Mandy Reviews: Cate Tiernan—"Immortal Beloved"
I picked up Immortal Beloved as one of those rare gems – a book I’d heard nothing about on the interwebs. I had no clue which age group it was aimed at, had not previously read the author, and since I was holidays, no access to Goodreads to check it out before I handed over the cash. I didn’t really have high expectations… but wow, I was in for a treat.
The first thing that struck me was the voice of the main character, Nastasya, also known as Nasty. She’s sarcastic, funny and very, very dry. She’s an immortal, living it up, partying her long life away in seedy clubs in London with her friends – all immortal of course. But after one of them uses his magic to seriously and permanently wound a human, Nasty starts to question herself, her so-called friends and the pointlessness of her life. She realises she’s been doing the same thing for centuries – having a fabulous, yet self-centred time, and hurting (or even killing) far too many people in the process. Filthy, forlorn and at absolute rock-bottom, Nastasya decides to flee London for the only place she can think of escaping to, a place a kindly immortal once invited her to and offered help over eighty years ago. And there the fun really begins. Nasty ends up in a kind of rehab centre for immortals who’ve hit the wall.
Even though Nastasya looks 16, she’s rarely met an immortal older than herself. After blocking out the deaths of her family (yep, it is possible to kill an immortal. Off with their heads!) she also blocks out the use of her incredibly powerful magic. At River’s End, she begins to learn how to use that magic properly, as well as feed the chooks, much out the stables, and work in the local drug store. It all seems to be too easy – until someone begins trying to kill her. Who is it? And why would they want her dead? Just what is it with the scar on the back of her neck and her mother’s amulet? Nasty starts to question her own worth, the darkness that compels her and the memories of the things she’s done.
And then there’s the biggest question of all. Just who is the ridiculously hunky Reyne (gulp), and why does he hate her so much? Why is he so open about wanting her gone from River’s End? And why does Nastasya feel that she knows him from somewhere?
Immortal Beloved is far from perfect, but it’s certainly compelling. A week after finishing it, I just can’t get this book out of my mind. My biggest complaint is that the ending was pretty much a no-brainer, and lots of loose ends went untied. But this is the first book in a trilogy, with the next due out in September this year, and I’m sure those ends will begin to be tied up. The character of Nastasya makes up for any imperfections – she’s just that cool, and so easy to relate to.
Despite my initial reservations, I soon learnt that Immortal Beloved was a fantastic story, aimed at Young Adults. There are some pretty violent and gross scenes, so it’s probably more for readers at the slightly older end of the YA scale – say 15 and up. I also learnt that it’s not even close to being Cate Tiernan’s first book; I definitely intend on checking out her other two series: Balefire (5 books in the series) and Wicca, which has 15 books in the series – how I’ve managed to miss that one, I have no idea!
Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan
Paperback 407 pages
Published by Hodder & Stoughton UK