The Eterna Files by Leanna Renee Hieber

The Eterna Files was one of my January reads and is released early February.

The premise of the book revolves around the search for immortality and the race between the US and the UK to find the files that provide the solution.

After the assassination of Lincoln the US went on a mission to find a means to grant immortality.  Of course Queen Victoria, herself still in mourning, also wanted to find the means by which to provide immortality.  And so the race is on.

At the start of the story we are introduced to Clara, a rather extraordinary young woman who has visions and prophetic dreams and seems to be able to remember all her previous lifetimes!  Clara is a young woman, brought up by a guardian and taught to use her skills and protect herself from the spirit world which would otherwise bombard her.  The original concept for Eterma was arrived at by Clara and now she blames herself for the death of the team who were working on the compound and ultimately resulting in the untimely death of her beloved – she can’t even openly mourn his death as nobody was aware of the relationship!

Meanwhile, back in England, a team is being put together, run by Harold Spire, of the Metropolitan Police.  Spire will draw together a strange bunch of unlikely characters including circus performers, spies and scientists.  Spire himself has a background, he’s been burned by a romance and he’s not quite as trusting anymore.

We have a number of other characters and it’s easy to see the references to the X files – in terms of Spire’s team for example, Spire is not a believer in anything out of the ordinary and Rose is very scientific and methodical whereas Clare’s team rely very much on the paranormal!

The settings are very easy to read about jumping between New York and London and the author does a good job of evoking the time.

This is certainly an unusual book.  Two opposing groups of people in a race against time to find the solution to immortality.  And, yet, this solution could also be used for harm!  And, on top of that there seems to be a third party – but I won’t say more on that score.

The story is told from alternating perspectives which gives us a better idea of what is going on and makes us privy to the actions of both teams.

On the face of it this book has such a lot that I love and I confess I was very excited to receive a copy.  Ghosts and paranormal activity, alternate history, spies, subtrefuge and intrigue and it is undoubtedly well written with plenty of detail and yet, to be honest, I struggled a little with this one and came very close to putting it down.  I’m not sure why and can’t put my finger on it but it seemed to, well, drag, somehow.  It’s a really interesting idea, a good cast and the setting and time very enjoyable to read about so frankly I’m not sure exactly why I struggled.  I think perhaps the pacing is a little off and I also had difficulty relating to Clare or at least understanding what makes her so special maybe??  It could simply be that this book is suffering from first book syndrome.  It is definitely a set up for the next book.  Simply, I just didn’t relate to the characters enough to be honest.  I don’t think I really bought into them and, in fact felt a little ambivalent towards them.

I am intrigued though, it ends on something of a cliffhanger and I think that maybe, in spite of my reservations, I would continue with the series.  Like I said, I didn’t race through this and I don’t think it gripped me in the way I expected but I’m keeping my options open for the time being.

I certainly wouldn’t discourage anybody else from reading this. I wouldn’t say I loved it but I am keeping an open mind in terms of the rest of the series and I think there’s plenty here if you enjoy something of a paranormal mystery.

I received a copy of this courtesy of the publishers through Netgalley for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

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19 Responses to “The Eterna Files by Leanna Renee Hieber”

  1. Kerry Alan Denney

    Intriguing cover!

    • lynnsbooks

      I confess I’m a bit of a cover tart and this one certainly caught my eye!
      Lynn 😀

  2. jessicabookworm

    I’m sorry to hear this book didn’t quite do it for you, such a shame as it has such an interesting premise.

