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This book is truly amazing and I really, really enjoyed it. While I must admit, it's very different to anything I've read before and it did take me a few chapters to get into - I was soon completely hooked by the story. Based around the idea of immortality, the book contains elements of tragedy, drama, romance and self-discovery. A really fascinating read.
The story follows Natasya, a 559 year old immortal who has forgotten what it means to live a normal life. Going from party to party, she has spent the last few hundred years in an alcohol/drug induced haze that keeps each day fun and interesting - but lately she's finding even her wild lifestyle a little monotonous. But then Natasya witnesses her best friend torture a mortal human for no reason other than for entertainment, and it wakes her up to the kind of life - and the kind of people - she's choosing to have and spend time with.
Telling no one where she is going, Natasya decides enough is enough and runs away to America in search of a fellow immortal who she met many years ago. She soon finds herself in a small rural town and ends up at kind of sanctuary for wayward immortals. Here she learns to reacquaint herself with life and for the first time in years, she allows herself to remember the tragedy of losing her family. But her dark past will soon catch up her present and when Natasya accidentally befriends the person responsible for making her an orphan...
There were many great things about this book but my favourite would have to be Natasya's character. At first I thought she was quite a shallow and party loving kind of person but as the story unfolds, you learn about the horrors and trials she's suffered. The history she has been a part of and the many different lives and disguises she has lived in. They all shaped her into this sarcastic, clever and often, very sad and lonely person who in this story - just wants to find meaning in living life again.
The plot is very character driven and as the storyline is fairly complex, I did find the pace a little slow at times but ultimately I remained engaged in the story. I liked watching Natasya evolve as person and I enjoyed seeing how she overcame each new trial. The other characters were also very unique and interesting individuals - each trying to deal with their own problems and histories.
The romance in the story was also well written. From the beginning, Natasya's attraction to sexy ex-Viking Reyn is undeniable - but unlike many YA romances, this one is a slow burn and comes with plenty of drama and shocking revelations. I can't wait to see how things will develop between them in the next book.
So overall, a really great read and a fabulous start to what promises to be a fantastic new series. Dark and dramatic, Immortal Beloved is truly an amazing read! 4 stars!
Nastasya has lived a lifetime, an everlasting lifetime. As an immortal, she's reinvented herself more times than she can count. After witnessing her friend Innocencio break a man's back with a spell and then walking away, Nasty takes a look at herself and her friends and she doesn't like what she sees. In fact, she's scared, horrified even. Scared enough to run and hide from her friends, from her memories, from her life.
Nasty seeks help from a woman she once met years ago and ends up at River's Edge. She doesn't feel like she belongs there, but where she belongs doesn't exist anymore. She can't trust the people she thought were friends, is there anyone she can trust? Will River's Edge save Nastasya or drive her deeper into despair? Will Innocencio come looking for Nasty?
Read the book to find out!
Immortal Beloved is the first book in a new trilogy by Cate Tiernan. It's different to most paranormal/fantasy books these days, because there's no vampires, no werewolves, no shape-shifters, nothing like that. This is about being immortal in this world and all that is brought with it, magick is also wound through the story.
The story is told from Nastasya's point-of-view, so the other characters are all based her perspective. You almost find yourself liking or disliking the characters she does. Despite being several hundred years old, Nasty is quite immature, but when you read how she's been wasting her life you can see where the immaturity comes from. Her immaturity also gives the character room to grow, to become who she is, not who she pretends to be.
Some might find this story slow, but I'd say to keep with it as it's an evolving story and there are faster-paced parts to it. We learn more about Nastasya's life through flashbacks, giving us a more detailed story.
Something I like in a book is humour and there were several instances where I had to laugh while reading Immortal Beloved. Despite what shes been through, Nastasya can be quite funny. Even on the last page the author managed to fit in some humour.
My only real problem with the book was that one of the storylines was left open, almost forgotten about, not in a cliffhanger sort of way. However, I'm guessing that this will be carried on into the second book, so it's not a big issue.
All in all, I enjoyed reading Immortal Beloved and found it a refreshing change. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I got through it in just a couple of day and I'm already looking forward to reading the second book in the trilogy.
Please note: This review also features on my blog and the book was supplied by Amazon Vine.
When you've burned out after centuries of partying, what do you do? Book yourself into Immortal rehab of course.
That's exactly what 450+ year old Nastasya (Nasty to her friends) does. Fed up of her (very long) life as a spoiled and drugged-out party girl and tormented by a dark and twisted revelation in best friend and fellow immortal Incy she flees to River's Edge, a haven for those who never die. At first she just wants to get herself together, but the peace and calm there sooths her soul and for the first time in decades she feels alive and safe again.
There's other attractions at River's Edge too, for example Reyn, gorgeous and sexy viking-god look alike. But Nastasya is shocked when she finds Reyn linked to her traumatic past. Not only that but someone at Immortal Rehab has it in for her and wants her dead.
