Thursday, September 16, 2010

Review: Immortal Beloved

IMMORTAL BELOVED (Immortal Beloved #1)
Cate Tiernan
Young Adult
407 pages
Little, Brown
Available Now


Nastasya has spent most of her immortal life hopping from club to club, city to city, drink to drink with her cadre of immortal friends. She doesn't work and doesn't care to, and has given up on finding a meaningful relationship as humans are too short-lived and immortals are the opposite, demanding a commitment she isn't willing to make.

Her closest friend Incy has been with her for nearly a century and they have partied their way across continents and through decades. She hasn't noticed his growing penchant for magick, the innate ability to wield power with which all immortals are born, not until his abuse of it's power one night outside a club. Seeing her dearest friend misuse his magick, and her subsequent decision to walk away from the gentleman he hurt instead of providing aid, causes Nastasya to have an epiphany.

Life has held no meaning for her for centuries, and she realizes she's ready for something else, needs something more than the dawn and dusk of a day that holds no joy. She sets off for a small town in Massachusetts home to a type of rehab for immortals who've gone astray, but in order to move forward, she must first look back and face a history perhaps more painful to endure a second time through.

I couldn't help but compare this story to Infinite Days. Both are stories of young women (in terms of appearance, not age) with brutal histories searching for a life with which they can begin again, free of the darkness that has defined their existence up to this point. Both Lenah and Nastasya have been desensitized by their centuries of life, and seek the ability to feel something other than interminable emptiness. They also both have a group of followers who are unhappy with their respective absences and seek to return them to the fold by any means necessary.

Nastasya isn't quite as beautifully tragic as Lenah. Lenah appreciates every moment of her second chance, takes in all the new sensations, feelings, and longings and breathes them deep so they may be embedded in her senses forever. Nastasya on the other hand, is unable to shake her elitist, socialite attitude and approaches her new beginning much in the way an addict might approach forced rehab. She scoffs at the other immortals and their interest in being something more, makes sarcastic quips to deflect personal interest, and constantly reminds herself that she won't be staying long. Though her attitude is understandable, it makes her somewhat difficult to connect with initially.

Despite her distracting immaturity at times, the relationship between Nastasya and fellow wayward immortal Reyn is a truly fascinating aspect of the story. At first glance, her attraction seems superficial and unoriginal. New girl sees gorgeous boy (or Viking God as she likes to refer to him), falls into lust, but is surprised by his instant and vehement dislike for her. Thus their relationship becomes increasingly antagonistic, but is laced with an underlying heat and passion. Again, not that uncommon. However, soon each page begins to reveal a new facet as more information is garnered, and ever so slowly new strands of mystery are woven, forcing the surface of their relationship to crack and unveiling a cavern of potential underneath.

Because the relationship is so interesting, I wanted to stay in the present and watch it unfold, making the continual flashbacks to Nastaya's former life a little frustrating. Her horrific past is necessary to understanding the present story, but it could have been revealed in one or two flashbacks as opposed to five or six, which would have let the reader burrow more deeply into the story instead of being yanked out just as circumstances get interesting.

In the end, Immortal Beloved is a story of finding acceptance and of caring for something after centuries of indifference. To be more than an empty vessel. To feel. Want. Hope. Dream. And to discover that the smallest joys can have the profoundest effect. I will certainly be picking up book two in the series since the book ends far stronger than it starts, and by the conclusion Nastasya has begun her transformation into a character that has the promise of being one who sticks in my memory.

Rating 3.5/5


  1. This sounds like a great story, though perhaps a bit familiar to Infinite Days. Either way, I'm adding it to my TBR pile...and that cover is gorgeous! Great review :)

  2. Well-said. That's pretty much how I felt about the whole thing. I knew why the author had the story play out the way she did, but bits of the flow still bothered me. The frequent flashbacks didn't sit too well, but overall I was happy with the book. I have an interview with her going up on my blog next week, so come check it out!

  3. This sounds like a good one! I just love the cover.

  4. Great review. You really did a good job of laying out what you liked and didn't like and why. I might have to give this one a try eventually, though it's not at the very top of my TBR list at the moment. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  5. Melissa - It's very similar to Infinite Days, but toward the end it starts to go in a different direction which is nice.

    mizzlizzbeck - I agree, the flashbacks were really disruptive. I'll definitely check out your interview!

    Colette - Me too! I could stare at it all day:)

    Natalie - Thank you! It's not one I would run to the bookstore to buy, but it's a good read when you get to it. I think book 2 will be better.

  6. Thank you for the review and thank you commentators for posting too. This might have been something I would have picked up, but I think I will skip it. Lots of other books that need to be read!

  7. Fantastic review! I've seen this book before, but I haven't read much about it so I wasn't sure if it was the book for me. I'm still not certain, but it must be good if you enjoyed it! Also, that cover is really eye-catching.

  8. Midnyte - You're welcome! If you like paranormal YA it's a nice read, but it had just a couple issues that if fixed would have made it better.

    Emidy - Thank you! I do love the cover on this one, it's what drew me initially:)

  9. What a great review. I haven't read Infinite Days yet, but I've heard a lot of great things about that book. Admit that I wasn't all that enamoured when I first came across this book, but your review has me thinking I should at least give it a try!

  10. I enjoyed this review---thanks! I have Infinite Days on my bookshelf, waiting for me this weekend. Now am looking forward to it and this one too. :)