The Eternity Cure - Julie Kagawa Thank you NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book!Actual rating: 4.5 StarsWARNING: Contains spoilers from the first book, The Immortal Rules, and will also contain minor spoilers for this book as well."You will always be a monster––there is no turning back from it. But what kind of monster you become is entirely up to you."In the second Blood of Eden book, we find our protagonist, Allie, on a journey to find Kanin, her sire (that is, the vampire who turned her into a vampire). She has left Zeke behind in Eden––the safe haven for humans in a vampire-infested world––and realizes that she will probably never see him again. On her quest, Allie makes an unexpected ally out of someone she thought was her enemy. And soon, her quest becomes more than a search for Kanin––but also for a potential cure for the Red Death.The Immortal Rules was a very pleasant surprise for me; I was expecting another clichéd vampire/romance/dystopian story, and was happy to instead become wrapped up in a much darker, more action-packed story than I expected. The romance was a bit corny, but otherwise I found it to be a solid start to a series, and as soon as I finished it I was already dying for the sequel.So, when this book became available on NetGalley I requested it straightaway. And the next day when I checked my email and saw my request had been approved, I squealed out loud. Literally. I squealed. It was this moment of like, "OH MY GOD. I HAVE IT. I … I CAN READ IT RIGHT NOW."Of course, sequels always make me a bit nervous, and they always come with a fear that the author won't be able to meet my expectations––but in this case, I thought Julie Kagawa delivered.A lot of what I liked about the first book was still apparent in the second; it was fast-paced and exciting (in the second half, anyway … the beginning was a tad slow), Allie was a badass, it was terrifying and violent … yay!I thought that, in terms of character development, this installment did really well. Allie has become steadily more badass, and also we see her struggling between her past (human) life and her new (vampire) life. She does fall in love and whatnot, but romance doesn't stop her from doing what she has to do, either––and I think that's a very admirable trait that I'd like to see in more YA heroines. I was glad that Kanin returned in this one. It made me sad when he was only in the beginning of the first book, because I thought he seemed like a really cool character. When at the very end of the first book Allie was like, "Oh no, I have to go find Kanin!" I was like "AW YEAH MOTHERFUCKER" because I knew that meant he would (most likely) become a more important character in the second book … and I was right!So, Kanin did become a more prominent character in this book, and he was a total BAMF. But not only that, but I liked that his more sensitive side came out as well. It was nice to see that he really cared about Allie (and vice versa) because I don't think that was quite as apparent in the first book. In this one, we could really see that the two of them are very important to each other and that there's a very interesting and powerful dynamic between them. Their reunion scene was more intense and emotional than I expected. Oh man, I didn't expect it to get to me so much, but I was like …It was so great.I was also happy to see Jackal become a more interesting character. In The Immortal Rules he seemed like such a two-dimensional villain … and honestly, I barely remembered anything about him. But in The Eternity Cure, his backstory and motivations become a lot clearer––not only that, but his personality really comes out. He's pretty damn annoying really, and at first I hated him … but after a while he grew on me, and I really liked him by the end of the book.Spoilers about two other characters:I didn't see Stick's betrayal coming … and I guess that's because he was such a minor character in the first book. I still think he could have been a much more interesting character, but I was at least glad to see him come back again.As for Zeke … honestly, part of me was a little pissed off that he was in this book at all. When Allie left him behind in Eden, at the end of the first book, I was kind of glad in a way. I was excited to see Allie set off on her own and become a more independent character. And while I still think she's quite independent, it annoyed me a little to have Zeke tagging along behind her. It also seemed a bit too convenient that they ran into each other to begin with. Also, as a character, I just don't find him that compelling. He's kind of a Gary Stu. I mean … in this book he was like freaking dying for most of it and he'd just be like, "Oh no, oh don't worry about me, I'm fine! *HACK HACK COUGH COUGH* Don't mind me, coughing up blood." So yeah, I just don't find him to be particularly interesting or believable. Maybe he'll get more interesting in the third book.Oh yeah, I'm also glad that there wasn't a love triangle in this book. I was kind of starting to fear something would happen involving Kanin or even Jackal, but fortunately … no. So, I'm glad it hasn't gone down that clichéd route (at least, not yet).So, over all, I thought this was a very strong sequel––exciting, compelling, and with some great character development. I'm eagerly awaiting the third book!--------------------Now! I just wanted to rant about the cover art for a minute.There was a lot of controversy over the cover of the first book. Basically, Allie is supposed to be of Asian descent, and a girl who appeared to be Caucasian was displayed on the cover of The Immortal Rules––not to assume anything about the model's race, but … she just looked very not-Asian to me, and I soon saw in a lot of other reviews that other people had noticed this and were angered by it:I was really hoping that the publisher would apologize for this, and that an Asian girl would appear on the cover of the second book. I was also hoping that, when a paperback version of the first book came out, the model's ethnicity would be changed. Instead, when the paperback came out, and the second book came out, these were the new covers:Julie Kagawa wrote a post about this fiasco on her blog. She claims that apparently the publisher thought these covers look "more dystopian" and that the cover for the first book was changed because it was misleading readers into thinking it was just a typical vampire romance, etc. And okay, I sort of see a point there, because I did think the first cover made it look a lot cornier. But it still seemed to me like they were maybe avoiding putting an Asian person on the cover of their book. So I'm like, "Oh, maybe I'm just being paranoid …" But if you read further into that above blog post, Kagawa says:"Also, a new cover model was chosen, one who correctly represents Allie, and will either appear on the back of the cover, or on the inside flap."ON THE BACK OF THE COVER, OR ON THE INSIDE FLAP???!!!Are. You. Fucking. Kidding. Me. When have you ever picked up a book where the main character was only depicted on the back of the cover (and does that mean on the back of the book, or does that literally mean her face is hidden on the inside of the dust jacket?) or on the inside flap? Because I can never think of a time I have ever seen that on a book … ever. Ever.So, I'm pretty sure I'm not just being paranoid here. The publisher is obviously avoiding showing an Asian girl on the front cover of their book. And frankly, that disgusts me. It really does. Well, that's about all I've got to say on that matter. I love these books, but the cover art really pisses me off.