I've picked up Immortal Beloved a few times now in the bookstore and put it back. I've had it on my Amazon wishlist a while, but always passed it over for something else. When I recently got the opportunity to read and review it I jumped at the chance. Unfortunately though I just didn't get on with this book and found it extremely frustrating.
I'll start with the positives, because there are some. Firstly the plot is intriguing and original. Nastasya is one of many Immortals who walk among us. She's spent the last 450 years partying like there'll be no tomorrow with the same set of friends, but having witnessed a new sinister side to them and feeling burnt out (and lets face it, who wouldn't after that much partying) she leaves town and checks into a kind of rehab for immortals.
There's a huge focus on magic and paganism in this book, which I absolutely loved. It's something that has always intrigued me and the author clearly knows her stuff, discussing it confidently and in depth. This aspect really appealed to me. Considering the main protagonists age there's very few flashbacks to the past, but when they happened they were fantastic. Mainly covering 16th century Iceland and Viking invasions they were vividly scripted seemed genuinely authentic in tone and brilliantly drove home the brutality of the time.
So why did I find it so frustrating? Well, unfortunately for me the negatives far outweigh the positives of this book. Firstly after an exciting opening chapter, the book is really slow going and took a lot of effort. I was expecting a faster pace entirely, but once Nastasya checks into 'rehab' it was more of a slog for a good 200 pages. I actually wanted to quit this book on several occasions but kept going as the premise seemed to promise so much and I hoped it would get better. It didn't.
My second frustration came with the main character Nastasya, who I detested. First up she goes by the nickname Nasty, which got my back up immediately. Stupidest name ever? Possibly. I couldn't take her seriously or warm to her at all. As if the ridiculous name wasn't annoying enough, I found nothing remotely endearing about her character at all. She's vain, selfish, and shallow to the extreme. Considering this girl has supposed to have been walking this earth for 450 years+, she still hasn't discovered any common sense. I would expect a degree of wisdom or maturity after all that time but no, she's like the worst kind of stroppy teenager and hasn't gained anything from her centuries on this planet other than a reputation as a party girl. I didn't buy it.
I HATED the romance in this book, and I use the term loosely, because I found nothing romantic about it at all. Once checked into Immortal Rehab, Nasty meets Reyn 'The Viking God' and while she can't stand him (and neither could I, he's boring, aloof, and two dimensional) she finds him hot. I didn't get any chemistry at all, just he was there, he was good looking...he'll do. But then Nastasya discovers he played a huge part in her past, responsible for the downfall of her family many centuries ago and had a particularly unpleasant experience with him herself back in the 1600's. This section annoyed me immensely, as personally I find what he did unforgivable. I get the author's point was that we can all move on, change, evolve etc but it didn't translate well for me and I found it a bit sickening if I'm completely honest.
Finally the book ended with so many loose threads I felt like screaming when I finally made it to the last page. Yes this is a first book in a trilogy, but I felt I'd just read 400 pages for nothing, no satisfaction at all. Nothing is resolved here, and the ending comes very quickly after the slow moving majority of the book. I don't remember ever feeling so frustrated about a book before as I did this one.
So, overall this wasn't the book for me, although annoyingly I still really want to read the next book because of all those loose threads. Immortal Beloved had a fantastic original premise, some beautifully written historical passages (although far fewer than I'd hoped) and fascinating details about magic. I wanted to love this book so very much, but too many things grated on me and in the end I felt overwhelmingly frustrated.
Published by Hodder & Stoughton January 2011
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In a nutshell
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One night our immortal heroine Nastasya - aged 459, but still outwardly a teenager - is forced to open her eyes to her destructive lifestyle when she witnesses one of her oldest friends use magick to seriously injure a human. Realising how disconnected from life she's become and how cold and cruel the circle of five fellow immortals that she has hung around with for the past century have become, Nastasya decides that it's time to disappear and start a new life somewhere new.
She recalls that that an immortal she once met named River invited her to come and stay at her small retreat in America when she grows tired of her meaningless, non-stop partying lifestyle, and wants purpose and meaning in it. Now scared of her old friends Nastasya finally decides that it's time to take River up on her offer and flees from her previous life in England, taking a chance that River's Edge still exists today, over 80 years later.
Luckily for her River's Edge is indeed still standing, and in actuality it is a sort of rehabilitation center for immortals who need to relearn how to appreciate their very long lives. It is also a place to learn to use sorcery without draining energy from other living things, so it's past time for Nastasya [not her birth name, she has to change her identity every other decade] to delve into 400+ years of baggage and uncover and learn how to use the magickal powers that every immortal possesses...
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I was really surprised by this book - in a good way. Having the central character go through 459 years of personal baggage doesn't sound like an exciting read, but I quickly became engrossed in it and was sad to reach the end of the book. I'll definitely be buying the next entry in the series.
