Thursday, October 25, 2012

Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan - Book Review

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. - As seen on Goodreads.

*sigh*  Soooo much potential here....

This is one of the hardest reviews I've had to write in a long time.  I didn't hate this book, but there were so many things wrong with it that I just want to howl in frustration and imagine the novel it could have been, should have been, instead of the novel that it was.

Let's start with the good, so I don't scare any prospective readers off with an onslaught of ranting right off the bat; Nastasya is a troubled girl, an immortal.  She is deeply flawed, but ultimately good, and Tiernan did a wonderful job of showing us this.  Her narrative is witty, wry, fun to read.  She makes us want to turn the pages, and overall keeps us entertained.  If you already want to read this book, I'd say to go for it.  It's at least worth the time it takes to read it.

Now, the bad.  Hold on tight, this could take awhile.

First off.  Why the hell even make these characters immortal?  Only in the back flash scenes do we really feel Nasty's - or anyone else's, for that matter - age.  For almost the entire novel, she seems like a troubled, repentant, snarky young lady, 25 at most.  Certainly not a whopping 459.  I honestly, honestly think this book would have worked better if they had simply been witches, not immortals.  By the way, "immortals" are just humans who...keep living.  They have magic, but nothing special.  Just your typical circle-based witchcraft.

We never got to hear how immortals came to be, why they exist.  We're just told they do.  Just go with it, we got this.  Don't focus on all the things that don't make sense, or all the questions we never even attempt to answer.  Laugh at Nasty's foolishness and take pride in her growth, and swoon over quite possibly the most disturbing romantic interest in YA history.

Oh, wait, I'm sorry.  Ex-disturbing.  He's reformed now.  And besides, Nasty immediately gets her panties wet when he's in the room, without knowing anything at all about him aside from his sullen sullenness.  If YA romance has taught us anything, he must be right for her.

Puh-lease.  Give me something to work with, here, Cate!  I want to shout your praises from the rooftops like I was doing with Sweep!  I want to fall in love with Reyn like I did with Hunter, to feel myself long for your next books as if returning to old friends!  Instead, I got this sloppily thrown-together novel that practically weeps with unrealized potential!

But wait, I'm not done ranting yet.

River's Edge, the immortal rehab school place where most of this book takes place, is run by River, an ancient immortal--I'm talking over a millennium old, here.  I liked her...sort of.  Shockingly, she wasn't developed enough.  I would have loved to know more about her past, the darkness she hints at that she managed to battle and chase out of herself.  I especially wanted to know why she chose to open River's Edge in the first place.  I know, I know, to help save straying immortal souls, but really.  Why did she decide to take that burden upon herself?  Is it out of repentance?  A sense of duty?  Heritage?

And finally, the ending.  It was so un-satisfying.  I'm having trouble even sifting through the final stagnant pages and finding the climax.  Okay, there were a few minor exciting things, but nothing that Tiernan should have chosen to go out on.  Nothing that makes you think, "I have got to get me the next Immortals book!"

And it's such a shame, because as I've already said, this book could have been so much more.  If Tiernan had chosen to put some concrete origins behind her immortals, developed the secondary characters a little more, brought Reyn into the forefront of the story so we could really understand his plight, well, I think Immortal Beloved would have been an easy 4 stars.  But the overwhelming underdevelopment robs it of almost all of its potential and leaves a merely somewhat entertaining book in its place.

Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan - 2.5 out of 5 stars.

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