The Eternal Reflection Book 2: The Ei’lari Legacy – Aquila Goh

*I received a free DRC of this book, with thanks to the author. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*

Blurb: Book 2 of 12:

Ei’lara. It is an ancient tongue that harbors the universe’s spiritual and philosophical wisdom.

Ni’vim, an unsure and pensive avian girl, is ravaged by the massacre of her people. No longer does her hometown, Phos’rrah, exist. She now lives in Hoskiuros, a village blazing with racism and religious bigotry.

Many see her as an outcast because of her curse, called the white malady, and covet her death.

Powerless but resolute, she vows to unravel Ei’lara. While she trains with her mentor to harness the tongue’s secrets, she faces many sinister challenges.

Ni’vim begins descending into darkness during her journey after making an irreversible moral choice.

However, somewhere in Ei’lara lies the secrets that may dispel the illusion of the material world and help her rise above her evilness—

If she can decipher and wield the tongue, she may avert tragedy and staunch the flames of hatred and bigotry.

Will Ni’vim survive her attackers, unravel the language, overcome all obstacles, and overpower the hatred within her?

Or will she sink further into darkness until hatred consumes her?

Firstly: definitely read book 1, Zelkova Rising, first! These books have been written to form a long, cohesive narrative arc, then broken into smaller, digestible volumes, but you won’t get the full picture of story, setting, characters or the underpinning spiritual morality without following Ni’vim’s journey through from beginning to end.

Next: keep a pen and paper handy while you read! Even with the ‘highlight’ feature on my Kindle, I’ve never made so many notes as I have while reading these books. There are lots of moral and religious ideas presented, along with symbols and diagrams, and relevant quotations – it is a lot to absorb, and requires the reader to bring attention and focus to their reading.

Now to the story.

We find Ni’vim where we left her at the end of the previous book, but where she was filled with determination to power on with her quest, now she is filled with doubt and hatred. This is exacerbated by her persecution by members of her new village, who are afraid of the ‘white malady’ she carries.

There follows some exploration of monotheistic religion in juxtaposition with Ni’vim’s more reasoning-based ideas of spirituality, covering ideas of dogma, ritual, blind faith vs. tangible proof, and so on. This is revisited throughout the story as one of the village’s religious leaders, Tema, and Ni’vim find themselves taking up oppositional viewpoints.

More exploration of Ni’vim’s belief system is also presented through her training with Shanyrria, who takes up the mentor mantle from Ni’vim’s father, but offers much more hands-on learning, as Ni’vim has to face up to physical representations of her own inner ‘demons’. And this is the core of the plotline here. Ni’vim is full of hatred, anger, fear and grief after her experiences so far and her desire for revenge on those who have hurt her continually overpowers her ability to think rationally and follow the tenets her teachers encourage her to adhere to.

What could be more relatable?! Who hasn’t doubted their beliefs, or raged against their God/the world/a particular, blameworthy individual when faced with a terrible loss or defeat? Who hasn’t imagined that paying back someone who hurt us will help soothe that pain? It is hard to imagine being faced by someone who killed a loved one and greeting that individual with love and understanding, whatever religious or spiritual beliefs we adhere to in better, calmer times. But that is the crux of what is being discussed here. Without finding a way to lay those darker feelings to rest, how can any of us live in the light we wish to – whether that be the light of a specific religion, or simply a ‘good’, peaceful life?

This is not to say I necessarily agree with every idea presented here. Ni’vim battles various representations that are fairly easy to interpret as various mental illnesses, including depression and schizophrenia, and the narrative advice is that such illnesses of the mind can be controlled by willpower, meditation and positive thinking, and that medication is not required. I don’t agree, and feel that both approaches have an important role in treating mental illness and that medication can be literally lifesaving when used appropriately and under the care of appropriate medical professionals. My agreement is not necessary though, for me to still appreciate the value of this book/series; as Ni’vim eventually begins to learn, we can disagree respectfully and learn from each others viewpoints, and by reading the ideas Aquila Goh offers, I can challenge and develop my own beliefs.

I feel that the moral lessons are more smoothly integrated in this instalment than in the previous book, with the ideas being presented alongside the action rather than moving back and forth between the two. There is more worldbuilding detail here too about the history of various races and the White Malady, and the way that the magic functions, and the author helpfully provides detailed resources at the back of the book for both worldbuilding (years, months, seasons etc) and analysis (summaries, themes, plot arcs).

While the majority of the characters here are (necessarily) new, Ni’vim remains our constant and yet continues to constantly develop and evolve as we witness her journey to enlightenment. And I definitely feel like I am learning alongside her. This is not an easy read at all, but it is both educational and enjoyable and I am interested to see how the author continues to develop his ideas and main character as the series progresses.

‘Forgive one’s transgressor. Perhaps I have indeed erred by holding on to hate. It was time, I felt, to learn how to un-hate. It was just pointless to persist in the immorality that I have engaged in. There is no point in killing; there is no point in harming. To do so is to hurt me. It is the ultimate paradox, for it means that the cosmic mind will lend to its eradication. It cannot do so, as there is nothing else. Everything belongs to the realm of existence; defiling this tenet leads to its desecration.’

– Aquila Goh, The Ei’lari Legacy


About the author

Experience is the essence of reality, not understanding. To grasp the beauty of life, one must become one with it and the cosmos.

Aquila, the mystic author of The Eternal Reflection novels, knows this and thus sees more to life than materialism.

Thus, he hopes to help humanity by imparting his spiritual philosophy through his novels.

He has an M.A. in Existential Sociology. A spiritualist, he explores many philosophies, religions, and meditation to explore mysticism, spirituality, and creative states.

When he is free, he plays video games, watches documentaries, reads, and streams Tetris.

He lives in Singapore, is single, and is in his 30s.

He can be contacted at:





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