Review: Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan

Posted August 6, 2014 by Jessica in Jessica, Reviews, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult / 80 Comments

Review: Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan
Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan
Series: Immortal Beloved #1
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Published on: September 7 2010
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 416
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
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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.

Cate Tiernan, author of the popular Sweep series, returns with an engaging story of a timeless struggle and inescapable romance, the first book in a stunning new fantasy trilogy.

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Have you ever discovered a new book, by a new author, and absolutely LOVED it, so you go out and immediately buy the next book the author writes, and it’s not quite as good as the first one, but it’s still pretty good, so the next time a new book is released by that same author, again, you go out and buy it immediately, only this time it’s not very good at all, and you start to think maybe the author is a one hit wonder?<——that’s a REALLY long, yet (mostly?) grammatically correct, sentence.

That’s also really NOT what happened here. In fact, it was pretty much the reverse.

I discovered Tiernan’s Sweep series probably 10 years and inhaled it (all 15 installments) . It was okay, but the most I can say about it is that it was entertaining. Then I found her Balefire series, which was thankfully much shorter (only 4 installments) and it blew Sweep out the water.

So when I stumbled across Immortal Beloved, I was like, “Ooohhh . . . that looks interesting.”

And it was fantastic.

Nastasya, Nasty to her friends, is an immortal. No one is sure where the first immortal came from, but they can be found among every race and nationality. As is usually the case, they are not truly immortal—if you cut off their heads, burn their bodies, and scatter their ashes, they will not survive, but that’s a rather specific set of circumstances, so I don’t begrudge them their “immortal” status.

They also have the ability to learn and use magic.

If you know anything about Tiernan, then this is not a surprise. Tiernan excels at writing all things witchy, and Immortal Beloved is no exception. But Nasty avoids her magic, b/c she learned at a very young age how dangerous it was for her to let others learn of her abilities.

Why is it dangerous . . . ? I think you know where I’m going with this—READ THE BOOK *winks*

But Nastasya can no longer avoid her magic when she leaves the life she’s been living in London, and the friends she’s been living it with for the last hundred years, behind.

This book . . . is a very emotional story to read. Nasty has money and beauty and immortality and a collection of friends who have all of those things as well, and . . . they’re pretty damn awful to tell the truth. Nasty leaves without a word after Incy, her best friend, uses magic to break the back of a rude cabbie . . . b/c he can. B/c he was angry that the cabbie dared to call them out for their juvenile behavior. So he . . . broke the poor man’s back . . . left him in a puddle on the street beside his cab . . . used magic again to prevent the man from calling out for help . . . and then went clubbing.

YEP. Incy’s kind of a bastard.

And while Nasty is shocked and horrified by Incy’s behavior—she had no idea he could use magic that way—she allows herself to be steered towards the bar that the rest of her crew are headed for, starts drinking, and does not one thing to help the man.

The next day, she wakes up hungover and completely disgusted with herself, and decides that something has to change. She has no idea how she became the person she currently is, but she’s terrified of what it might mean for the rest of her very long life.

So she runs to the states.

She’d met a women about 80 years ago, you see, who told her simply to come if she decided she wanted more out of life.

So she does.

From there she enters a kind of rehab for immortals. It’s hard and it hurts, but Nastasya has reached a place where no matter how bad it is with River and the other immortals at the retreat, she can’t stand the thought of being anywhere else either . . . so she stays.

This book would be an excellent story even without the paranormal elements. Nasty doesn’t need to be an immortal or capable of magic for her story to draw you in, make you feel her agony and despair and determination to change, be better, be MORE. But she is . . . and that only makes things more interesting . . .

And then there’s Reyn . . . the Viking GOD. Well, okay fine, he’s not really a god, but he’s several inches over six feet of blond Viking warrior, and that’s good enough for me.

And they HATE each other. It’s fantastic. Nastasya and Reyn achieve the kind of slow burn combustibility that’s only possible when legitimate dislike is present, and it’s HOT.

So the characters are awesome. And despite what I said earlier about no one really knowing where immortals came from, the world-building in this series is VERY cool. It’s a mix of mythology and paganism, and I loved it. AND b/c even the youngest characters are as old or older than your grandparents, and no part of this story takes place on a high school campus, this is one of those YA novels that even readers 10+ years out of high school can enjoy. Immortal Beloved is an excellent first installment to this excellent trilogy. I recommend it to anyone who likes witchy UF and hot Viking gods.

Immortal Beloved series:

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My name is Jessica and I live in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I’m trying my hand at writing, but mostly I read. My favorite genres are Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, and the YA versions of those genres, but if there is a book of a different color getting lots of buzz, I’ll read it too, just to be informed. If I’m not reading or writing, I’m probably on Goodreads or Pinterest or baking blueberry pies because I love them.

