Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan
Read by Natalie 2010-2012
Natalie recommends this as a great read. The story is cool, dark, funny and very entertaining.
The first book in this trilogy Immortal Beloved is a very cool book and a great start to what I hope is a fantastic series. It is told to us by Nastasya, a 479 year old immortal who has spent all of her life carving out a path of destruction and excess, both to herself and others around her. Having lived through unspeakable horrors and afraid of getting attached to anything for fear of actually being happy and then losing it, this is her coping mechanism, until one day she finds herself unable to cope anymore. Running from witnessing her supposed best friend Incy paralyse a cab driver after he threw them from his cab, Nastasya is mortified at what she has become. Her acceptance of what Incy did and more importantly her willingness to walk away and ignore it, scare her. So she runs, leaving London and ending up at a small rural place in North America. Here she finds other immortals – both teachers and students, those going through “rehab” like her, learning to cast off their past mistakes and learn from them. At first reluctant to change and unable to see the reason for why, she gradually becomes more accepting of it and finds herself both unwanting and unable to leave, despite it being the polar opposite to how her life used to be. Here she is learning more about herself and the history of immortals, including her own family, and with each day she finds herself leaving the darkness that has plagued her for centuries. However this is soon shattered when another rehab immortal, Reyn realises who she is and she realises who he is. Their pasts, both shocking and destructive are linked and soon come back to smack them right in the face, just when it looked like they were finally getting on and acting on their attraction to each other. Told in the first person by Nastasya (who has a hilarious inner dialogue), the book features flashbacks to various points in her long life, which tell the importance of who and what she and Reyn are. Some questions are answered, but some are not. However, by the end of the book she has finally worked out what she wants and with this realisation we are left hanging for the second instalment on the trilogy.
Darkness Falls is the second book and production delays saw fans, including myself, on the edge of their seats in anticipation. Finally receiving my copy of it, I can safely say I sat down and devoured it in the space of a few hours and was not disappointed. Picking up almost immediately after Immortal Beloved finishes, Nastasya is still at River’s Edge and still battling her demons, both the immortal variety and her attraction to Reyn. He on the other hand is open about what he wants – Nastasya, and although she is clearly attracted to him and occasionally gives in to temptation, she knows she has to first heal herself before she can ever consider being with him. Their pasts are heavily linked, being similar in age but also scars. While Reyn’s family was responsible for the destruction and death of Nastaya’s, her family was also the reason for the death of Reyn’s. Despite being mutually drawn to each other, this remains an issue between them and Nastasya struggles with letting it go and believing Reyn is truly changed. In amongst all of this, she is also learning more and more about immortals and the magic they possess, particularly her family’s dark magic and her own poor behaviour over the centuries (some great flashbacks of her life tell these stories). Despite all of her learning’s though, Nastaya’s starts to have horrible dreams about her former friends, particularly Incy who appears to have gone crazy and when her own spells start to go wrong, she believes her darkness is leaching out of her, destroying everyone around her. Running from River’s Edge in order to protect them, Nastasya finds herself once again with Incy, who just happens to be nearby. Although he appears completely sane, Nastasya is wary, her lessons from River’s Edge giving her a new perspective on immortal magic. While she does fall back into her partying ways, she soon starts to realise Incy is both nuts and not the friend she thought he was. Struggling with how to deal with this new knowledge, Nastasya finally learns that he has been stealing power from humans and other immortals and his plan is to either join with Natasya and share her power (she is the sole heir to one of the original houses of immortals) or if he can’t do that, kill her and forcibly take her power. Faced with Incy’s real motives, Nastasya has to call on everything she has learnt and finally start to embrace everything from her past and that of her family, trusting that she can use it correctly. Returning once again to River’s Edge, Nastasya starts to realise that there is both good and bad, but everyone has the freedom to make a choice including her. Now knowing that she is not alone in this, Nastasya finally, finally chooses to be with Reyn (yeay, the final chapter, so sweet!) but also to set her own future legacy.
I can safely say I LOVE this series. Eternally Yours, the final instalment is not out until November 2012 and I am already excited about it. What I love about it first and foremost is Nastasya. Her inner monologues are truly hilarious and the second book had me laughing out loud at times (rock and hard place, hilarious). I also love how emotionally affected she is by her past behaviour and that of her family. Her struggles with this are so realistic and honest, that you can’t help but feel for her, even when she makes stupid decisions. Throw in the fact that she is independent and strong, willing to walk away from what she wants because she knows it isn’t what she needs right now and then is finally willing to take a chance even though it scares the crap out of her, and she is a great role model for all female readers. And then of course you have Reyn, who just oozes sexiness and Nordic Viking charm, you just want these two to work it out and thankfully it looks like they might. My only bug bear is the lack of updates on Cate’s website! Please Cate can you update more frequently – deleted scenes, extras, excerpts from the third book would be much appreciated! For everyone else, pick this series up, it’s a great read.