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VBC Roundtable Review: The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa (Blood of Eden #2)

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The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa // VBC Roundtable DiscussionAs our first roundtable review was so much fun, we’re doing it again. Earlier this week, Julie Kagawa’s second Blood of Eden novel released and nearly everyone at VBC jumped on it. Some of us adored the novel, others had a harder time. Find out who loved it, who didn’t and add your thoughts in the comments at the end.

The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden #2)
Julie Kagawa
Published: April 30, 2013 (Harlequin Teen)
Purchase at: Book Depository or Amazon

Allison Sekemoto has vowed to rescue her creator, Kanin, who is being held hostage and tortured by the psychotic vampire Sarren. The call of blood leads her back to the beginning—New Covington and the Fringe, and a vampire prince who wants her dead yet may become her wary ally.

Even as Allie faces shocking revelations and heartbreak like she’s never known, a new strain of the Red Lung virus that decimated humanity is rising to threaten human and vampire alike.

Because we’re treating this post as a discussion, there may be spoilers. The first reaction, from Chelsea, only contains minor spoilers (as in which characters you’ll see again).

CHELSEA – 5 stars

I am in perpetual awe of Julie Kagawa. Every book I’ve read of hers is better than the last and The Eternity Cure is no exception. She takes heroine Allie to some dark places in this latest book, but anything else would have cheapened the experience.

Allie’s character arc continues to develop beautifully as she truly understands what it means for her to be a vampire and fights to balance that with maintaining her humanity. Zeke continues to be her source of good here, and it isn’t just that he’s human, but that he sees the good in her. There’s a great juxtaposition between the way Allie behaves in reaction to Stick and her emotions when Zeke is with her. I’m not just talking about romance here, but about the way another’s faith in you can make you into a better person.

Characters are in real peril in this one, and as a reader I was never certain anyone would make it. The plot twists were devious enough to catch me off guard and the staging done well enough to make think, “Oh, God, she’s actually going to do…”

I adored The Immortal Rules, but I promise you The Eternity Cure is even more brilliant. It gave me what I really needed in this journey: huge emotional development, answers about the world Allie grew up in, down-and-dirty fight scenes and some of the most gorgeous prose I’ve read in some time.

I’ve been stingy with the five-star ratings of late (picky, picky, I know), but The Eternity Cure deserves a perfect score from me. Expect this one on my Best of 2013 list.

JO 5 stars

The pacing of The Eternity Cure is phenomenal. It ebbs and flows from harrowing to action packed, with moments of joy and deep depths of desolation. When you’re immersed in a post apocalyptic world, ravaged with the after effects of a catastrophic virus, you’d be forgiven for thinking it couldn’t get much worse but it does…. Oh, it does. With my heart in my throat and tears in my eyes on more than one occasion, it blew me away.

I could lose myself in this world for days. It’s rich, gritty and unlike anything I’ve come across before, brilliantly melding dystopian and the vampire genre. As Allie is a child of the post red lung age there are some fantastic moments where she is confronted with remnants of the time before and I loved seeing her confusion and wonder at experiencing these things for the first time.

As we explore the inner workings of the Vampire towers, we see just how fundamentally Allie has changed from her time as a fringer, in particular the mentality of every man for himself. All the characters featured fall on a spectrum of grey, with some darker than others (most notably Sarren, who gives a whole new meaning to psychotic) and I loved that this was regardless of their species. If The Immortal Rules was all about Allison reconnecting with her humanity then The Eternity Cure is about her truly discovering her vampire nature… And learning the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

Stuck between Jackal and Zeke, Allison is faced with an angel and devil on her shoulders, each championing the two sides of her. While Jackal represents the vampire side she is beginning to grow into, Zeke is there, reminding her of the person she wants to be, human or vampire be damned. Even with this constant push/pull, she still manages to tread her own path, even if that sometimes means saying or doing the hard thing.

I absolutely loved Jackal. He’s sarcastic and selfish, reminding me on more than occasion of Spike from Buffy (always a good thing in my book) and you never truly know which side he is on. He has some fantastic one liners and provides the spark of the comic relief that only helps make the dark moments seem darker by contrast.