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80 responses to “Review: Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan

    • Incy didn’t bother me so much, but Nasty is pretty terrible, LOL. She was called Nas or Nastasya (or one of the other names she’d had over the years), so it wasn’t too bad. And I can’t remember if they did or not, I just know I was happy with how it ended 😉

  1. Stephanie H.

    I discovered this series randomly at the bookstore some time after reading her Sweep series and was surprised how much I loved it. I may have a weakness for Vikings (Eric Northman anybody), but Reyn! Swoon! I loved seeing Nas grow throughout the series.

    • Me TOO. On ALL counts, LOL. In comparison to her other books, the series completely blew me away, and Vikings . . . I LOVE Vikings. Nas growing was a highlight as well, despite how painful it was at times. I’m glad you loved this series too 😉

  2. Your review is making me wonder why I didn’t finish this one. I remember trying to read it a few years back and I couldn’t get into it. It was weird and then I didn’t like the main character either. I think I got to the part where she gets to the US and just didn’t finish it. Does it get better after that?

  3. “And then there’s Reyn . . . the Viking GOD. Well, okay fine, he’s not really a god, but he’s several inches over six feet of blond Viking warrior, and that’s good enough for me.”

    It’s definitely good enough for me too Jessica! Yes to six plus foot blond Viking warriors. Just yes. And yes to antagonistic relationships! They’re my very favorite kind:) I read this one a while back but can’t remember all the details, but I know I got distracted and never finished the series. I need to do that!

  4. Yay! I’m so glad you found this series, Jessica! I read Immortal Beloved a few years ago when I found it in the library. (I haven’t read Tiernan’s other series) I adored IB!! You’re absolutely right about Incy being a bastard and Reyn being a GOD! *swoon* The plot is just fantastic and I really like the characters – with the exception of a few. 😉 I haven’t read the final book yet because I suck and haven’t made time for it. *ha* But book 2 was awesome! Excellent review!!

    By the by, I’ve been away on vacation – in your general vicinity, actually. Well, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and a few spots north. The fam went on a history/college tour vacation. Yep, I’m old enough to have a kid nearing college! Egads! Anyway, I was away from the computer but I’m catching up. 🙂

    • I’m glad you loved it too. This is one of those leftovers from before I’d even really connected to other readers on Goodreads, so I didn’t get to share my squee with anyone. LOTS of squee sharing now, LOL. And thanks!

      I have been too, so no worries, I completely understand. You’ll find out why to-mooooor-roooow. *sing songs* As much as I may wish otherwise, life does interfere with the blogging and the reading 😉

  5. I quite liked Tiernan’s Sweep series on the whole, and I was thinking of picking this one up at some point, and now it looks like I’m definitely going to have to do that. Even if just for the hot viking god *shifty eyes* 😛

    Would you say go for A Chalice of Wind first, or Immortal Beloved?
    Nara recently posted…Review: Take Me On by Katie McGarry

    • I would say Immortal Beloved first, just b/c I’ve (obviously, LOL) read it recently, and know that I love it. It’s probably been 5+ years since I read Balefire. BUT if you liked Sweep, I think you’d be safe either way, b/c they are both pagan/witchy like her other books.

      ALSO—no need to get shifty-eyed about the hot viking god . . . b/c hot viking god . . . 😉

  6. WITCHES ARE THE BEST! I love witches – they’re one of my favourite supes. Honestly I always thought that these books looked kind of hokey, but you haven’t steered me wrong yet…and I think we both know how awesome slow-burns are between people who “hate” each other. Bring it on, I say!
    Danya recently posted…Mini-Review: Black Rook by Kelly Meade

    • I love them too. Fae and Witches are my favorite, and while I’d probably tell you to steer clear of the Sweep series, I really do love this one. And YES, slow-burns are the BEST. Thanks, Danya!

  7. I haven’t tried this one I confess but I only read one book by the author and was quite disappointed but I should try more to see how they are, mainly this one. Great review!

    • Yeah, I’m pretty sure if I didn’t have prior experience with the author, this one never would have caught my eye either. I didn’t even it existed when I found it. And yay! I love that about you guys too 😉

  8. Ah! You’ve sold me again – more books to add to my overflowing tbr shelf! This is a new series to me, but it definitely sounds like something I would enjoy. Besides the paranormal aspect, it sounds heartfelt as well. And of course the below make me curious as well-

    “And they HATE each other. It’s fantastic. Nastasya and Reyn achieve the kind of slow burn combustibility that’s only possible when legitimate dislike is present, and it’s HOT.”
    Kim { Book Swoon } recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday: The Return by Jennifer L. Armentrout

    • Yay! This series seriously doesn’t get enough attention, so I LOVE finding someone who loved it as much as I did. Reyn and Nastasya are AMAZING, and that buuuuurrrrnnnnnnn<------LOVE it.

