Book Review: Eternity by Maggie Shayne

6baad4c8166fb3b89d4ff0a592bfab85300 years ago, Raven St. James was hanged for witchcraft. But she revives among the dead to find herself alive. She is an Immortal High Witch, one of the light. A note from her mother warns that there are others, those of the Dark, who preserve their own lives by taking the hearts of those like her.

Duncan Wallace’s forbidden love for the secretive lass costs him his life.

300 years later, he loves her again, tormented by hazy memories of a past that can’t be real. She tells him of another lifetime, claims to be immortal. Though he knows she’s deluded, he can’t stay away. And the Dark Witch after her heart is far closer than either of them know.

After reading and loving the Once Upon a Time boxed set by Maggie Shayne, I was super excited to find her book Eternity free on Smashwords. But while I liked it a lot, I didn’t like it as much as Once Upon a Time. Perhaps my expectations were too high.

Raven and her sister Arianna are both good characters. I like Raven’s spirit and loyalty a lot, as well as Arianna’s sass.  Duncan is pretty fine himself. His devotion to Raven is incredibly sexy and I’ve always enjoyed a good Scottish brogue myself. In one scene, she heals him from a fever while trying to keep her identity a secret from him. That is a very delicious scene and it’s one of the first real tastes of magic we see. Gotta love that scene, as well as reading about Duncan trying to protect Raven in the Americas.

But the initial meeting was a little lacking.  Sure, it’s pretty powerful, having Duncan speak up on Raven’s behalf and then quit the Catholic church for her. I love the compassion he shows there, despite Raven telling him to stop before he’s hanged himself.

But they’re practically in love within two minutes of meeting each other. Sure, that would be fine if Raven, unaware of her immense power, accidentally put a spell on him. But she didn’t. There’s no real explanation for their insta-love. The most we get is their souls recognized each other. Yippee.

The insta-love wasn’t necessary, either. A young, idealistic man can be sickened by an execution without being in love with her. There was plenty of time to introduce more romantic feelings later.

Duncan and Raven in the Americas are excellent together, though. I wish we had seen more of them in the seventeenth century.  Because Duncan in the twentieth is bland.

There’s no better word for it, really.  He’s bland. Modern-day Duncan is easily confused and manipulated and even after he gets memories from his past life, he still doesn’t believe Raven when she tells him of their past. It takes him forever to realize Raven’s not mentally unbalanced and actually knows what she’s talking about.

There is a second book with Raven’s sister, Arianna. Even though I was a little disappointed in this book, I still might buy Infinity. After all, this wasn’t even close to being a bad book. It’s certainly well-written and entertaining. Now that my expectations for Maggie Shayne’s work has gotten a reality check– honestly, any book she wrote would have been a letdown after the two amazing love stories in Once Upon a Time.

So if you like fantasy love stories, you’ll probably like Eternity by Maggie Shayne. You can get it for free on Smashwords.

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