Ren e Winters has changed. When she looks in the mirror, a beautiful girl with an older, sadder face stares back. Her condition has doctors mystified, but Ren e can never reveal the truth: she died last May, and was brought back to life by the kiss of her Undead soul mate, Dante Berlin.
Now, her separation from Dante becomes almost unbearable. His second life is close to an end, and each passing day means one less that she will spend with the boy who shares her soul.
Just when Ren e has almost given up hope, she learns of the Nine Sisters-brilliant scholars who, according to legend, found a way to cheat death. She can’t shake the feeling that they are somehow connected to her dreams, strange visions that hint at a discovery so powerful, and so dangerous, that some will stop at nothing to protect it.
Ren e thought she knew the truth about life and death. But there is a secret woven through history that holds the only hope for Dante and Ren e. Unless they find answers soon, their time together is doomed to be cut short.
To start at the end – Yvonne is the master of cliffhanger endings! She did it at the end of Dead Beautiful, and it’s even more cliffhanger-y in Life Eternal! The last chapter is a buildup of action upon action, suspense and mystery, with terror and danger climbing and magnifying, until you’re holding your breath and waiting to see what happens, and then something happens – and then it’s the last sentence. And you turn the page. And that’s it. And now wait for the third book! But who died? And who’s the good guy? And did they get it? And what does it mean? We’ll have to wait and see.
As for the rest of the book – it’s amazing as well. The one thing that bothered me was that Renee trusted her new friends too quickly and shared sensitive information with them too readily, but that was pretty much necessary to get the plot moving. Her new friends are quirky and fun, even with all the darkness going on, and I love the way each one helps her with different parts of her investigation. It definitely doesn’t get boring!
The mystery is woven really intricately, and unfolds slowly as the story progresses. Both mysteries, I should say – the mystery of the Nine Sisters and the mystery of Dante. Renee’s confusion about Dante feels raw and real, and her sense of betrayal screams out from the page. And she follows the clues that the ninth sister left, and finally figures out what it all means, the way a girl who is confused but determined would. But the mystery itself – there are layers upon layers that Yvonne reveals through little snippets, like teacher’s asides in the classroom, chance meetings, Renee’s making connection between things… Things that were set up in Dead Beautiful come back in Life Eternal as part of the mystery – including Eleanor, Renee’s parents, and Miss LaBarge. It all ties together, slowly, steadily.
I love Renee’s relationships with her friends. Her relationship with Dante is not as beautiful as it was in Dead Beautiful, it’s more painful and confusing, but her friends give her that lighthearted side instead. Anya and Noah are both very different from each other, which gives Renee different views of the situation, as I mentioned. It also brings out different parts of her personality that we didn’t see in Dead Beautiful either. As a potential romantic interest, Noah is great. He’s a little suspect at first, and I didn’t like him right away, but I warmed up to him eventually and even though I’m still rooting for Dante, I felt glad that Renee had comfort from Noah