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Sunday, 5 September 2010

Review: Immortal Beloved

Author: Cate Tiernan

Release date: UK 6th Jan 2011 Hodder and Stoughton
US 7th September 2010 Little, Brown
Genre: Supernatural, Paranormal, Fantasy
Target audience: 12+

Brilliant, engaging, original paranormal titles are hard to find right now because the market is so saturated. It was wonderful to read Immortal Beloved and be swept away on a tide of beautiful writing and explore the nature of immortality, the question of what makes us human and ultimately read a spell-binding story. There are not enough adjectives to describe how passionate I am about this book.

Nastasya is 449 years old and her life is a blur of late drunken nights, shallow relationships and toxic friendships with five others like her. She is one of the immortals. Her best friend is Inncencio. Nastasya calls him Incy for short. The novel opens with Incy breaking a mortal man’s back. What had the man done to deserve such a barbaric punishment? He was impolite, rude at worst. Nastasya has never seen Incy do something so cruel with magic before and it scares her. But what scares her more is her own decision to walk away from the dying man, to follow Incy into the night and drink herself senseless in an attempt to forget about it. Nastasya has never liked magic and Incy’s actions only serve to reinforce her belief that it is wrong. Magic makes her sick, see visions and lose control of her body.

There are two types of immortals: Tähti and the Tervävä. Nastasya has heard rumours of the Tähti but she has never met one. She like Incy and her friends are Tervävä. They despise the Tähti. Yet after Incy kills the mortal, Nastasya begins to feel afraid. She doesn’t understand why but a deep feeling tells her to leave her apartment in London and not tell anyone where she is going. She goes into hiding in order to find a part of herself that she thinks may be lost forever.

Immortal Beloved is all about Nastasya’s journey. The story is told through her very witty and sarcastic voice. She says what she thinks, she doesn’t pussy-foot around people and this novel works because her voice rings true for every single word. Memories she has long closed off begin to come to the surface and what she finds hidden there scares her even more the Incy’s cruel magic.

Some people will read this novel and think that not that much happens. I am not one of them. This is the beginning of Nastasya’s journey. So much happens within her, the whole way through the novel I was rooting for her to keep choosing right over wrong, others over self, good over evil. She is now one of my favourite female characters ever in a Young Adult novel. She isn’t politically correct, she says some really crazy things when she is trying to find her humanity but that is what makes her such a believable and adorable character.

I really didn’t want this book to end. In a way it pauses, rather than ends, you know there is so much more to follow but what I did get to read I adored. I haven’t felt so utterly besotted about a paranormal book in a long, long time. My copy is going to get the favourite book shelf treatment. I’m going to read this book again and again because I just know the more I read it, the more I’ll get out of it. Immortal Beloved is a book to treasure for life even if you are pushing five hundred. It is just so captivating.


Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

Great review! I am very intrigued by this idea of immortals who are not vampires and by Nastasya and her journey. Sounds pretty original to me. Thanks for sharing!

Amy said...

Great review!

Becky said...

Irena, thank you. I agree the novel does has the edge of originality. The voice and the history of the immortals really make it stand out.

Amy, thanks! (Hope you get yourself a copy).

Carla said...

Um WOW!! I just saw your comment and I was a bit unsure but after reading this review it seems like something I would LOVE. I'm not a big fan of the "story" anymore, whereas thats how I used to base my judgement on a book. Now i'm all about the characters, I want to see them develop, I want to see their internal struggle and the fight they have with themselves on a daily basis. I'm ok with not a lot happening in a book as long as the character drives the story, and this seems to fit the bill. Beautiful review. I am definitely adding this to the list of must reads!

Lauren said...

I probably would never have picked this one up, but I'm interested that it's made such an impression on you. The MC sounds just brilliant - and I really like character driven stories, so I doubt I'd be troubled if there's not a great deal of external action. The world-building sounds interesting too. Intriguing review!

Book Crazy Jenn said...

WOW!!! I love Cate, and knew I would want to read this one but WOW even more now!!! AWESOME!

Leanna (Daisy Chain Book Reviews) said...

I've been waiting on this book for ages! I really think it's one I'll love too. I think I'll wait for the UK release because I really love the UK cover art for this one. Great review! :)

So Many Books, So Little Time said...

This sounds absolutely fantastic. It's so clear that you adored this book and it's made me want to read it!

Excellent review, Becky!

Becky said...

Carla, fabulous! Glad you are going to give it a shot!

Lauren, your education in the novels of Cate Tiernan starts here!

Jenn, it is lovely to hear from another Cate Tiernan fan. She rocks, doesn't she?!!!!

Leanna, I am going to get the UK copy to add to my collection. I know it is silly to have two copies of the same book but I don't care. This is how much I love it.

Sophie, I tried really hard to show how much I loved it but I don't think this is an example of my best reviews. I just couldn't put my love into good English. But as long as you know that I adore it then I guess I did my job! ;-)

Splendibird said...

This is such an interesting review. I had read some negative stuff about this title and basically dismissed it (it's not really the kind of thing I would pick up, anyway) but your review has inspired me to give it a shot. Thanks!

Dwayne said...

Terrific review here, Becky! I agree that there is so much paranormal stories out there, but since you loved it so much, I'm going to give this one a try. I wasn't interested before, but now I am swayed:)

Christina/Book Addict said...

Yay! I can't wait to read this one. You said it was awesome so I went ahead and pre-ordered it and now after reading this review, I'm glad I did! If you love it, I'm sure I will. :) Outstanding review, Becky!

brizmus said...

a book that makes you lose your adjectives - I must check this out!
I especially love books where not a lot actually "happens," per say, but that are still amazing. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for this book.

Megan Hoover-Swicegood said...

Yay! I'm really excited about this one so I'm glad it's getting good reviews. I was disappointed with the last book I was super excited about and I've been hesitant to read anything I've been looking forward to.

I Want To Read That said...

Sounds AWESOME! Will definitely be getting myself a copy but am going to wait for the UK one as I LOVE the cover!