My Catchphrases

Friday, 20 May 2011

Review: Betrayal by Gillian Shields

Title: Betrayal
Series: Immortal
Author: Gillian Shields
Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Book Group
Publication Date: 15 Aug 2010

Synopsis: From GoodReads
When Evie Johnson started at Wyldcliffe Abbey School for Young Ladies, her life changed in ways she couldn't possibly have envisioned: the discovery of her link with Lady Agnes, her special bond with Helen and Sarah, and their sisterhood in the astonishing secrets of the Mystic Way. Above all, Evie's love for Sebastian has turned her world upside down. Now Evie returns to Wyldcliffe for another term and more danger. Surrounded by enemies, she lives every day in fear that Sebastian will fall into the darkness of servitude to the Unconquered Lords. The Wyldcliffe coven is plotting to destroy Evie and use Sebastian to secure their own immortality. Evie and her sisters must master the power of the Talisman before it is too late. But could it be Sebastian himself who will ultimately betray Evie?

Review: May contain spoilers from Immortal

Following on from Immortal (review here) we join Evie just before she heads back to the oppressive, evil witch coven ran girls boarding school. At first there were nice little re-caps of the events from Immortal; however, these did get quite repetitive as the book progressed. In truth it would not be necessary to read the first book in order to understand all the elements and characters in this book.

The first person narrative from Evie’s perspective gives the story a personal quality re-enforced by extracts from Sebastian’s journal placed between some of the chapters. The extracts give added insight into the plot and characterizations.

The writing style has a beautiful lyrical quality to it, alongside some vivid gothic imagery and atmospheric descriptions. Rich use of simile and metaphor give a Brontesque feel to the story.

The surprise character introduction in the form of Harriet, and the direction we are forced to take with regards Harriet’s relationship to Lady Agnes felt out of place. For someone that is a self-confessed ‘nice’ person, Evie is very petty and jealous of Harriet. Revelations, that I must say were a little obvious, give an explanation to Evie’s behavior.

The portrayal of the strong friendship formed under such terrible circumstances was uplifting; alongside the impressive expansion of the girls ‘powers’. The divide between rich and poor was poignantly expressed, showing how little times had changed in attitude and values.

Evie appeared quite insular in her attitude, not making any effort to get to know the people around her as she was too wrapped up in her own problems. The answers were right in front of her all the time but she was too blind/stupid to see it – so much so that I wanted to give her a good shake.

The use of the Romany heritage was interesting and added another dimension to the plot. A saying kept running through my head while I was reading this book:

“With great power comes great responsibility
It took me ages to remember where I had heard it – Spiderman lol.

I found the ending to be anti-climatic and truthfully think that Immortal should have been left as a stand-alone novel.


  1. Brontesque quality! I may steal that for future use! What a lovely use of language.

  2. I found the first in this series on my shelf today - forgot I had it! The follow up sounds interesting so must get reading :-)


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