  9. Well, I seriously don’t know how you do it, Jessica, but I totally feel like I MUST GET THIS ONE ASAP!! And at least, for once you’re not making me add an entire series of 11 books to my wish list!!
    I love the sound of the main character and how she decides she doesn’t like who she is anymore… and a Viking god/warrior?? Yes please!!!
    Pili recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday #54!!

    • GAH. Sorry I’m taking so long to get back to you (LIFE), but no, actually, I don’t think this would be good for a 13 or 14 year old. I deliberately did NOT get this for my 14 year old sister, b/c it’s a bit mature IMO. Let me know if you want some recs, b/c I’ve given a lot of thought to that age in particular (b/c sister).

  10. My issue with immortals and YA is the “tone” of the immortals’ voices. I don’t want nor expect them them to act like their perceived age but their actual age. Ive read a few and was left disappointed because of this flaw. I’m assuming that even if this is YA it’s not like that based on your rating & gushes(?).
    braine recently posted…Liked It: Ghost Seer by Robin D. Owens

    • No . . . I don’t think it is. Nastasya is a troubled individual, but I don’t think she’s YA. I can’t comment as to her behaving like her actual age, b/c she’s like 400(ish), and I have no idea how someone that age would act, LOL. But I definitely don’t think she acts like a teenager. I tend to avoid that kind of YA myself 😉

  11. I love that you go back and read these older books that I have forgotten about. I have been meaning to try this author for a long time and I adore a good witchy read. I am adding this to the old TBR.

    • Woot! Mission accomplished 😉 And sometimes I have too, you know?–I get in these book funks, and the only thing that will break me out of it is a sure thing (or two), and it doesn’t feel fair to read new books when I’m already disinclined to like them . . .

  12. I am 70% sure that I once tried to read this book and gave up on it. I’m not entirely sure because I don’t recognize the cover. BUUUUTTT. I’m pretty sure the reason I gave it up (if I indeed did) it was probably because of the names. I can’t imagine myself referring to the main character as “Nasty”, lol.

    Also, viking GOD? HOT VIKING GOD? Are we talking about Thor here? LOL.

    I will totally give this book a chance (or a second one, xD). Great review!
    Marianne recently posted…Review: The Young World by Chris Weitz

    • Oh man, that means you haven’t read The Sea of Tranquility. YOU HAVE TO READ THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY, Marianne. It’s the best book EVER. It’s like up there with The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Flipped and . . . 😉

      And thanks! I hope attempt #2 goes better than the first one.

    • Probably b/c that Sweep series is like 10 years old and seriously of the high school YA demographic. This one is completely worth it though, and I’ve seen a lot of bargain priced hardcovers in bookstores/online—FYI 😉 Thanks, Berls!

  13. YAYYYYYY
    I am so glad to see you enjoyed this, Jess! I devoured this series a while ago and enjoyed every single moment of it. Nasty is SUCH a wonderful main character and I love how she has vulnerabilities but at the same time, she never becomes a depressing character. She’s laugh out loud funny and I ADORED reading about her journey in this book!

    ALSO REYN! OMG REYN. He should get an award for being fabulous. I LOVE the relationship between Nasty and Reyn mostly because it’s such a GREAT love/hate relationship and I love how over the course of the series they become more and more aware of their feelings for one another. IT’S PERFECT.

    I hope you enjoy the rest of the instalments in this series, hon if you haven’t devoured them already! 🙂

    FANTASTIC review as ALWAYS, Jess! 🙂
    Rashika recently posted…Review: Boomerang by Noelle August

    • WOOT!! I’m so glad you liked this one too, Rashika! I didn’t know that you’d read it, LOL. And yes, I LOVE Nasty.

      AND REYN. SO hot. I was already inclined to like him (b/c VIKING), but yeah, such an awesome love/hate dynamic.

      And I have devoured them already, LOL. Surprise, surprise—this was a reread *snorts*

      Thanks, dollface! Miss you!

  14. Krista

    I has hesitant to try this since I didn’t even finish the first book in the Sweep series (it was that bad for me), however I loved Immortal Beloved! Sadly, I liked the series less with each following book. I think the series could have easily been edited down to only two books, and the author seemed to be confused on whether she wanted this to be an adult or YA series.

    But 50 points for sexy Vikings with deep, dark secrets!

    • YES. Lots of points for sexy Vikings with dark and twisty secrets. It’s been awhile since I read the other two book, but I do have a vague recollection, of liking the 2nd and 3rd installments less than this one. BUT I did love this one enough for it to be worth it, and AGAIN–sexy vikings 😉

    • I know! Every time someone called her Nasty, I’d snicker and think “Nasty pants” to myself. This is definitely a good book if you’re feeling like an emotional read. LOVED it.