Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Reviewed by Arianne: Eternal Night by Carina Adly MacKenzie.

Product details:
Publisher: Paper Lantern Lit.
eBook, 319 pages.
Release date: August 26th 2014.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Ages: YA
Reviewed by: Arianne.

There are gods among us...

Six young gods are hiding in plain sight among mortals, living secretly in cities across the world. From lavish penthouse soirees to pulsing underground clubs, for them, the party literally never ends. Until now.

On a hot June morning, the body of a beautiful girl is found floating in the rooftop pool of the Jefferson Hotel, her white-ink tattoos revealing the story of a life much longer than seems possible. Only the immortals know the truth: Nadia was the goddess of hope. Now she’s gone, and the world as they know it is ending. The Hudson River has turned blood red. Storms rage overhead. Mania is rapidly spreading across the globe.

It is up to the remaining gods—Lola, Dean, Weston, Mark, Nike and Peitha—to put aside centuries of betrayal and heartbreak, and stop the mysterious source of darkness that is taking over… before the sun sets forever.

Carina Adly MacKenzie, writer for The CW's hit series "The Originals," has penned a steamy, romantic, and ultimately redemptive story of forgotten gods, the persistence of hope, and the power of love to save us.

There is only one way I can describe Eternal Night, and that is as Gossip Girl meets Revenge meets Percy Jackson. (I know, I wouldn't have been able to picture it before I read this book, either.) It’s a tense, glamourous and cinematic take on the classic apocalyptic scenario: the countdown to the end of the word has begun and there are only six people who stand a chance of saving it.

Mark, Nike, Lola, Dean, Weston and Peitha are relics of a different era: immortals no longer at the core of human devotion, hidden in the underground clubs, side streets and black-tie events of the twenty-first century. They make for such a strong cast, it’s impossible not to find a favourite character or three when you’re reading this book. Weston, a god of communication, masquerades as a singer-songwriter superstar with OCD issues. Dean, closely tied with Dionysus, the god of wine, has got a good heart and a serious drinking problem. Peitha was probably my least favourite character simply because her viewpoint is so detached from the others – she’s a kind of Daenerys Targaryen addition, starting out far away but clearly headed for the climactic battle, only less compelling and nowhere near as memorable. Thankfully, my favourite character by far was Lola. Feisty, optimistic and warm, she’s the kind of character who’ll be adored by every kind of reader.

And of course, romance is at the very heart of this book’s priorities. It's everywhere - there's even an LGBT romance - and it’s almost no surprise that I simply can’t choose between my favourite romantic storylines here. Mark and Nike are absolutely brilliant together. A god of war and the goddess of victory? It’s fantastic! They have real history and their relationship is tense and passionate – each is as strong and stubborn as the other – as well as tender and genuine – it’s clear that nobody understands them the way they understand each other. Lola and Jude, on the other hand, are sweeter and more cautious, yet there’s chemistry and humour there, too. I found myself rooting for them right from the beginning.

Unfortunately, one of the issues I had with the book stemmed from MacKenzie’s characterisation and treatment of Jude. In a way, he answers the call for more diversity in books as he’s blind and shows that characters with disabilities can be just as engaging and crush-worthy as able-bodied characters. Yet the way he’s written by MacKenzie speaks of inaccuracy, lack of realism, little or no research, and let’s face it, laziness. There are several instances where he’s described as responding to Lola’s facial expressions or movements, even when she’s not talking and he’s on the other side of the room. Um, what? I have no problem with characters being perceptive but that’s just ridiculous. And, as always when a blind character becomes involved with mythology, he’s given psychic ‘second sight’ powers.  Could you be any more predictable? Isn’t there any other way for someone with visual impairment to be involved with a high stakes action story, or must authors forever resort to frankly sickening clichés? This also applies to instances of misogyny in the book and the writing style, which was full of brand names and just didn’t feel as original as the book’s premise warranted.

Speaking of high stakes, I think it’s important to mention that the plot of Eternal Night is occasionally a little threadbare. It may have something to do with the fact that the characters continue to attend parties and agonise over their beautiful clothes even when the world is ending right outside the window. However, what little plot does exist is excellent and totally electrifying; the pieces fall into place like a puzzle. I read the book in one sitting and I can’t wait to read more from the series.

In short: Eternal Night is one of the most sensational books I’ve read all year. It’s dramatic, stylish and utterly addictive. It wasn’t perfect but it gets a really high four stars from me.


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