I don’t even know where to start with Zeke…. Straight up badass might be a good place. Before we’ve seen Allison trying to fit in with humans, here we see Zeke having to hold his own in a vampire crowd and he nails it. He represents hope to her and shines like a beacon throughout this book.

The end of this book left me in an emotional knot I still haven’t fully recovered from – the wait for the next book is going to be a looong one. I’m going to go out on a limb now and says that by the time we do our “favorites of 2013” The Eternity Cure will absolutely be on my list.

AMANDA – 2 stars

I have a confession to make: I almost didn’t finish the book.

When I started The Eternity Cure, I was immediately intrigued by the stark, harsh world Kagawa created for her humans and vampires. I saw icy roads twisting through empty, snow covered plains, dark forests full of secrets, empty towns and cities fueled by fear. I love a good, dark setting, and this book has it in spades.

But the more I got to know Allison, the less I liked her.

Allie spent a lot of the book dwelling on her sorry lot in life. I get it; she doesn’t like the monster she’s become. She’s disgusted by her blood brother, Jackal, and bemoans the cruel twist of fate that makes it impossible for her to be with Zeke. But after a while, it got old.

And Allie wasn’t the only one I had issues with. Jackal was right up there with her. He has two settings, evil and more evil, except his versions of evil felt more like caricatures. The longer he stuck around, the more I wished Allie would just lop off his head with her katana. In fact, that would have added some much needed action.

That was the other big issue for me. The pace dragged. For the first two thirds of the book, I had to make an effort to keep reading. I’d put the book down, and I’d have to remind myself to pick it back up again. The main reason I did was I dislike leaving books unfinished, and I save that for the truly terrible books.

What saves this from being a truly terrible book, then, was Kanin and the last third of the story. I enjoyed his calming presence and how you knew he was this coiled spring, waiting to snap. And the action does pick up for the last third. Everything Allie has been searching for gets condensed into this section, one thing after another, without giving her room to breathe. But the twists felt a bit predictable for me because I’d already been so bored by the first part of the book, and I doubt I’ll be picking up the next one.

MARY – 5 stars

When I die and become a vampire, I want to be Allison Sekemoto.  She’s got everything a young vampire, living in a post-apocalyptic world, over run with rabids (think: super zombies), could possibly want.  She’s got a super cool, culturally-appropriate weapon, a meaty boy toy, a bratty brother, a crazy mentor, and a super villain for an enemy.  What else could a girl want? Maybe for none of those people she loves to die (again).

Julie Kagawa starts this book with the boot print still fresh on Allie’s ass from getting kicked out of Eden.  She is haunted by dreams of Kanin being tortured by Sarren, the resident nut job.  This book starts at a fast pace and doesn’t stop until the very last word.  Really.  Just when you think, she’s wrapping it up, we get another twist.  Allison barely has a chance to catch their breath in this book.  Good thing breathing is optional for vampires.

My favorite thing about this book is that you get a look at what is motivating the characters, especially the vampires, but she doesn’t leave out the humans either.  Love, redemption, honor, revenge, self-preservation, and a desire to build a super army all keep the emotions riding high.  This book pairs some very unlikely alliances that still work somehow.  You never know who’s going to step-up and who’s going to stab Allie in the back.  Even Sarren, who snapped years ago when researchers were originally looking for a cure for Red Lung, made sense to me because the author does such a great job of letting the reader see into his head.

My only complaint about this book is that she sets up the twist at the very end a little too much.  You really were almost expecting Sarren’s last trick.  Overall this is a great read.  If you are looking for a new book, here’s one to sink your teeth into that’s worth every bite!

KRISTA – 3 stars

To be honest the first time I attempted to read Julie Kagawa’s The Immortal Rules, I did not finish it. I actually gave up after a couple of chapters. It could be because it was nothing like her previous Iron Fey series (which I loved) or it could be that I just wasn’t in the mood for the darker series. So when I approached reading The Immortal Rules and its sequel The Eternity Cure for this roundtable I had an entirely different mindset. And I have to say I was pleasantly surprised, I actually enjoyed them more than I thought I would.

