Author Cate Tiernan is probably best known for her Sweep Series. When I had the chance to get all three of the Immortal Beloved books *in hardcover* at once, I quickly snapped them up, without ever having read anything by Teirnan before.
The Immortal Beloved Series
1 – Immortal Beloved
2 – Darkness Falls
3 – Eternally Yours
by Cate Tiernan
Release Date: 2010 – 2012
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Summary from 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.
February was the month of digging into the lovely books I purchased on Boxing Day from Book Outlet. After reading many different books all over different series, I was in the mood to read a series from beginning to end and chose Immortal Beloved. The books are around 400 pages each, but they read quick. I actually read the trilogy in about a week, which is an achievement when you’re a mother and a full-time student.
I loved Natasya (more on that later) and to be honest, I started the book completely jealous of her crazy, care-free immortal life style. That faded as I realized that her partying was her way of coping with 450-ish years of hell. I really bonded with her as a character, which is something I usually have more difficulty than I would like to admit. She’s so… REAL – and that is an aspect in leading roles that seems to be lacking in YA these days.
In my life, I have the privilege of things like war and famine being far away, in history or in the news. Going through the process of self-healing and discovery with Natasya and Rayn brought many feelings to the surface. I felt raw and sad, missing times that were well before my own. Sometimes I wished for 500 year old memories and then realized that living forever seemed more like a curse than a blessing. If there’s one thing that Cate Tiernan does perfectly, it was the flash-back. They were each so richly written that I felt as if I was holding a tiny time machine in my hands. She is a masterful writer.
Going by the blurb, I was worried about insta-love between Natasya and Rayn, but I was pleasantly surprised. Now granted, there was some insta-lust, but I’m pretty sure I’d be giddy over this Viking God too. All of the characters blended together well and all grew at a good pace. Of course, Natasya had some of the best character development.
As i cracked open the second book, Darkness Falls, I was mostly anticipating what would come for the “villains”, Boz and Incy. Teirnan wrote these indulgent, self-destructive characters perfectly and I think even in our modern lives, we all know one or two people that remind us of Boz, Incy and the other wayward Immortals. I won’t put any spoilers in here but whoo-wee Incy! I love myself a bad boy … but he took it too far.
Unfortunately, what irked me the most was the inconsistencies in the Immortal’s world/backstory/rules. Half the time the reader got a “It is because I say so” or “It is because it is” answer to basic questions about where the Immortals come from and how they age. The information slowly built up over the course of the series, but many questions were still left unanswered. I would have liked their culture and past to have been a bit more well developed, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the series.
About the cover change. While the new editions of covers are lovely and cohesive and filled with “girl in a gown” goodness, I prefer the original 2011 covers. They seem to match the tone and topic matter of the novels better. My set at home has the 1st book in the original cover, and the other two in the more recent renditions. I’m glad I have at least one original, because I adore the pendant imprint on it. It’d make a sweet tattoo – just sayin’.
If there’s one thing I love most about Tiernan’s writing, it’s the tone. Natasya’s narration was the perfect mix of funny, sarcastic and self-serving, as I would expect an immortal “teenager” to be. There were several times that I laughed out loud and other times where I shook my head at her ridiculousness. Cate Tiernan has worked in children’s and teen publishing for a long time and she has mastered the technique of a perfect narrator.
There’s a lot more about this book that I could get into, but then this review would go on forever. Let’s just say that this book came to me exactly when I needed it. I’ve been going through some things myself lately and having Natasya go through them with me made me feel like I wasn’t so alone.
The question is now… what to read next? I probably won’t dive into Sweep, because I’ve heard that it can be quick offensive and eye-roll inducing for Wiccans. However, when shopping for this series, I also got my hands on Birthright, which seems like it will be a great read. But I also have a bunch of new releases to read.
If only I was Immortal, then I could finally have the time to read everything.