Wednesday, 16 February 2011
Review: Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan
Series: Everlasting Life
Author: Cate Tiernan
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Publication Date: 6 Jan 2011
Synopsis: From GoodReads
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 While the historical references spanning the term of Nasty’s life were really well researched, adding a sense of realism while giving depth to the plot.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????