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Cinders & Rime (The Eternal Series)

Rating: 2.5/5

Cinders & Rime is the start of the Eternal Series and I have to admit that I was left very confused for most of the time I was reading this one. I think my review is going to reflect that so bear with me some. What is the book about? I am still a little unsure to be honest. But it has all the different types of supernatural entities you can think of. We have a wide range of vampires, angels, fairies, witches, sorceresses, sorcerers, werewolves, elements, and even mermaids. All these creatures reside in Velosia, which has recently begun to recover from a decades long war that has pitted the different races against one another. So the solution? Open a school for the elite teenagers to attend to learn about one another. Yet, unknown to the students and teachers a nefarious scheme is in the works which could threaten their world and their newly forming relationships. Soon Asria finds her life in danger. Will her new friendships be enough to help her? Will the teachers of these students ever come completely clean about the events of the war? Can the different races work together or will Velosia experience another war?

The book starts off by introducing us to our main character Asria when she is 5 years old. In this introduction we are presented with a lot of information, most of which doesn't make a lot of sense. Everything is sort of shrouded with mystery and leaves you asking more questions than you would expect. I realize that world building is necessary for a novel that starts a series but it was almost halfway into this novel that we really begin to delve into the mechanics of the main world our characters inhabit. We get a lot of time focused on Asria and her father's life in London which doesn't actually turn out to be where the main action takes place.

After an introduction to our characters that doesn't actually tell us much of anything, the story jumps ahead to when Asria is 18 and about to graduate high school. We still don't have any of the earlier questions answered and its a while into the story before we are at the Academy and begin to explore the worlds of the various beings who live there. At this time the novel picks up a little in that the storyline becomes more interesting, but no less confusing. We see that one of the teachers is extremely interested in Asria's abilities. Yet each time she uses her magic she finds herself getting weaker and weaker. Her father is kind of oblivious to everything that is happening with her, which is a huge shift in his character development at the start of the novel when he was overly protective.

A number of elements are thrown into the story that hold some significance but even when they are central to the plot, the importance is vague and confusing to an extent. The cohesiveness of the novel is not really present as the transitions happen so randomly and without warning that sometimes you aren't sure what is going on for a few paragraphs. Characters are just randomly introduced into conversations and narration like we have been aware of them the whole time. A lot of the major action towards the end feels rushed when compared to less important scenes. The major plot point felt like a side story which was not even fully resolved by the end of the novel before moving back to the minor plot points.

Asria and her father both have powers that seem to come out of nowhere and aren't addressed. At the start of the novel a legend is being read to her which we don't get in full and aren't aware is important again until the end of the novel when its briefly mentioned again. The end of the novel seemed so carefree when compared to the level of action that took place towards the end. I enjoyed the supernatural creatures in this novel but felt that because there were so many, much of their background and importance when unexplored and made them almost irrelevant. Ultimately with this one I found myself struggling to keep up with the plot and feeling that something was missing the whole time. I think potential existed for a great story and just got lost along the way. Hopefully the next book in the series will be able to examine the individual supernaturals and clarify some of the confusing aspects of this novel.

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