Series Review: Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan

I received this book for free from ALA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Series Review: Immortal Beloved by Cate TiernanImmortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan
Series: Immortal Beloved #1
Published by Little Brown BFYR on September 7, 2010
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 407
Format: ARC
Source: ALA
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three-half-stars

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.

Immortal Beloved was one of my first ever ARCs. I read it way back in 2010, and I remember having very mixed feelings, but I will absolutely not link my review because I looked at it and honestly it was horrible and I’m judging my past self. On reread, I was actually quite surprised how much I enjoyed Immortal Beloved, though it does have a few aspects that I wasn’t wild about.

Immortal Beloved is a very short 400 pages, and I ripped through this one. The voice is nice and compelling and kept me turning the pages. I read the bulk of it in one day, and it was really nice after a string of books I’ve been struggling through one chapter at a time. There’s not a lot of action, actually, so it’s weird that I was so enraptured because the pace is actually pretty slow. For the most part, Immortal Beloved is an emotional journey, setting the stage for what will no doubt be much more intense sequels.

Nastasya (that’s not her original name) is over 400 years old. She’s a determined party girl, and she spends all of her time hanging out with her crew. Her catalyst for change is when her best friend Innocencio (Incy) uses his magic to break a cabbie’s neck for being mildly rude. Though her life was full of small cruelties, the horror of this act and the fact that she initially shrugged it off and went dancing with Incy has Nastasya scrambling to escape this life.

Grabbing onto a lifeline, Nastasya heads to the last place Incy would ever expect her to go: rural America. She goes to a sort of rehab for immortals, where teachers help them use their magic in good ways and to get in touch with the beauty of the moment through labor and a simple life. Nastasya struggles to settle in, but, once she cleans out, she starts learning a lot about herself that she’d buried in alcohol since her immortal youth.

The romance with Reyn will be too problematic for some readers for spoiler reasons, but I’m very much into their hate to love dynamic. The chemistry is high, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they work in book two. However, I hate the love triangle in this book, and the fact that the plot all hinges on a jealous mean girl who wants Reyn for herself. I’d have liked this book soooooo much more without that aspect.

Immortal Beloved was surprisingly fun and better than I recalled, probably because I have a bit more empathy for Nastasya than I had almost a decade ago. It’s not going to work for everyone, but if you’re looking for something quick with a hate-to-love ship, this might be worth a try. Though obviously that’s all going to depend on where the series goes from here. 😉

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:


Series Review: Immortal Beloved by Cate TiernanDarkness Falls by Cate Tiernan
Series: Immortal Beloved #2
Published by Poppy on January 2, 2012
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 392
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
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three-stars

Nastasya has lived for hundreds of years, but for some reason, life never seems to get any better. She left her spoiled, rich girl life to find peace at River's Edge, a safe haven for wayward immortals. There, she learned to embrace River's Edge, despite som drama involving the sexy Reyn, who she wants but won't allow herself to have. But just as she's getting comfortable, her family's ties to dark magick force her to leave.

She falls back into her old, hard partying ways, but will her decision lead her into the hands of a dark immortal? Or will it be her first step to embracing the darkness within her?

Somehow I’m still surprised by how much I’m enjoying this series. Darkness Falls is, for the most part, a continuation/rehash of the exact same plots and character arcs as Immortal Beloved, and the pacing continues to be super slow, but I’m continually inexplicably drawn in.

Nastasya continues to struggle with settling into life at River’s Edge. Despite the promising kiss at the end of Immortal Beloved, she still hasn’t been able to reconcile her feelings for Reyn with the fact that his family murdered her family and vice versa over four hundred years ago. I’ve got mixed feelings about this because I do think that’s a thing with which a person should absolutely struggle but also from a narrative perspective it gets redundant and frustrating.

At a little over the halfway point or thereabouts, an actual plot kicks in with Nastasya falling off the wagon and back in with Innocencio. Shockingly, this goes really really well. Hints are dropped for the plot in book three, and some creepy shit goes down. Frankly, the plotting isn’t the strongest element of the series. I’m hard-pressed to say what exactly it is that is the strongest element and what has me so rapt as I read. Maybe Nastasya’s voice or the concept or her dynamic with Reyn? Or maybe Tiernan’s just good at writing in such a way that there’s a nice narrative push forward even when the narrative is moving slowly.

If you liked book one, you’ll probably like Darkness Falls.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

Series Review: Immortal Beloved by Cate TiernanEternally Yours by Cate Tiernan
Series: Immortal Beloved
Published by Poppy on November 6, 2012
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 458
Format: ARC
Source: Gifted
AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

After 450 years of living, Nastasya Crowe should have more of a handle on this whole immortal thing....

After a deadly confrontation at the end of Darkness Falls, the second Immortal Beloved novel, Nastasya Crowe is, as she would put it, so over the drama. She fights back against the dark immortals with her own brand of kick-butt magick...but can she fight against true love? In the satisfying finale to the Immortal Beloved trilogy, ex-party-girl immortal Nastasya ends a 450-year-old feud and learns what "eternally yours" really means.

Laced with historical flashbacks and laugh-out-loud dialogue, the Immortal Beloved trilogy is a fascinating and unique take on what it would mean to live forever.

Hmmm. Well. I’m finished with Immortal Beloved, and I suppose my main feeling is a bit whelmed. This series definitely isn’t bad, but it’s also weak in a lot of elements. The main problem, I think, is that, back when these began, basically everything had to be a trilogy, so this is a trilogy. Immortal Beloved would have worked so much better as a standalone, cutting down to the core concept and showdown, moving the character development along at a brisker pace, and letting the romance sail a bit more smoothly.

Nastasya’s character development is fairly good, but it does move at a snail’s pace. It’s realistic, but in a novel it’s damn repetitive. I made it through two books like that with smooth sailing, but it was more of a struggle in the first half of book three. You keep waiting for Nastasya to finally mature, but you have to wait through a bunch of false starts first.

The weakness shows through with the other characters especially. No one else really has a character arc, aside from Reyn. Otherwise, despite the fact that many of them are essentially in rehab, they’re all fairly at peace (unless they turn out to be evil, which is less a character arc and more a plot point). The conclusion is surprisingly brutal, but, since I felt absolutely zero emotional connection to anyone besides Reyn and Nastasya, all the deaths meant zilch to me.

Did I like this series? Yes, definitely. Would I read it again? Not likely. Is it particularly memorable? Nope. Would I recommend it? IDK maaaaaaybe, but probably not.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

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