    • lynnsbooks

      I think it could just possibly be that I had unreasonable expectations. It did have a really good premise but just something didn’t work for me and it’s difficult to say exactly what. It simply didn’t make me want to read into the wee early hours!
      Lynn 😀

  3. Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    hmmm, I think I am going to hold off on this one. I don’t think I’m up for a slow-paced (dragging) book 🙂 Even if it is intriguing 🙂

    • lynnsbooks

      Others might really love it and I certainly didn’t dislike it but it was sort of slow going for me and I had a couple of occasions when I came close to it becoming a DNF. Which is difficult to explain when I clearly don’t have any real criticisms! It just didn’t grab me.
      Lynn 😀

  4. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I’m of the same mind on this. It had a very interesting premise but there was something about the pacing that bothered me as well. I think my issue was with the British side of the story. I’ll have to look up what I wrote in my review (which should be up one of these days, lol) but I felt like the British team dawdled a lot on another investigation when what they SHOULD have been doing was follow up on Eterna! And then the connection to that case didn’t make itself apparent until near the very end.

    • lynnsbooks

      I think, having given this a little more thought, my real problem with this is that there was too much detail. I don’t really mean the descriptions as such, it just felt a little bit laden down somehow and I think that made the pace a bit tardy. It’s unusual for me because I do like the finer detail!! Just that here it didn’t make me intrigued as such!
      I will look out for your review because I wasn’t really very good at articulating what I felt. Probably because it’s a slightly negative review and I hate doing them!
      Lynn 😀

  5. Tabitha (Not Yet Read)

    Oh goodness you make me a little nervous because all of the makeup sounds really awesome to me too so I hope I don’t struggle with it. Lately I’m of a mind to set books aside if I’m not enjoying them. I don’t want to risk a single book putting me in a funk. I’m definitely going to give it a read but cross my fingers that I enjoy it more then you. I think Mogsy had a hard time with it as well.

    • lynnsbooks

      You should give it a read – like we all know, it can be a mood thing and I just wasn’t feeling it!
      I hope you enjoy it. It’s a great premise.
      Lynn 😀

  6. jenclair

    I love the cover of this one, and I considered requesting it from NetGalley. Now, I’m kind of glad I didn’t. I don’t need another cliff hanger right now. 🙂

  7. Danya

    Ooooh I always like it when a protagonist has the second sight/clairvoyance/all that! That said, I find the whole diverging story lines thing can be pretty hit or miss. The pacing probably wouldn’t bother me because I tend to like those atmospheric plodding stories – must be a result of all that literature I have to read for school, haha. I will keep it in mind!

    • lynnsbooks

      I hope you enjoy it more than I did – I just didn’t connect with this one in spite of expecting to love it!
      Lynn 😀

  8. Molly Mortensen

    I was curious about this one because it sounds like it could be really good. I totally understand what you mean when you can’t say exactly why you struggled. I hate when that happens. It’s like something is off about the book, but you’re not sure what. I’m glad that in the end you plan to read the sequel. 🙂

    • lynnsbooks

      I feel like I should give it more of a chance really – it could just be a mood thing after all. But the first didn’t work very well for me and the way that I really measure that is how long it takes me to read and my reluctance to pick it up after taking a break!
      Lynn 😀

  9. Miriam

    I just finished this one. And I think I largely agree with your review! I didn’t mind the slowness so much (although I do agree that is dragged a bit, despite being full of awesome concepts). The thing that got me was the ending. I finally got super excited about it and it just… stopped. Gah. Hopefully the next one will be better.

    • lynnsbooks

      I will give the next one a chance but if I’m struggling in the same way I think I just won’t complete it. There are a lot of great concepts so I don’t really know what my issue was with this.
      Lynn 😀

  10. rudejasper

    I had almost exactly the same reservations as you did about the book but was a little less forgiving and will not be picking up book two. The pacing was wonky and despite getting a decent amount of back story on the characters they all felt a little false and unengaging. I think the X Files comparison led to me being doubly disappointed because the strengths of that show were the characters and it’s sense of humor amongst all the dark stuff they dealt with. The book had neither of those things going for it. If you do read book two I’ll be interested to see if it improves!

    • lynnsbooks

      I think it’s never a good idea to liken a book to something else – in this case the X Files – it just raises your expectations and also makes you more critical.
      Lynn 😀

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