I wouldn’t label the main character Allie as an anti-hero, but more of a modern Byronic hero. She knows she is a monster, but goddamnit she will be a monster on her terms and no one else’s. I don’t even believe she is on a path of redemption, early on she made peace with her decision to become a vampire and rarely does she regret not being human. Even when she was human she tended to isolate herself from those around her, going as far as to push or purposely terrify people away so as not to get attached. The only exception being small children or pig-headed persistence by those attempting to get close to her.

Allie is not what you would deem an optimistic character. I would say she is more pragmatic in her view of the world. She focuses on what she needs to accomplish to survive and little else. She also seems to have tunnel vision when it comes to her goals. She is very single-minded and little to nothing will divert her from said goals. It doesn’t matter if what she intends to accomplish is a suicide mission or could have other ramifications, she does not waver.

A strong theme in these books is hope or the lack there of. Even false hope plays a strong role in the world Kagawa has created. The world is bleak and dangerous no matter where you look. Humans are no longer the dominant creature but instead are seen as either cattle or vermin.  From the very first, Allie doesn’t seem to have hope for the future, whereas her love interest Zeke lives his life on hope for a better world. He even acknowledges that it may be a false hope, but the hope allows him to move forward.  Allie doesn’t resent his hope instead does everything she can to support his belief, even though she can’t or won’t reciprocate.

This is not the type of book or series that I would easily recommend to everyone. It’s definitely not for someone who is looking for a light read or an easy happily ever after. But it is definitely on the list for someone who is interested in depth and intensity in their reading material.

AMY – 5 stars

I liked the flow of the book. I appreciate the fact that Julie Kagawa knows when to elaborate a scene or a chapter and but then, in turn, knows when to speed things along. This does mean, however, that everything she does decide to elaborate is very important and the consequences may pop up again later.

For much of the start of the book Allie is traveling alone on her quest to find Kanin so everything is based on Allie’s thoughts and descriptions, very little dialogue. But when Allie gets to Old D.C. and meets up again with Jackal I found the book really started to click for me. Jackal was a great character. In The Immortal Rules he’s the big bad guy that Jeb & Co. are running from, but here, while his intentions are still a bit shady, for me, he delivered some much needed humor and sarcasm. He’s the person (vampire) nobody wants around, but can’t seem to shake. I’m really interested to see where his loyalties will be placed when all is said and done.

Allie continues to remain a strong character. I like that she goes against the norm, and Kanin’s teachings, and forms attachments. In this book, as in The Immortal Rules, Allie seems to be constantly fighting with the “monster” inside of her. It would be so very easy for her to give in and forget about humanity. I hope that she doesn’t forget how this uniqueness makes her better especially considering how events play out in the end. I was happy at the end of The Immortal Rules when we found out that Kanin was still alive after he and Allie separated in New Covington. I thought, and was hoping, there was more to learn about him. I’m glad that we get a chance to hear more about the past that created this dystopian future.

I thought the story was pretty fast paced. I liked that we returned to New Covington. I think that there was still a lot Allie had to deal with there. Her change and departure from the city was very abrupt and there were definitely story threads to pick up. I will say that I was and wasn’t surprised by how events played out in the end.

The Eternity Cure definitely leaves me wishing the next book was out and we could get a resolution. It also leaves me hoping that resolution involves our characters finding happiness because there have certainly been no easy paths so far.

6 Responses to “VBC Roundtable Review: The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa (Blood of Eden #2)”

  1. Danielle says:

    Really liking these roundtable reviews 🙂

  2. Smash Attack says:

    Those are some great thoughts on this book. I will be picking it up soon. Like some of you, I found The Immortal Rules to be brilliant, and frankly, I cannot wait to be in Zeke’s life again. 🙂

  3. Jillian B says:

    I’m loving having multiple ratings!

  4. Loved the multiple reviews and I read the book and totally agree with Amanda and I inhaled her first book …Jackal made this book for me 🙂

  5. Angela says:

    Love the round table reviews, keep them coming. I just dived into this book and hope I’m going to love it as much as the first installment.

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