Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Released: January 6th 2011
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
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 Goodreads)
Nastasya, or Nasty to her friends, is immortal. She’s spent most of her life drinking, partying and self-medicating, but nothing seems to be making her happy. Then one day she sees the people she thought she trusted break a man’s spine – and enjoy it. Now Nasty is rethinking her entire life plan. Are these people, who can commit such atrocious acts, really her friends? Is she content with wallowing in her darkness? Determined to change her ways, Nasty disappears to a home for wayward immortals called River’s Edge. But as it turns out, changing one’s life isn’t as easy as it sounds, especially when painful memories from Nasty’s past keep cropping up, reminding her of things she’d rather forget.
Immortal Beloved was an interesting take on immortality, and a refreshing change from a lot of other stuff in YA at the moment. I loved the fact that our main character was an immortal, a four hundred and something year old woman trapped in a teenager’s body. Nasty may have looked like an adolescent (and okay, she spoke like one too), but she had an adult mindset. She had been married, a mother, a fighter – she was more knowledgeable about the world than any teen (and most other people) could ever be. There was definitely crossover appeal with Immortal Beloved – sure, at times, Nasty acted a little juvenile and did some stupid things, but she was, by all standards, an adult. As a teen myself, however, I still felt like I could relate to her. Nasty was strangely likeable. I thought I wouldn’t like her, and that she would be one of those attention-seeking party animals with no regard for others, but she wasn’t. She had a conscience (as faint as it was, it was there) and was just stumbling through (her very long) life, trying to find out what she really wanted. In that sense, she wasn’t really that much different from any other person. She was lost and confused, and just needed someone to help her out (which was where River came in, but more on her later). She was also quite fun, and despite the horrific things she had experienced in the past, she tried not to drown in self-pity. I loved the way she messed with Nell (another person at River’s Edge), who was annoying as hell. I don’t blame Nasty for disliking her, because Nell seriously got on my nerves with her fake sweetness and her desperation.
River, the owner of River’s Edge, was possibly the most intriguing character for me. Over a thousand years old, she had been an immortal for a very, very long time, and knew every trick in the book. She was trying to help everyone, trying to teach them that their lives didn’t have to be self-destructive, and she seemed like the most genuinely good character in the book. But there was something about her and all her mysterious wisdom that told me she hadn’t always been this way. I think she definitely had a dark, destructive past herself, and I can’t wait to find out more about her in book two.
Reyn (or the Viking god, as Nasty referred to him) was another fascinating character. It took me a while to warm up to him, because we really didn’t find out anything about him (except that he was insanely good looking) until the second half of the book (though he had that whole cool “I don’t give a crap” attitude going on that Nasty rightly described as making him even more infuriatingly attractive). And in that second half, well. I don’t even know what to say. I felt sorry for him. For Nasty. Their relationship (if you can even call it that) was pretty damn messed up. I guessed from the moment Nasty remembered something what was going to happen, but still. I don’t know what I would have done in this situation. Nasty and Reyn were clearly attracted to each other, clearly balanced each other out, but their pasts...could they ever get over their pasts? Who knows. I’m so curious as to what’s going to happen between them in the next book.
The pace of Immortal Beloved was quite slow; it was more about the characters than an action-packed plot, but I think it worked well and I enjoyed finding out more about everyone. The flashbacks were great because we got to see snippets into Nasty’s life when she was a young immortal, and it was interesting to see how different she was back then and how her past has affected her. Her ancestry was revealed slowly, and even though I was anxious to find out about Nasty’s heritage from the very beginning, I enjoyed how things were unfolded bit by bit.
Overall, Immortal Beloved was a very enjoyable read, and has been added to my “favourite immortal books” list. Give it a go if you’re looking for something different in YA, with characters that are beyond your normal teens.