Immortal Beloved – Cate Tiernan

“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. Captivating, intense and with an incredible and original voice, Immortal Beloved is a haunting story of friendship, love and secrets, tragedy and loss.”

I make no secret of my scepticism for paranormal fiction books. It’s been done to death (like the erotica craze now sweeping the book charts) and so many books of the genre are unoriginal and substandard. Unfortunately that’s exactly what I thought of this book when I opened Immortal Beloved and two of the first names I saw were ‘Innocencio’ and ‘Nasty’ – a snap judgement that the book quickly silenced. I kept reading a little further to see if the book could change my mind – and it completely did. Although at first it seems like a slow-paced read (I had already been sent the second in the trilogy so I knew that Nastasya’s tale would continue), the reader is soon plunged into what is essentially supernatural historical fiction, giving a great depth of detail about immortal Nastasya’s former life and the past that is constantly haunting her – especially the loss of her family at a very young age. After years of bar and bed-hopping, Nastasya is fed up with her depraved life (mostly spent in the companionship of her best friend Incy) and her friends’ reckless activities. Something snaps when she sees Incy paralyse a taxi driver for no reason and flees, checking in to an ‘organic farm’ – essentially, rehab for immortals that teaches them to find pleasure in labour and nature, healthy food and good living – whose owner River she met years ago.

She starts to embrace a clean and honest life, learning to shed dark magic, that takes energy from its surroundings to lend to the caster, and embrace pure, white magic. But on her path to righteousness she realises that someone is trying to hurt her, and the guy she’s had a reluctant crush on since she arrived – the Viking God-like Reyn – is stirring up some unwelcome memories that she’s long repressed…

Immortal Beloved is a gripping tale, embellished with a creative and high level of detail. Cate takes the time to spin the story out, familiarising us with the characters at River’s Edge and Nasty’s fascinating back story. I sped through this book so quickly I’ve already read the second (review coming soon) and I’m now desperate to devour the third! Throw out your Twilight rip-offs and naff paranormal bodice-rippers to make way for this dark and at times laugh-out-loud humorous trilogy.

Many thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for the review copy.

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