Thursday, September 09, 2010
Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan
Nastasya was born into darkness, and has embraced it her whole life. Four hundred years ago, a tragedy robbed her of her birthright, and she’s been living a lie ever since. Now, four centuries of exploring the depths and limits of dark power has left Nastasya feeling sickened unto death. If she continues down this road, she will end up as a very dark, twisted, evil thing—with unthinkable power. Or she can begin the long, painful road toward light, and reclaim the destiny that others tried to destroy. They’re rare. You may have never met one, never sat next to one on a plane, never eaten in the same restaurant at the same time. But the Immortals are there. Have always been there. Will always be there. Moving among humans, playing out their own cursed fate. Sometimes subtly, sometimes with huge, sweeping implications for mankind. But no one will ever know. Except you.
When I first picked up this book, I was skeptical. It didn’t really sound different from most of what’s already out there, but something about it made me want to give it a try. And, boy, am I glad I did.
Nastasya is such an interesting character. She’s both cowardly and strong, which makes for an intriguingly unique (and realistic) combination. She is independent and strong enough not to lose her head over Reyn, whose hotness is truly lust-worthy. It’s even more refreshing that she doesn’t do the “Why doesn’t he like me? What’s wrong with me?” whiny thing. Instead, she just accepts the situation for what it is and moves on. I loved that about her.
But she’s also a practiced coward. Born over four hundred years ago, she’s undergone some pretty serious loss, trama, and rough times. As a result, she’s turned running away into an art form. Before anyone even gets the remotest chance of getting close to her, she’s gone. She reinvents her appearance, adopts a new name, and self-medicates herself into oblivion. It’s only when she meets her fellow partiers—Innocencio, Boz, Stratton, Cicely, and Katy—that she forms some semblance of friendships. But they’re not really friends, because there’s no depth there. She doesn’t know them and they don’t know her, because she won’t let them in. And when Innocencio freaks her out by breaking a human’s back, she runs. Again. It’s so...Nastasya. :)
The self-assured Nastasya conflicts so well with the cowardly Nastasya that, once I picked it up, I could not put this book down. Nastasya goes on a reluctant journey of self-discovery, and ends up finding a place for herself in the world that she doesn’t want to run from. The road isn’t easy (not by a long shot), and it’s clear there is much more to her story regarding Innocencio, and even Nell, which I’m guessing will come in the next book.
Tiernan did a fantastic job of establishing Nastasya’s story and giving us the full picture of her life, while still teasing us about what is to come. This is one of the best examples of character development I’ve ever seen, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.