Friday, June 4, 2010

The Penguin Five: The Eternal Ones

The Eternal Ones
By Kirsten Miller
Release Date: August 10, 2010

I’ve delayed on writing this review for a week. I needed to sit back and let the story, the characters, the concept, the writing-all of it, sink in before I could adequately explain my thoughts on this novel. It’s hard to read a book that has its entirety based upon on a concept you don’t believe in. I’m not talking about fantasy or science fiction, within the depths of those novels it is easy to become lost because it is not real, and all, but perhaps a few people who are way too into Star Trek and Lord of the Rings, realize that and thus it is possible to suspend disbelief. Yet, reincarnation, which is the backbone of this new novel, is believed to be real by many people and is a major part of quite a few non-Christian based religions. I won’t go into why I disagree wholeheartedly with this concept, this isn’t that type of blog, but suffice it to say I do not believe in reincarnation.

So, here I am with a book whose main premise is two souls, two lovers fated to meet each other in life after life and doomed to early demise. In order to thoughtfully and unbiasedly review this book I needed to put my personal feelings and beliefs aside and read The Eternal Ones as though I were a blank, thoughtless vessel ready to be entertained. I believe I succeeded. I looked at the book as a love story, one where its characters are thrown into situations of unreality and despair, much like archetype ill-fated lovers Tristan and Isolde, Romeo and Juliet, and Antony and Cleopatra. I soaked in the atmosphere, the dialogue, and the characters and opened myself up to enjoyment. I found some too. I found the story to be engrossing enough that I continued to read. I wanted to know the ending and discover the journey to that end. One hurdle was accomplished; I was hooked to the story. Sadly, that was all that happened. While I was intrigued, I was not particularly drawn to the characters, they appeared rather idiotic, brash, and not remarkably likeable. The story, while engaging, was littered with holes, some which were vaguely filled by either the author or astuteness as a reader, others so wide and dull, that not even the largest of cement trucks could fill them in. There was also a great deal of predictability. Even before a certain character was introduced I knew that he would appear, who he would be, and how his manipulations would drive the story. I don’t mind figuring out the plot, I do it frequently when reading mysteries, but some degree of finesse is always a must-have and here it was greatly lacking.

Some might enjoy this haunting little tale, but readers with any sort of cognition will be disappointed. Let us hope that the last book from the Penguin Five, Sapphique by Catherine Fisher is more satisfying.