Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Release Day Review: "The Eterna Files" by Leanna Renee Hieber

I received this ebook for free via NetGalley, but in no way did it affect my literary taste buds. This critique is my honest opinion.

This book had everything this bookworm could want in a read: ghosts, ritual murders, Spiritualism, Victoriana, Americana, and the pursuit of immortality. Its blurb compared it to the Dresden Files, which is a potato-chip-like addiction for me. But then I began reading it, at the speed of a half-awake snail. That's unusual for me, especially with so much going on in the book that I habitually adore. Something in me couldn't connect with the story. Or was it the characters?

The characters: there were too many. Not that someone cannot cram that many characters in a book and have people recollect every last one, but I had difficulty remembering their names and their individuality. I can only recall six who I can remember the names and individual traits of. The rest, I can barely put a number to and can't recall their names, even though they had occasional pages written from their point of view. There was only one character I felt for, and she proceeded to prove I was wrong to feel for her by being the most strange protagonist I have read about. Although the characters weren't unlikable, I felt completely uninvested in their fates, to the point I just didn't care for them.

The Plot:
The Eterna Files is a collection of people in the search for a cure to mortality- the British think the Americans are close to finding a solution to bring about this end, therefore, they try to steal the information. But, the British have homegrown ritual murders going on, and Harold Spire is there to investigate. The Americans have problems of their own, as the Eterna Files team has up and vanished. What ill fates have they met?

As I mentioned before, with all that's going on in this book, you'd think the pacing would be rather fast- but it wasn't, at least not for me. I struggled with this one so much I ended up giving up on recalling every single characters name and their occupation (something that irks my OCD to no end). I also wanted out of the haphazard plotting: where are we going with this book? Is there an overall plot or are we just doing a rat race to the finish, British vs American style?

So yes, the first half of the book wasn't my favorite by any means, but the second half was easier to follow, at some points. I noticed a lot of similarities in horror-esque themes to another series I like, Odd Thomas. But Odd Thomas is supposed to be kind of "out there" horror, while this was supposed to be the Dresden Files's Steampunk cousin, and perhaps a little less abstract than anything Mr. Koontz would pen.

The Eterna Files held so much promise, but for me, the execution was way off. It isn't often that I can't connect with a book, yet for much of this one I could have cared less if all the main characters were executed via spontaneous combustion. For those reasons, I can't recommend this one, as it was only a tolerable read for me.

Rating: 2 of 5 Stars for a read that could have been much better.

Content: Ages 16+ for ritual murder, violence, and weird imagery.

Page Count: 320 pages

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