Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan
Source: ARC from HipScouts (Little, Brown)
Grade: 3.5 stars out of 5
IMMORTAL BELOVED releases on SEPTEMBER. This review is extremely early, but I had to review it for HipScouts and the urge to just spill my guts on the blog was strong. I will most likely repost this review near the release date.
After witnessing her best friend, Innocencio, breaking the back of a cab driver for no significant reason, Nastasya quickly realizes that she needs to leave. She no longer feels comfortable and has the strong urge to hide herself from her once close friends. Recalling back a time when River, a stranger at that time, offered her ‘help’ (help that she thought she didn’t need at that time) located in a small town in Massachusetts, she finally takes that offer just a few centuries later. Well here she is now picking beets, grooming horses, and star-gazing. Wait, why? Apparently it is a rehabilitation process that also apparently works! Nastasya is feeling and looking better for the longest time after decades of partying, but someone seems to not like her new sense of contentment and wants her gone. But Natasya’s tough, she’s been through a lot, and may have more power than she first thought…. And did I mention that she’s immortal with magical powers? Really? Because almost all the characters in the novel are immortal: good and bad. We just need to find out who the good ones are and who the bad ones are, but here is to hoping that tall sexy Viking god Reyn will be good.
In a very detailed first installment (yes this is trilogy), Cate Tiernan tells of a haunting dark past with a distinct narration. A style of writing that really ticked me off plenty of times if I dare say. I find the excessive commas, self-answering questions, and just the aloof disregard to time very, very angering. The constant flashbacks were abrupt, random, and forced half the time. The other half of the time I felt it was well placed with enough emotional angst and gory imagery that left me wanting to continue in Nastaya’s past life.
After finishing the last sentence I closed the book, looked up then back down and thought to myself: What the heck did I just read that took 400 pages to explain? Oh no, there were some excellent points brought up, effortless gut-wrenching scenes, and the occasional symbolic nature of life, but a chunk of the novel discussed the past of immortals—how they came to be, the aging process, how they were hunted and whatnot. It was wonderful how Tiernan explained everything, scrutinizing even to the smallest details of the stars, but could it keep the reader enraptured long enough to finish the book (and possibly read the next two installments)?
It required about 150 pages into the novel for me to become interested enough to continue reading the next 250 pages. Yes despite this I still crave more detail abut Reyn, about River and how she came to form the rehabilitation farm, about Nell and about the other residents in the farm. (I still also have trouble comprehending the deep connection/attraction between Natasya and Reyn aside from their past unless it becomes this emotional handicap that they develop and whatever did happen to Innocencio since he is hardly ever mentioned yet plays a large role in the novel?) Curse you first person limited view point for wrecking havoc on my mind as it tends to wander and consider possible scenarios.
About midway through the novel, somewhere between the pages of 180 to 200, the action began to really pick up that left me slightly breathless and disorientated. And that, my friend, is a good thing. The garbled information finally began to make sense in my mind (yet my math does not seem to match the book’s math when it concerns the age appearance of some of the characters), the various ties to other characters start to root and grow, and there is discussion of magic! Sprinkle every so often are humorous scenes, hot and heavy scenes that will appease the romantics at heart, and a scene that left a body skinless and hairless for those few gore fans; Immortal Beloved does cover almost everything that will leave readers happy at least with one chapter.
As for the ending, it leaves plenty to be desired, but then again it is a trilogy.
I didn't realize that it was girl until I saw the online cover. In real life (in my opinion) it's very hazy and blurry so it was just a slew on tints and values of red.
Read an excerpt of Immortal Beloved at Cate Tiernan's website: here.