I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Point on May 26, 2015
Source: the publisher
From master of suspense Paula Morris comes a tale of gods and goddesses, thrilling romance, and mystery set in present-day Rome.
Laura Martin is visiting Rome on a class trip, and she's entranced by the majestic Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon. . . . Everything in this city seems magical.
That is, until the magic seems to turn very dark.
Suddenly, statues of Cupid and ancient works of art come to life before her eyes. Earthquakes rumble and a cloud of ash forms in the sky. A dark-eyed boy with wings on his heels appears and gives her a message. Laura soon realizes she is at the center of a brewing battle -- a battle between the gods and goddesses, one that will shake modern-day Rome to its core.
Only she and her group of friends can truly unravel the mystery behind what is happening. As tensions mount and secret identities are revealed, Laura must rely on her own inner strength to face up to what may be a fight for her life.
Acclaimed author Paula Morris brings the ancient world to vivid life in this unstoppable tale of friendship, love, and the power of the past.
The Eternal City was my fourth Paula Morris book – I read Ruined, Unbroken and Dark Souls many years ago and really enjoyed them. So when I heard about The Eternal City, I was so excited! Paula Morris + Roman Gods = Need!!!! Though I really enjoyed the setting (Rome!!!) and the mythology, the characters felt flat and hard to connect with and I had a hard time keeping track of all of them. Since I’m used to Morris’s writing style, I expected some of this and it didn’t dampen my desire to read The Eternal City, though it did take longer than expected to get through it.
Morris has a tendency to throw you into the story, head first, without any fluff. I love stories that get right into the action and I loved all the mythology in the prologue; however, I hate to say it, but I was very confused! I had to read the prologue slowly, writing down every God, who they were, what their relation was to the other God’s mentioned, etc. And chapter one was a bit convoluted, with all the characters we met and a small amount of info dump, as well.
Laura didn’t really stand out, as far as main characters go. She sort of went through the motions and that was it. She wasn’t a completely helpless Damsel in Distress, but she needed a lot of protecting and she didn’t demand too many answers, just stumbled on them as she went and as needed. She was likeable enough that I kept reading, but I definitely felt disconnected from her and her story.
I really liked Maia. There was something intriguing about her and I always felt there was more to her than she was letting on. I was a little less trusting of Sofie, though I definitely had a strange feeling about her – but I always thought it was a BAD feeling, until near the end. Maia and Sofie were definitely my favorite characters.
I had so much trouble keeping track of the guys. I think Dan was the only one that I could remember, since he was Laura’s crush. I also kept picturing him as Michael Welch in Twilight (So, like a puppy dog that thinks he has claws, hehe). I liked the slow build between him and Laura (no insta-love here), but I didn’t really feel the chemistry between them.
One thing that really threw me was that Laura’s best friend was almost never around. Usually, in this kind of story, the best friend is around for the whole adventure, despite one or two small (or huge) arguments. But Morgan wasn’t and that made me sad. Overall, I just felt a huge disconnect with all of the characters except Maia and Sofie – and even then, it was hard to trust them enough to truly like them.
The writing was very blunt and to the point, with very little fluff and some info dumping in places. As I mentioned, that’s a bit typical of this author’s writing style, so I knew what to expect, but honestly… if this had been my first Paula Morris book, I don’t think I would have been able to finish it – Or I would have finished it, but given it 3 stars instead of 4 stars. There was just too much of a disconnect with the characters and story.
The mythology in this book is what fascinated me the most. Books with Greek Mythology are like my Book Drug of Choice! Since I haven’t read as many books with Roman mythology, I feel like I learned a lot from this book, which made it fascinating! That, above everything else, kept me reading and is the reason this book still earned 4 stars from me, despite the (many) issues mentioned in my review.
If you haven’t read any of Paula Morris’s books, I ask that you have patience with The Eternal City. It’s hard to connect with the characters and the pace is a bit slow, but the plot is intriguing and the Roman Mythology is epic. I’d also recommend reading Ruined and Unbroken first – I think Morris’s writing was way better in those and they will ease you into her writing style, so you might enjoy The Eternal City more.
But overall, I still really enjoyed it and I hope Paula Morris comes out with another book very, very soon! I really enjoy the worlds she creates and the settings of her books (Rome! New Orleans! York, England!) are always amazing and intriguing!