The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa surprised me. I gave The Immortal Rules, its predecessor, a somewhat rather positive review, and expressed optimism regarding The Eternity Cure. However, four months on I realized how much I had forgotten from the first book. I had forgotten some of the characters introduced in the first book – owing to their lack of character development or possessing a trait that made them important or memorable – and some events in the previous book now felt pointless because it didn’t contribute to this book. Though the first third of The Eternity Cure is largely forgettable and feels like a remnant of the first book, once the story picks up, it picks up. (As for how it picks up, I’ll leave it to readers to find out.)
This time, I am ambivalent about Allie and Zeke in this novel (more on Zeke later). The most forgettable character in the first book does an 180 in this book, and becomes the spearhead of this novel. The character I am talking about, of course, is Jackal – probably the most complex and interesting character of the series so far. Jackal, in simple terms, is what I would call an anti-hero; he’s pragmatic, arrogant, somewhat of a utilitarian, completely sarcastic, but underneath that cold, calculating exterior, Jackal has motivations, beliefs and sticks to a set of rules that may spur him into doing something compassionate if need be. I liked Jackal. I look forward to reading and learning more about him in The Forever Song.
In my review of The Immortal Song, I said that I liked Zeke – I liked him because of his idealism and his desperation to retain his values in a world that favours utilitarianism in the name of survival. In this book, however, Zeke was reduced to a love interest – there are remnants of his better self in the first book, like his self-imposed obligation to protect the helpless. Where was the headstrong, idealist Zeke that readers encountered in the The Immortal Song? (Probably there, somewhere, just hidden underneath the compromise for developing the romance — which I don’t find particularly unique or intimate.)
With regards to the primary antagonist of this book, I don’t find him particularly scary at all. Sure, he has a liking for torture, he’s sadistic, he’s cruel — but that’s the issue. Sarren is a horrible individual, a merciless and formidable enemy but that’s all he is; he is the stereotypical, predictable Chaotic Evil. I hope I am wrong about Sarren when I read The Forever Song.
If there is one thing that The Immortal Rules does better, though, is the introspection and self-exploration. Granted, Allie has a better sense of who she is in this book and she isn’t as confused about her identity – human or vampire – Kagawa tries desperately to cling onto that even though it was explored enough in The Immortal Rules. I cannot count how many times Allie tells herself that she really wants to sink her fangs into Zeke’s [exposed body part]. I get that this is supposed to be a reminder that Allie being in close proximity to Zeke can be emotionally taxing, but by the 15th ‘I wanted to sink my fangs into [body part]’, it leaves creativity to be desired. Show not tell, maybe?
Regardless, though The Eternity Cure lacks an overarching message or theme, it functions well without one. More than an exploration of the psyche or a challenge to the meaning or ontology of identity, The Eternity Cure is there for readers who enjoyed the first book and want their characters fleshed out, story progressed, and curiousities satisfied. If you’re a fan of the first book, The Eternity Cure is a worthwhile read and a satisfying addition to the series.
Book Name: The Eternity Cure
Book Series: Blood of Eden #2
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen