each life, they strive to alter events somewhat to succeed better at their goals of love, greed, or power in a future life. Haven Moore is a high school senior who has had visions of previous lives since she was a small child. Her strict, religious grandmother and guardian insists that she is possessed by demons. Haven believes she is being driven to find the current reincarnation of her true love. The teen is a fine seamstress and has saved $12,000 making prom dresses with her gay friend, Beau. As her small-town world closes in around her, she decides to make a run for it to New York City, where she has seen the love of her lives come back in the tabloids because he has been accused of murder. This novel is a mystery, a thriller, and a love story. There is also a touch of the occult via the Ouroboros Society, an organization that purports to gather members from the reincarnated of the world. The element of mystery is consistently sustained from the beginning as Haven tries to determine if the man she loves is trying to kill her. The romantic ardor is touching, with minimal allusions to sex. The story allows for a healthy dose of vicarious living through every teen girl's fantasy to run away to the big city full of exciting adventures while being caught up in the battle of good vs. evil.Meredith Toumayan, The Governor's Academy, Byfield, MA
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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I didn't fault Haven for any of the mistakes she made. I'd have made the same ones. When she didn't trust what she was being told by someone she thought she could trust it made perfect sense for her to do what she did. When she went to the Ouroboros Society, it made sense that she trust some and not others. That she was confused all the time. That she misinterpreted things. She didn't remember the past. Only when she had those past life dreams that left her in a dead faint. And they even misled her.
I think as a mystery/romance this was a great book. It had lots of twists and turns and kept me guessing right up to the very end. I had no idea who she could trust except for her friend Beau. I hated her Grandmother and hoped she'd drop dead of a heart attack or something but I guess she represents prejudice or something. Beau was a great friend and Leah was an interesting character as well. The romance between Haven and Ethan was just enough to make it believable but not over the top gushy. It's probably the fastest I've ever read a book. It was cut up into small simple chapters and the writing was simple and flowed easily into the next chapter.
I have discovered that YA books read quicker and simpler than adult books. I'm reading a mystery series and it takes me a lot longer to read those books than the YA books. And it isn't because I'm not interested. I'm very interested and am trying to find time all day to get back to my book, but the story is more complex, the characters more complex and the wording. I just never noticed until I started reading this series.
In any case, I loved The Eternal Ones and I'm glad I didn't listen to the bad reviews. I know we can't all like the same things. We all have different tastes. But it was an interesting idea and I was never confused about who was who. Just confused about who to trust, just like Haven was. I loved the suspense and finding out who the villain was. I can't wait for the next book.
So... The Eternal Ones. My feelings about it are complicated and I'm probably the last person you should be listening to about it. Too bad I'm going to babble about it anyways. The first part of this review is going to be all about me, me, me because the circumstances have a lot to do with my opinion of the book.
It was August 14, 2010, a Saturday. All four of my wisdom teeth had been removed a few days before and between rounds of eating vanilla pudding and downing disgusting pain medicine, I read. My schedule for the day was to go get my hair dyed (which took 2-3 hours) and visit Dad while he and his co-workers loaded furniture into their new office building (due to theft and construction workers who worked slower than dead slugs move, construction was completed a year behind schedule), then go home to down more disgusting pain medicine before the pain made me want to scream obscenities. The book I took to entertain me while my hair went auburn and we watched everyone load furniture into the new office? The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller.
The writing style was unclear and often confusing, but I excused this because Haven was so confused about her memories coming back to her and everything; I assumed the writing was purposely being made to mirror her confusion. Your mileage may vary. As little pieces of Haven's past were revealed to me and a mystery came together, I couldn't. Stop. Reading it. I started the book while getting my hair dyed and finished it later that night. I even suffered carsickness so I could read the book while The Lovely Mother drove!
While the book kept me interested, I was not blind to its flaws and still see them clearly. The characters are flat like the notebook paper I drafted this review on. Haven spent so much time in the revolving door of "I love Iain! He's good! I trust him!" "No, I don't trust Iain! He killed me once and wants to kill me again!" that it made me nauseous (or maybe that was because of the carsickness due to reading in a moving vehicle) and it surprised me she wasn't feeling sick too from all the back-and-forth. Iain? It suffices to say I wanted to put his male organs through a wood chipper, right?
Haven and Iain's relationship was the worst point of the book without a doubt. Being in love in past lives does not mean you're in love in the present life. Personalities change and one doesn't know who the other is or what they're like in this life; what made them connect before might not be here this time. Their love was too instant by any standards and Iain didn't seem to care about Haven or trust her the way he should have if he really loved her. If he really trusted her, he would have told her everything. She could then have time to think it over and decide whether or not to trust him. There is no communication between them and this does not bode well.
Honestly, I think Haven pairs better with Beau than Iain or Adam. Sure, Beau is the token gay friend and will never be romantically or sexually attracted to Haven, but he seems to respect her, care about her, treat her well, and their interactions were some of the more decent parts of the book. You know what would have been a great twist to have in the book? If she had spent some of the lifetimes she didn't spend with Iain were spent married to or in love with Beau. He just happened to be gay in their newest lifetime and were friends instead of lovers.
So why am I giving this book four stars when it objectively deserves one or two? Nostalgia, my ducklings, nostalgia! (I'm not quite sure why I'm calling you readers ducklings. I think it has to do with the army of baby ducklings at the local pond. They're so adorable and fuzzy and I wish I could get a picture.) I know it will properly go down if I try to reread it. A lot of books aren't as good when reread and The Eternal Ones falls in there because knowing all the twists makes a book's flaws more obvious to me.
But here's the real fool in this situation: me. I bought the sequel All You Desire and I'll be reading it shortly. If I don't enjoy it, some unlucky reader gets my copies of The Eternal Ones and All You Desire. Want two pieces of free snarkbait? Start praying I hate the sequel (which I will probably do anyways, but I demand you waste your time if I have to waste mine).
And Miller does a wonderful job of capturing the mentality of old prejudices in the Deep South and Bible Belt. So much so that I found my feathers getting ruffled reading her fiction because it is so close to the reality.
As far as the topics that are brought up, a reader needs to have a bit of an open mind. There's a variety of beliefs brought under a magnifying glass, from "traditional" Christianity to reincarnation to Pentacostal snake handling. A few passages made me very uncomfortable at first, but I powered through them and Miller did a wonderful job of neither condemning nor glorifying one belief system over another which relieved that tension. She also made some of the characters representing those different views feel like the reader's friend. It was in the sense that while you may not agree with what your friend is doing, you don't want to hurt their feelings by bashing their beliefs.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone that is open to multiple possibilities holding truth. It has earned a permanent spot on my bookshelf and I will read it again in the future.