Last night my whole world came tumbling down. Now I'm running scared.
New name, new town, new life. Nastasya has done it too often to count. And there's no end in sight. Nothing ever really ends...when you're immortal.
Finally disgusted with her meaningless party-girl life, Nastasya heads to River's Edge, a safe haven for wayward immortals. She trades her designer clothes for jeans and flannel, and the hardest drink available is tea. There she meets "the Viking god," the gorgeous, undeniably sexy Reyn. Nastasya desires him, of course, but there's something uncomfortably familiar about him that makes her wary, cautioning her to stay away. But she can't.
Soon Nastasya realizes that this place holds the key to her salvation - and her possible destruction. She's not the only one at River's Edge with dark secrets. And sometimes dark secrets can be fatal - even for an immortal.
Cate Tiernan, author of the popular Sweep series, returns with an exhilarating story of timeless struggle and inescapable romance, in this first book of a stunning new fantasy trilogy.
I saw this one at the library the other day and was intrigued. I've never read any of Cate Tiernan's work before, though I had heard of her, so I brought this baby home and sat down with it that evening. Hours later at about 2 AM, I finished it. What a book! It's interesting that it was published as YA; all the characters might look like they're still in the latter half of their teens but they're all older than that - the youngest of them decades old. Nastasya herself is almost half a millennium young.
At first, Nastasya doesn't seem like much. As mentioned above, she's a party girl, and has been for many years. Living an empty life of bar-hopping and city-hopping with her coterie of friends seemed like a good way for her to stay shallow and unattached, or at least it was until one cold, rainy night in London, she saw her supposed best friend, Innocencio, break their cabbie's spine for kicks with his magic. Her eyes are opened at that moment and by the next morning, she's fled Europe for a little town in Massachusetts, USA. It isn't until Nastasya's been at River's Edge for a little while that we get to see that her frivolous life hasn't been easy after all; in fact, Nastasya's life has been a fairly miserable one. The only surviving member of her ubermagical family, there is a lot that she has to learn about herself and her magic.
I liked Nastasya - Nasty, as her friends call her. She's snarky as hell and I LOVED her sense of humor. Here's a taste, from pages 144-145:
...I was sweeping and humming the mice's song from [Cinderella]. And let's all ponder just how far my life had fallen, in terms of excitement and chicness, shall we? Yes. Pretty damn far.
"I'll drive," Nell's voice said gaily from below, in the front hall. Her light brown head appeared by the stair banister, and next to her Reyn said, "I can drive." I had decided he was the Viking god Odin, god of odiousness.
Nell gave a pretty pout, and the devil grabbed me by the tail. I called down, "By all means, let him drive, Nell. He has a weenie. It makes a huge difference."
Her blue eyes widened and she stared up at me, first as if wondering at my audacity, then in irritation as she realized Reyn was also looking up at me.
I was bored. Time to stir the pot a little. Sweeping busily, I said, "I mean, not with driving, it doesn't make a difference. Of course. But in other stuff. Peeing standing up and all."
Reyn's voice was tight. "Your point?"
"No real point. Just lobbying for your right to drive. I mean, you're old enough, right? How old are you? Like thirty?" Most of him looked barely twenty, twenty-two, except his amazing eyes. His eyes looked hundreds of years old.
He didn't say anything, and Nell frowned. "He's two hundred and sixty-seven. I'm eighty-three. And how old are you?" Her British accent was crisp.
"Older." I went down a step and continued sweeping. I'd gotten it down to an art: one broad stroke across, then two quick vertical strokes to get each corner. How was this saving my soul, exactly? Like, was I sweeping my way to salvation, or what?
"Oh, good, I caught you before you left," said River, coming down the hall from the kitchen. "You two are going to town, aren't you?"
"Yes," said Reyn.
"And Reyn's going to drive," I said. "Because he's a booooyyyy."
She's not a people pleaser but isn't afraid to reach out if she sees someone who might need her help. She's attracted to Reyn but tells him off whenever she gets a chance. No doormat here. Nasty has a complicated past and we only get pieces of it at a time. The reveal near the end isn't earth shattering by that point, at least not to the reader. The magic element of Immortal Beloved takes a bit of a back seat for most of this book; it's essential in the immortal's lives but for Nasty, it's not as important. In fact, she's rather scared of it, or rather, what it means.
Nasty's friends, including Innocencio, are looking for her and are on their way to River's Edge. I have a feeling that they're in for a big surprise in book two of this trilogy, which is yet to be titled but looks to be released in September 2011. Nasty's coming into her own and isn't what they'll be expecting. Immortal Beloved was a pleasant surprise for me and if you want to read a YA novel that doesn't talk down to you, read it. I hope you like it too.