Book Review: Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan

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.


Cate Tiernan, author of the popular Sweep series, returns with an engaging story of a timeless struggle and inescapable romance, the first book in a stunning new fantasy trilogy. (From Goodreds.com)

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. I appear to be in the minority though, as many many people did enjoy it and at present it has a rating of 4.18 stars on Goodreads.com. You can check out some very good favourable reviews by Asamum and Cloverness by clicking on their names.

Published by Hodder & Stoughton January 2011

Received for review as part of the Amazon Vine program

5 comments:

  1. EeeeK! Sorry you didn't enjoy it. I still want to read it though. Complete sucker for paganism.

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  2. You hated the romance? I love everything about this book. The characterisation, the slow pace, the romance and the fantastical elements. I'm sad you didn't like it. I am mad about it.

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  3. So *this* is the book you were talking about?
    Don't tell me this is a case of the girl looking at the good-looking guy (of course, is there anything else in romance these days?) and seeing the nice chiseled chest and "oh, you're my soul mate"?
    That won't be a book for me though the magic in it sounds interesting... Mh I will have to take a look at it to see if I would like it.
    Great review and sorry you didn't like the book!

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  4. Lol thanks for the link - I adore when 2 people get such different opinions of the same book :D

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  5. Oh I had to laugh reading your review. Not at you, of course, but at your response which was totally different to mine. I absolutely adored this book. I loved the slow pace and the layers to the narrative. I didn't think the romance was a very major aspect of the novel, which, again I loved. I'm dying to read the next one.

    How wonderful to read a very different perspective to mine :)

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