Review: Eternal by Kristi Cook

Series: Haven #3

eternal -kristi cookTrue love and destiny collide in the conclusion to the Haven trilogy, which Booklist called “a blend of the Gemma Doyle trilogy, the Twilight saga, and Lois Duncan’s thrillers.”

Forced to endure the violent punishment of the Tribunal for murders he has no recollection of committing, Aidan is slowly rotting away in a Paris dungeon. Violet is all but an unreachable dream to him now.

But unlike Aidan, Violet has not given up hope as she works tirelessly with Matthew, her guardian and protector, to prove Aidan’s innocence and unravel the haunting vision that plagues her thoughts—the death of someone closest to her.

Determined to set Aidan free, Violet discovers that a dangerous vampire war is brewing—and that Aidan may be at the center of it all. It’s only when the war reaches the doors of Winterhaven and tragedy strikes the school that Violet has to finally accept her fate. But that could mean losing Aidan—forever.

With no other option, Violet must choose between true love and fulfilling her destiny…unless she can find a way to have them both.

3.5 Drink Me Potions

It was what I expected, and totally not, at the same time.

Eternal made a decent conclusion to the Haven trilogy. And I do mean just decent. The story picked up where its predecessor, Mirage, left off, with Aidan missing somewhere with the Tribunal. How Violet works to get him back really wasn’t…all that exciting. It didn’t even really feel like she had to do anything, as it was the circumstances that dictated his return into her life. So there went one major plot twist that held a lot of potential.

There was also the threat of some vampire war, and the hinted importance that Aidan might play in that (thus making it also Violet and the rest of her Winterhaven Warrior gang’s business). That sounded potentially great and full of action, right? It’s WAR, after all. Violence apparently equates to excitement factor according to all the action movies out there. Was it, though? Guess I was wrong at that too. It really didn’t build up very well, and the actual process that dealt directly with the war was maybe 40 pages maximum? Couldn’t a 400+ page book at least make the “war” plotline a little longer? It definitely had me on the edge of my seat while it lasted.

And her visions? The ones that potentially held possible death for some of her loved ones? Some of them never really come to pass or even remotely come close to happening because of her precautions. Makes the vision seem anticlimactic doesn’t it?

BUT, I’m not gonna continue to semi-rant the rest of this review. It was NOT all bad.

The majority of the novel did focus on the impossibility of Aidan having a future with Violet, and his ever-present quest for the cure to his vampirism. There was also that new aspect of Violet finding her male counterpart and protector, her Megved, Matthew. Aka Dr. “Hottie” Byrne. That was intriguing indeed.

Why, you may ask? It says he’s supposed to be his Sabbat’s mate in every way?

Although it may sound like the potential for a horrible love triangle at the end of the series, it never does come to that. And weirdly enough, although I have a horrible annoyance/disgust towards these romantic entanglements, I felt quite badly for Matthew. He had a girlfriend, or I supposed was a girlfriend, until he found Violet and now he was dedicated to her and her only. Too bad, old girlfriend. The Sabbat comes first. And it was obvious that he cared for her, possibly in a romantic way (which isn’t creepy ’cause he’s a teacher….well, not too creepy. Come on, he was a hot YOUNG teacher, right?) But he never pursued anything, letting Violet be with Aidan although I’m assuming that went against all HIS early teachings as a Megved. I oddly found myself wishing there was some way he’d get a happy ending of his own somehow.

Let us just pause for a sec and really think of what a great guy Matthew seems to be.

Okay, now that’s out of the way, I really did enjoy Matthew and Violet’s dynamic. They made a great fighting pair when it came to vampire slaying. Even if Violet only felt a strong brotherly love towards Matthew, they too had some understanding and psychic connection that was unlike any other relationship she could have, even the one with Aidan. I think it was great seeing this other kind of relationship at this point in time of the story.

Her friends made a bigger impact in this story comparatively to Mirage. And unlike some novels, not everyone gets a happy ending. I can’t say I was surprised about certain twists of fate that occurred (mostly because I saw a review that ruined the surprise), but I was actually glad to see Cook adding this element. Because visions can’t always be prevented, even with forewarning. This just adds layers to Violet’s character having to deal with possible failure.

One thing I do wish was that the ending answered a few more questions. For example, for the life of me, I felt Tyler’s introduction in the last book as rather…suspicious? Maybe that’s not the right word, ’cause I do like him, but I always thought there had to be some ulterior motive for his presence and joining the gang’s efforts in helping Aidan. Did Cook ever answer that? No. Still waiting here. Am thinking I’ll be left hanging. And what the heck was Dr. Blackwell’s plan in the first place way back in Haven?

All in all, the ending was definitely the highlight of the story for me, maybe even in the series. It was possibly the best way it could’ve concluded, in my opinion. Sure, most of the story wasn’t terribly exciting, but this nearly redeemed all of that. For all the lack of action, Cook did do a good job of creating her characters and the dynamics between everyone in the group. They really were like an eclectic family. A family that by the end of it, felt like I wished I had a group of people like that myself. I’d say that’s a job well done in my books for characterization.

Overall Recommendation:
Although it lacked the ability to expand potentially exciting plot elements set up from the previous novels, Eternal did do an amazing job at continually making the friendship dynamics between Violet and the rest of her gang of friends at Winterhaven really believable and enjoyable. They tackled every problem together. With the added element of discovering she had a protector and vampire slayer partner in Dr. Byrne, all while Aidan was either AWOL or irritated with finding his cure against the ticking deadline till graduation, things definitely heated up in the romance department. The series’ ending made it worth the slow pace, and for the most part, wrapped it up in the most heartfelt way possible that left me touched at the depth love goes.

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