Review: Eternal Hunger by Ainsley Evans

eternal-hungerReviewed by Ronelle

Malcolm MacRoyce has lived a long, long time. Longer than any man should. And he’s passed the centuries as a bitter, lonely creature of the night bent on vengeance. The year is now 1860 and Malcolm finds himself in London on the night of the Masked Ball, feeding on the sick and hunting a killer.

Emily Adams is a dead woman walking. In spite of that, she’s determined to accomplish two things before she dies, to visit her mother’s grave in Florence and to be kissed by a man. The night of the Masked Ball seems the perfect opportunity to accomplish the latter while pretending she is someone she can never be.

After a chance meeting in a shadowy garden, Emily and Malcolm can’t deny their mutual attraction…even if it stems from very different realities. When he looks at Emily, Malcolm sees the reincarnation of his dead wife and the opportunity to seek vengeance for a five-hundred-year-old betrayal. Emily sees in Malcolm the opportunity to accomplish both of her goals while living the remaining months of her life in happiness.

The only things they seem to have in common are that neither is being honest and both are keeping secrets.

***

This was a hard review for me to write, because even though I enjoyed Eternal Hunger for the unique story it was, a lot of things just didn’t sit well with me. Sure, there’s a HEA, but the way it came about felt rushed, contrived, and anticlimactic. It was almost as if Ms. Evans was so wrapped up in finding a way—any way—for Malcolm and Emily to stay together that everything else (including believability and the plot) fell by the wayside. It was fairly disappointing.

I did not like either Emily or Malcolm for a good portion of the story. I understood, somewhat, why they did/said/acted as they did, but it didn’t make them any more relatable or their actions any less frustrating. There was a lot of pulling away mid-tryst and mind-changing between the two of them. I’d rather see a slow but consistent build as opposed to the start-stop method employed by Ms. Evans.

And while this novel was littered with typos, plagued by inconsistent brogue, and drug out by the mercurial nature of the main characters, those weren’t the things that bothered me the most. I know, I know; usually those are my biggest complaint as a reviewer. But in the case of Eternal Hunger, they were almost secondary issues. Ms. Evans introduced so many elements that could have made for an extraordinarily complex and intriguing story… then abandoned them without sufficient development.

I wanted to know more about the murders, Saïd, what happened to Nora, the MacRoyces, and the MacKeiths after Malcolm left for the Holy Land, and the well that made Malcolm and his brothers-in-arms into vampires. The fleshing-out of these elements would have helped balance the plot with the romance. Don’t get me wrong, that aspect was great, but the way Eternal Hunger is described in its blurb led me to believe I was getting more than just a romance. And while I appreciated the HEA, I felt like a lot of revelations were just thrown at me at the last minute with little explanation or buildup.

On the plus side, the eventual connection and understanding that grew between Malcolm and Emily kept me reading. I wanted to know what happened to them and hoped they’d stay together in spite of the odds and Emily’s impending demise. Henley was a sinister presence in the background that leant some urgency to the story as well, as did the mysterious ‘she’ that was occasionally mentioned. There were some great elements to this story; I just wanted more of them.

Bottom line: Eternal Hunger is, in my experience, a unique Victorian paranormal romance. Recommended for lovers of vampiric Scotsmen, paranormal historical romances, and life-or-death stakes.

Rating: B-

Click to purchase: Amazon

Eternal Hunger
by Ainsley Evans
Release Date: October 28, 2016
Publisher: May Books

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