Across Eternity, written by Aris Whittier, is the story of Logan (a wealthy, genius businessman) who has been waiting all of his life for his one love, Amber (an beautiful waitress), to return to him during his current reincarnation. Logan always remembers Amber from life to life, but she does not remember him. When he finds her, he arranges for their eyes to meet, and the attraction is overwhelming on both sides.
Reincarnated lovers! I mean, wow. Think of the things you could do with that premise: scenes from past lives might break through into the current one and complicate the story, or an unresolved conflict from a hundred years ago could almost keep them apart. Maybe Amber thinks Logan is attractive but completely bonkers for suggesting they have been together for hundreds of years, and he has to woo her in creative ways until she finally understands!
But nope, none of the above – instead, until the book is three fourths complete, the entire story consists of two people thinking about how wonderful the other one is and doing a lot of repetitive talking to each other about how they are irresistibly drawn together. I will admit to some exaggeration about lack of storyline — the story also includes some kissing, several really tasty-sounding meals, a walk on the beach, and brief, obligatory conversation about family backgrounds. Additionally, Logan constantly hopes that Amber will remember their past lives together so that she will be ready for something important he needs to tell her.
I kept waiting for something more – maybe for either of the characters to develop a personality? For something, anything, to happen other than Mary Sue and Marty Stu longing for each other and endlessly telling each other about it? Yes, any of that would have been a welcome relief.
I like a good Romance, I do. But this novel has no tension, no conflict, no resistance by either party to the immediate overwhelming attraction, no stories from the apparent hundreds of years of romantic involvement, no interaction with other characters who may wish to interfere with the loved-up duo; in short, none of the possible elements that could have made it a worthwhile read. I was bored out of my flippin’ mind.
At around the 75% mark in the book, the story got better. I’m not saying it got good, but it was no longer droningly dull. There were finally more characters interacting, in the form of Logan’s family, which added some additional breadth to the story. Then, almost as soon as it had stopped being a thoroughly boring story, it turned into a mildly affecting tearjerker. After all that monotonous build up, not even an obligatory Romance genre “Happily Ever After”. This novel should have been a long short story, with a great deal of judicious editing up front. As a novel, it doesn’t contain enough tension or conflict to sustain the length of the book.
The book also has a number of editing errors. Forty-two of them leapt right out at me and could not be avoided. I try hard not to proofread unless someone is paying me, so it is always discouraging when I feel like I am being forced into it. The errors include missing words and punctuation marks, verbs in the wrong case, homonym problems, and grammatically incorrect usage of commas and apostrophes. Forty-two errors are more than I want to stumble over in a book that is sold as a finished product. (The staff of Indieheart even got together at site launch to write a post titled “Readers Deserve Respect” about this very issue.)
I never enjoy writing an overly critical review of a book. I understand that authors work long and hard on their creations and put a great deal of passion into them. I like self-published authors and want to encourage them whenever I can. However, I also think readers deserve an honest review, even if that review is necessarily harsh. As a reader, you should be aware that Across Eternity is not what you are looking for unless you enjoy books with Mary Sue characters (some people do) in which nothing much happens. There are so many other books you can spend your money on in which an interesting premise pays off and editing errors don’t pull you out of the story.