I originally picked this for my teenage sister who constantly 'borrows' my Kelley Armstrong, Charlaine Harris and Laurell K. Hamilton books, as well as worshipping those sparkly vamps aka the Twilight [shudder in horror] series. Anyway, if you like your fiction to contain a blend of good old fashioned drama, the supernatural and romance, mixed with a dollop of mystery like the mentioned authors you'll enjoy EVERLASTING NIGHT. Author Cate Tiernan blends these different genres together seamlessly, I've re-read this book several times now and haven't found anything major that I can fault with the story line or the author's writing style.
Young adult books - naturally - have leading characters experiencing emotions that their target audience are going through; something that most adult readers have no desire to re-live, but EVERLASTING LIFE isn't an obvious YA entry - despite being a first person narrative by a eternal teenager. The author knows how balance between connecting with teens and not making adults revisit their hormone driven younger years, so Nastasya - the story is told from her POV - is self aware when it comes to those angsty moments, and often counteracts them with a biting wit that doesn't seem forced.
To make the main storyline more interesting there is the additional story arch featuring - of course - a potential love interest for Nastasya [I'm not a big romance reader, but I adore the chemistry going on here] and a whodunit sub-plot, as well as the beginnings of two larger subplots involving Nastasya's old friends searching for her, as well as her hidden past, so these all promise to add more action to the following books in this series.
Another pleasant surprise was how the author handled the whole immortal [aka aefrelyffen] issue; The immortals aren't truly immortal, they are simply very slow-to-age humans, who heal very quickly [so chopping their heads off is the only way to go]. There's no sparkling, no superhuman strength and/or speed and her magical abilities don't show up in a wham-bam-let's-finish-the-story-as-quickly-as-possible way. It's all - in a sense - realistic. Nastasya is an otherwise normal woman, who has only started slowly learning about her extra abilities by the end of the book.
As I mentioned above I didn't have any major issues with EVERLASTING NIGHT, but my sole niggle is with the whole whodunit sub-plot. Simply put the culprit is obvious - I twigged who it was straightaway. However this isn't part of the main storyline and I can't see it playing a big part in the next entries, so it doesn't effect my enjoyment of the book.
** This is the first book in a trilogy. There is no release date or title for books two and three yet **
Synopsis: From Amazon
Nastasya has spent the last century living as a spoiled, drugged-out party girl. She feels nothing and cares for no one. But when she witnesses her best friend, a Dark Immortal, torture a human, she realizes something's got to change. She seeks refuge at a rehab for wayward immortals, where she meets the gorgeous, undeniably sexy Reyn, who seems inexplicably linked to her past.
Nastasya finally begins to deal with life, and even feels safe--until the night she learns that someone wants her dead.
Written in 1st person narrative from Nastasya's (Nasty) perspective alongside her many aliases. Your 'typical' conflicted teenager but with the insight of over 400 years of life. Nasty has a wonderful narrative voice, directly addressing the reader at points which made me completely invested in the events concerning her.
The Gothic convention of nesting different stories within the same narrative is woven ingeniously into the book. Multi-layered plot giving aspects of suspense, romance, thriller and the paranormal all work beautifully together. Pieces of the plot are tantalizing revealed little by little making for compulsive reading. The Gothic aspect is reinforced by the Gothic font on the lettering at the start of each chapter.
Nasty's history is revealed in a series of flashbacks in the form of dreams and visions. Very strong imagery and descriptions immerse the imagination in both the past and the present seamlessly. The use of old European/northern language mixed with modern terms added to the longevity aspect of the prose. While the historical references spanning the term of Nasty's life were really well researched, adding a sense of realism while giving depth to the plot.
The 2 different sets of people Nasty associated with give a striking contrast in personality and actions. All the characters are wonderfully individual yet the group dynamics of both sets work well together. I really liked the inclusion of Nasty's interaction with 'bad girl' Drey, the way in which she helped her via her own experiences showed how caring Nasty really is, even though she tries to project a tough girl persona. The character development throughout the book of all of the central characters was impeccable.
The magic/paranormal element to the book mixed modern ideas of witchcraft with older more traditional beliefs. The use of aromatherapy/homeopathy/herbalism all have a basis in Wiccan/Pagan/Druid 'faiths' really showed the need to utilize the natural ingredients we have available. The idea of balance - that power comes at a cost - emphasized the need to work with resources rather than deplete them.
One aspect I didn't really like was the inclusion that everyone is born 'dark' and that they have to work to achieve light paralleling the religious concept that everyone is born a sinner and they have to work at redemption. This is not something I can mentally reconcile, it makes me just want to go BLAHHHH. However, this is just my opinion and it worked well within the narrative.
The chemistry between Nasty and Reyn *sigh* literally crackled off the pages, the back-story *no spoilers* was insightful although somewhat distressing in places. However, the morale of the story shows how people evolve from their past, they change and hopefully learn from actions and events making them *fingers crossed* better people for it. It also showed that we should not dwell on the past rather life in the present. The journey of self-discovery for both Nasty and Reyn was completely engaging.
For me this was a great start to a different view of immortality, I cannot wait for the sequel and have been trying to track down information about when it will be published but to no avail. Anyone else know????