Since delivering her human companions to the only known safe haven for humans, vampire Allison Sekemoto has been traveling solo, searching for her sire and the sadistic creature who is holding him captive. As it has the same strengths and weaknesses of its predecessor, Julie Kagawa’s The Eternity Cure—book two in her Blood of Eden series, after The Immortal Rules—isn’t likely to win over any detractors, but it will very definitely please fans of the original.
Things that work:
The cinematic action. Kagawa’s wicked flair for this is evident from the very first scene, in which Allison walks into a bar, questions the bartender, gets aggressively propositioned by a drunken lech-at-best, wannabe-rapist-at-worst…and proceeds to wipe the floor with (and then eat) everyone who’s idiotic enough to fight her. While that specific fight scene takes place mostly off-screen, that majority of them happen up close and personal, with severed limbs and gouts of blood: Basically, when Allie draws her katana, heads are going to roll...LITERALLY.
The pacing. Overall, the book feels somewhat bloated due to repetitive explanation of certain plot points, but Allie’s narration is compelling and the plotting moves the story right along. There’s enough back story given to allow new readers to catch up, but there’s not so much that fans of the first will get bored. In the unlikely event that a reader DOES start to nod off, she can rest assured that there is yet another action scene right around the corner, just waiting to liven things up.
Allie. Unlike Bella Swan, who is immediately really, really good at being a vampire, Allie is extremely conflicted about what she is and has to struggle with her bloodlust all the time. Also, while many YA paranormals feature human protagonists (usually female) who get involved with supernatural love interests (usually male), this series reverses both of those elements. Really, how many other vampire heroines are there? Heroines, mind you, not just major players—in other words, in The Hunger, Catherine Deneuve doesn’t count, and Susan Sarandon would be a stretch—so the only two I can think of are Selene from the Underworld movies, and Mina Murray in the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comics....Let me know if you think of others.
Allie’s frame of reference: Allie’s descriptions of DC landmarks like the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument are especially fun, as she doesn’t know what they are or what they represent, so it’s left to the reader to figure out what she’s looking at.
Things that don’t work:
Allie’s frame of reference: Although the DC scenes are neat, Allie's lack of knowledge isn't always consistent. At one point, for example, she describes an elevator shaft (and a crashed elevator car at the bottom) in detail, but she clearly doesn't know what she's looking at...but later she uses the word and mentions having ridden in one before.
The dialogue: With a few exceptions, the characters don’t have distinct voices, and in particular, the three Master vampires are completely interchangeable: somewhat formal speech patterns, but most of their communication is done by sardonically quirking an eyebrow. Though it moves right along, the dialogue and slang used seems more in keeping with our era than at least 60 years into the future and AFTER a deadly plague/vampire apocalypse/introduction of an entirely new way of life. Which feels unlikely.
The dudes: 1. Zeke. As Allie’s human love interest, he’s almost as revoltingly, perfectly Good as Wilfred of Ivanhoe, which (despite his skill with a crossbow!) makes him ultra-boring. 2. Stick. Were we ever supposed to feel for this guy? Because he was awful in the first book, and he’s even worse in the second. 3. Jackal. Former raider king, Allison's blood brother and traveling companion, he’s a direct descendant of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Spike, who is similarly cocky, brash, untrustworthy, prone to violence and prone to snarky verbal jabs...but whether it’s due to a lack of charm or chemistry, unlike Spike, he’s never truly likable or even very entertaining. 4. Kanin. See my post about the first book for more on him.
Nutshell: Cool premise, action-packed, nice post-apocalyptic western vibe (Jackal is rarely seen without his ankle-length duster), but with slim characterization and weak dialogue. It’s very definitely got an audience, and fans will be happy with it, but I’ll be sticking to Richelle Mead’s Bloodlines as my vampire series of choice.
If she isn't writing Bookshelves of Doom or doing her librarian thing, Leila Roy might be making stuff for her Etsy shop while re-watching Veronica Mars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Babylon 5, Black Books or Twin Peaks. Well, that or she’s hanging out on Twitter. Or both.