Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan

Just finished reading Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan and am surprised to say that I ended up liking this book much more than I expected to.  I don’t really know why but I was reluctant to read this – I thought maybe it would be much of a muchness but it is actually quite a captivating story that unfolds gently.

This is the story of Nastasya, one of the immortals, she is over 450 years old, she’s lived through wars and plagues, raids and famines but her life has become one long party.  Nastasya has lost her focus, she doesn’t really care about anything or anyone, she spends her time living the jet set lifestyle flitting from one cosmopolitan city to the next and partying to excess with a small selected band of immortal friends.  They’re not particularly ‘nice’.  They don’t mind whose feelings they stamp all over or who they use in order to find a little entertainment but all this wild behaviour is about to come to an abrupt halt for Nat after one evening ends with a particularly nasty incident that leaves too bitter a taste and leaves her feeling vulnerable and scared.  So, Nat, runs aways and with the help of one of her many assumed identifies disappears to a small retreat out in Massachusettes – run by another immortal – River.  River met Nat almost a century earlier and extended an invitation to her and finally Nat has taken up the offer.

River’s place is a bit like a half way house or rehab almost for immortals.  The inhabitants spend their time undertaking regular mundane everyday duties and work that helps them to become more grounded and they also spend time honing their magical skills using circles, scrying and crystals.  All the immortals have certain magical abilities but they can choose to draw energies from living things – and in the process cause damage or by trying to harness their magic in a more natural way without harming other living beings.  So basically dark and light magic.  And, this makes up one of the main premises for the story – whether they choose to take the dark side or not – a choice that is constantly open to them and which they have to fight against.

The two main characters are Nat and Reyn, and they share something in their past that they’ve put from their memories and built walls around.  At first it would be easy to say that neither of these characters is particularly easy to get on with but as they spend more time in each other’s company, and also as Nat spends more time at the retreat and starts to deconstruct her defences, they start to grow on you and each other.  I really warmed to Nat – she starts to really care for the first time in many years about other people and the lives they lead and she actually wants to help them and make a difference.  Also, through flashbacks and visions you start to pick up the threads of the life that she has led.  And, it hasn’t been easy, being immortal is no defence against all sorts of atrocities – it simply means that you;re around long enough to live through most of them and therefore most of the immortals have pain and suffering as part of their histories.  They’ve also had a long time in which to make mistakes and live to regret them!

In terms of criticisms – nothing really major – I found it a bit of a stretch to believe some of Nat’s behaviour, which at times comes across as incredibly juvenile, because, whilst she may look like a teenager she has been around for a good few hundred years and it’s difficult to believe that she wouldn’t be more mature in her actions.  Also, the whole ‘immortals’ issue is not really touched upon – so there is no discovery of why or how, etc, to satisfy the curiosity on that front.

Also, if you come to this novel expecting it to be bursting at the seams with action then you may be disappointed.  The story builds very slowly, the characters are quite well drawn and we begin to piece together Nat’s history bit by bit until she finally puts together all the pieces of her own puzzle. It’s a bit like a coming of age almost – except with a much longer history to work through.

And, on top of this we have the romance building between Nat and Reyn – and the fact that in spite of the terrible history they share – they are utterly drawn to each other.

On the whole I really enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to the next in the series (which hopefully won’t be too long a wait now).  This first in the series has set up perfectly the next one for a bit of a showdown and hopefully for some more magic and romance.

Rating –

Immortal Beloved

Immortal Beloved

A

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2 Responses to “Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan”

  1. "Auntie" sezzzzzz...

    Thank you. I’m gonna’ mark this down (in my little Books Note Book), for when I want something deep. Perhaps ‘deep’ isn’t the proper word, but…….. I think I’d need to be in the mood for this book, when taking it up.

    Nice to have ideas, for different times… 🙂

    Gentle hugs,
    “But see, in our open clearings, how golden the melons lie;
    Enrich them with sweets and spices, and give us the pumpkin-pie!”

    ~Margaret Junkin Preston

    • lynnsbooks

      Yeah, I thought it was a good read – but I don’t think it would be everybody’s cup of tea, you have to be in the mood for a more gentle read along rather than fast paced and action packed – that being said I’m really missing the characters now it’s finished and I’m looking forward to No.2 – don’t think it’s out until next year some time though!
      Lynn 😀

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