Our favorite Victorian paranormal research teams are back this week, with Book 2 of the Eterna Files! Back in January, I posted about how much I loved The Eterna Files, the first book in Leanna Renee Hieber’s latest series. Tomorrow, August 9th, the story continues with the release of Eterna and Omega. I’ll be attending the New York City book launch event this Thursday at the Morris-Jumel Mansion. If you’re going, come say hi! If you’re not in NYC but still want a signed copy, WORD bookstore is offering signed and personalized copies for preorder! You can also find it on Amazon or at your local bookstore starting tomorrow.
Eterna and Omega picks up right where The Eterna Files left off, finally giving some closure to that cliffhanger. After Clara Templeton rouses from her seizure in the graveyard, she must learn how to carry on Louis’s work and use the discoveries of the Eterna team to fight against unimaginable evil. While the Americans are developing a magical means of protection, the Omega team over in Great Britain begins to realize that the recent string of grisly murders is part of something much bigger than they initially thought. The two teams commissioned to find immortality must come together to meet a more imminent threat. Rose Everhart, Lord Black, and their band of paranormal circus performers ship off to America to investigate. Initially suspicious of each other, the British and American teams must learn to trust and work together, combining their strengths, if they want to have any hope of defeating the evil descending on both continents. The action travels back and forth across the Atlantic as our heroes battle evil on two fronts.
A special treat is thrown in for followers of Leanna Renee Hieber’s works. Characters from each of her other series make an appearance in Eterna and Omega. Evelyn Northe-Stewart, who was first introduced to us in the Magic Most Foul series has already established her role in the Eterna Files as Clara’s idol and mentor, and her involvement steps up considerably in the second book. Lord Denbury from Magic Most Foul also plays a small role in Eterna and Omega, and even Natalie makes a brief cameo. More unexpectedly, all six original members of the Guard from her Strangely Beautiful series make an appearance, giving us a peak at their lives before the events of Strangely Beautiful. While these allusions to her other works will certainly delight longtime fans, such significant additions to an already impressive cast of characters may feel a little overwhelming to new readers.
Despite having so many characters to follow, Leanna ensures that each one is given a chance to grow and develop. Clara comes into her immense spiritual power while learning how to manage her seizures. Rose finds kinship and opens herself up to interpersonal relationships. Spire struggles with his skepticism as magic unfurls before his eyes. Lord Black brings his secrets out into the open and trusts his friends to accept him. Andre matures and finally takes on the responsibility of living up to his brother’s legacy. Friendships are born and romances blossom, reminding me just how much I love the way Leanna writes about relationships. Especially important to Eterna and Omega is the role of close female friendship, a topic that is often neglected, especially in works involving romance, but which Leanna handles so well.
One of the most interesting characters in Eterna and Omega is Moriel, the main villain—known to his followers as Majesty. Moriel is motivated by a desire to return to the aristocracy and feudalism of the Middle Ages. I found this interesting in terms of Gothic fiction, which often wishes to do the same. A staple of the Gothic genre is nostalgia for the romance of the Medieval era. But Moriel wants to bring back the worst elements of feudalism by subjugating the lower classes and crowning himself above all the rest. Leanna rejects this obsession with feudalism and instead celebrates the modernity of the Victorian era with its new technology and industries, but most importantly with its social advances and the stirrings of new movements for equality and justice. As in the first book, Leanna adeptly engages with important issues like equality for women, as well as for people of all races, sexual orientations, and religions, and shows how these issues fit into a Victorian context.
I certainly recommend that you check out Eterna and Omega, along with any of Leanna’s other works. Share your thoughts and feelings in the comments, and definitely let me know if you’ll be attending any launch events!