Sunday, February 24, 2013

8 Heart Review: Blood Eternal by Marie Treanor

Blood Eternal (Awakened by Blood #3)
Marie Treanor

Page Count: 342

Release Date: 4 October 2011
Publisher: Signet Eclipse (NAL; Penguin)
Source: Complimentary copy provided by publisher, via Bewitching Book Tours, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you both!)
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Everything comes to light someday...

Elizabeth Silk is struggling to reconcile her passion for the vampire overlord Saloman and her allegiance to the vampire hunters. When a shocking vampire revolt calls Saloman away from her, she refuses to follow him.

To make matters worse, Saloman's beloved cousin Luk has been found and awakened by one of his greatest enemies. Frenzied with bloodlust, Luk embarks on a killing spree and prepares to expose Saloman's biggest vulnerability: Elizabeth.

But under Saloman's regime, vampires have become less concerned with secrecy, no longer willing to hide their power. Rumors are swirling about attacks on humans. After Saloman joins forces with the vampire hunters to consolidate his power, Elizabeth begins to understand her role in the inevitable collision of the two worlds. She could bring resolution between vampires and humans—if she can manage to stay alive long enough to play both sides...

Review


Missed my reviews on the first books in the series? You might want to read them first!

In the midst of Saloman's tumultuous, forbidden romance with the wickedly smart and vulnerably human Elizabeth Silk, there is one thing on the powerful Ancient's mind: to see the world change, to see the vampires be brought out to the open and live in the human world. His strategy is carefully calculated and involves the gradual education of humans in order to achieve tolerance and cooperation, but his Ancient cousin, Luk's unexpected awakening, may veer him off his path.

I absolutely devoured this third and final installment of Marie Treanor's Awakened by Blood series... I am definitely pining for more, and am distressed by the fact that there IS no more. I would recommend readers of the first two books to pick this one up, just because Blood Eternal picks off and concludes where Blood Sin left off.

Recent vampire revolts risk Elizabeth and Saloman losing each other, which makes Saloman all the more determined to maintain order within the dynamic of vampires slowly cohabiting with humans in the real world. In the end, however, his mission uncovers one startling, anticipated truth: that as much as both he and Elizabeth want and need eternal love, she is thoroughly human, and it is her humanity that makes her so valuable to both him and to the world. She indeed, is his weakness; her loving, frail humanity, compassion, intelligence, wit, vulnerability, sweetness, bravery, and overthought are what make him falter. She is simultaneously his strength, his stamina, his moral guidance; he needs her to survive. As much as he wants to love her forever, he knows she belongs in the light, and he, in the shadows. Through her and through opening up to her, he painfully learns and relearns both his identity and the sheer, melancholy truism that in love, nothing can ever, ever be perfect.

The emotional anguish and unfeasibility of the romance is so well-conveyed. Blood Eternal tugged at my heartstrings and left me aching inside. Elizabeth is Saloman's lifeline, but when the deranged and furious Luk realizes she is also his demise, he'll do anything to fulfill his early prophecies and use her as the missing piece to Saloman's complete destruction. It's possible their love may be strong enough to change Luk's predictions and in turn, change Luk's insanity itself, but it's also possible their love could ultimately lead to the sacrifice of one of them... or both of them, in time.

The entire novel surrounds the internal battle for Elizabeth's trust, from both the perspectives of Saloman and the single-minded vampire hunters who lover her as much as he does. Saloman's adverse effects surface clearly, not only to Elizabeth's friends, but also to Elizabeth herself; it is obvious that he is whittling away her human life—she has no sense of normal anymore—which is causing her to lose her principles. It's interesting how Treanor adds Elizabeth's confusion with her identity in this last novel, because readers previously thought she had such a good grip on it before. The importance of loving herself first—the self that Saloman fell in love with and the self that could temper his inhumanity and make his domination more like cooperation—is brought to light. She is not the only one who needs her humanity—the world needs it too. If she lost who she was, there would be more lives at risk than she could ever imagine.

One of my favorite aspects of Blood Eternal was the slow, painful unraveling of Saloman—what made him a vampire, and what made the weaknesses he has today. Luk's mentally insane and dangerous resurrection reveals another one of Saloman's vulnerabilities; his agonizing past is explored and his weaknesses tested. I loved how he was finally able to bare himself to Elizabeth, as well as bare a part of her she never knew existed. The unearthing of secrets and deep desires makes it difficult to distinguish the vampire and human races by much. Saloman's compassion is heart-wrenching; that a being so evil could feel emotions so loving, is tragic, and is what makes him so damn perfect for Elizabeth. I'm devastated there's no more of Saloman to read about—am experiencing severe Saloman withdrawal symptoms. Bloody fictional characters!

The return of old vampires we've grown to love and new one's we'll come to hate ushers a violent, willful ultimate battle will determine their fate... that is, if they make it out alive. Victory in the raging vampire war will spark a new millenium of Ancients for the greater good of both humans and vampires, while defeat will end the world as they know it. 

Pros


More thrilling romantically, action-wise, and emotionally // Mystery shrouding Saloman is finally cleared // Entire cast of vampires and hunters alike unite // Witty, deliberate writing style // Saloman and Elizabeth are both perfectly lovable // Fast-paced and action-packed // Sizzling, sensual, as always // The impossibility of a vampire-human relationship is heartbreaking // Quirky, amusing dialogue // Ending that leaves me wanting more!!!!

Cons


Drags on at times // Glamorization of vampires gets out of hand: medical prowess? Spell-casting? Protectional powers? Foresight of natural disasters?? I found it to be way too much.

Love

"We walk a bit of a tightrope, you and I," [Elizabeth] whispered. "I overbalance and overcompensate..."

"But you don't, fall." Never fall...
The stake [Elizabeth] always carried lay on the bedside table. "What's this?" Saloman had said, apparently amused. "In case I get too rough?"

"In case you stop."

Verdict


Gripping, full of blood and kickassery and action, and emotionally doleful, Blood Eternal is a thrilling continuation of Elizabeth and Saloman's struggle to stay in the light together... even at the risk of losing themselves completely within their love. The tradeoff in their relationship—her impairment of his judgment that renders him sensitive and his disarming of her grounded values—accurately portray the pain of their love that is impossible to either bear or to forsake. He could die with her, ending his existence and all the good he could do for the world, or she could die for him, and go on forever; either way, one of them will lose what they most need. Somehow though, readers will maintain hope that their decision will, in the end, be for the better—whether Elizabeth and Saloman stay together, or not. Blood Sin is a riveting, satisfying, and completely addicting conclusion to a beloved vampire tale that will stay in readers' hearts for a long time to come Americanflag

8 hearts: An engaging read; highly recommended (x)