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Saturday, 25 February 2012

Review: Darkness Falls

Author: Cate Tiernan

Release date: UK 5th January 2012
Genre: Fantasy
Target audience: 12+ / Adult crossover
ISBN: 9781444707007
Series: Immortal Beloved (2)


Darkness Falls is the second page-turning book in Cate Tiernan’s Immortal Beloved fantasy series. Set in the present day, it follows the lives of immortals who have the power to wield magic and cast it upon unsuspecting mortals.

This story continues Nastasya journey of self-discovery from the first novel. She is an immortal descended from of one of the Great Houses has taken refuge at River’s End - a sort of retreat for wayward immortals. Nastasya is trying to come to terms with her past and her true identity. She is increasingly consumed by guilt over her past choices.

The first part of the novel is a combination of Nastasya’s experiences in the present at the farm and flashbacks to her many lives that she has lived before. At 459 years old and looking like a perpetual seventeen year old, she has had to reinvent herself in new places over and over. For a long long time Nastasya had not reflected on her choices or considered the implications of them, she looked out only for herself. But at River’s End, Nastasya has learned that magic has a dark side.

In this novel we learn more about the self-interested decisions Nastasya has made. There is a very human side to immortals and they have weaknesses, fears and are easily tempted. The pace of the first half of the novel is slow and the reader explores Nastasya’s mind in much detail. We are cast into her desires, her fears and her snarky witticisms. I really enjoyed this character driven nature of the novel. The second half of the novel is faster paced and full of action. Nastasya crosses the threshold of no return and by doing so action sets the story on a rollercoaster ride. This latter half of the novel is very much a page-turner full of tension and impending doom.  The two halves work well together creating a tightly plotted story and winding journey for the reader.

I loved the historical details that Tiernan explored through Nastasya’s past lives. She has lived in so many countries and time periods and each of them had an authenticity and atmosphere about them. There are many elements of this series which I think have a wide ranging appeal: romance, the interpretation of good and evil, Nastasya’s feisty character and the mythology of Tiernan’s magic power houses. It all adds up to a compelling story which is at times tender and at others tense, Darkness Falls will appeal to fans of Maria Snyder and lovers of fantasy and paranormal romance. I’m eagerly awaiting the next instalment.

Source: Proof copy sent by Hodder Books

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