Immortal Beloved #1 and #2

Title: Immortal Beloved (Immortal Beloved #1)
Author: Cate Tiernan
Year: 2010
Language: English
Pages: 407
Format: Hardcover

The book is about an immortal girl named Nastasya Crowe who has spent most of the last 100 years living like a spoiled, rich, hedonistic bad-girl. She’s mostly strung out on something or other, barely eats, and spends her days getting drunk or high. She is an Immortal, which basically means she’ll live forever, presumably. Nastasya has lived for 450 years under different guises and for the last 100 of these she’s hung out with her best friend Innocencio and their gang of cronies, Boz, Katy, Stafford and Cecily.
One night on the town Innocencio tortures a random stranger and Nastasya suddenly has a wake-up-call and runs away from England to Massachusetts. There she goes to River’s Edge, a sort of rehab for wayward Immortals, run by River. She starts to learn that she can use magic without it being Dark, like Innocencio, and the reader learns about Nastasya’s past and her different identities.
She also meets the perpetually angry Viking-like Adonis Reyn who she has an immediate attraction to, he also seems inexplicably linked to her past. Things seem to be going better until she finds out someone wants to kill her.

The main character is Nastasya Crowe who has lived under hundreds of different identities over the centuries. She’s lived for about 450 years and is originally from Iceland. She has quite a dark past and is spectacular at not facing anything that resembles emotion. She goes to River’s Edge because she witnesses her best friend over the last 100 years paralyzing a man that annoys him, for no other reason than he can. Nastasya seems to wake up and realize she can’t live like that anymore.
Nastasya thinks she is destined to go dark and she doesn’t want to use magick because she might go to the Dark side. When she comes to River’s Edge she continues refusing to face her demons. She also stays sort of closed off. She does however discover that she has powers she didn’t know about and the reader discovers she’s pretty spectacular without Nas herself realizing. She seems intent on helping others even though she’s a mess herself. She stands up to people she thinks does wrong and she tries to help people she barely even knows.
I like Nas. I can’t really help it. She’s so scathing and sarcastic and she just wants to help and try to be good and she’s so perfect without knowing it. It annoyed me slightly that she wears a scarf to cover up something and through a century of getting drunk, high or strung out she has never slipped up once and no one but her knows what it hides. Other than that Nas seems to be sort of awesome. I really like her so much. She doesn’t know how awesome she is, and that makes it better.

Reyn is the Viking Adonis that finds Nas sitting in her car outside River’s Edge. He tells her quite bluntly that she shouldn’t be there and he spends most of the book being angry with her and everyone else. He seems to have spent a lot of time at River’s Edge and seems annoyed at anyone trying to disrupt life there.
No matter how much he and Nas dislike each other there is this fire and spark between them and they seem to have a common past. The romance aspect between them gets sort of pushed on the both of them and they both fight it vigorously.
I think Reyn is interesting. I don’t want to spoil stuff, but his past, which comes out in flashbacks through Nas, shows this really troubled guy who’s lived for a long time and struggles with what he’s spent his life doing. It’s interesting because he gives a human and regretting perspective to a very violent past. He lived a life where violence was what you did and he’s trying to come to terms with it.

River runs the sanctuary at River’s Edge. She’s the oldest Immortal Nas has ever met, as she was born in the 700s. She is this all-knowing, kind, spectacular person who takes in anyone and believes that anyone can be saved. She met Nas in the 1920s and told her she could always come to River’s Edge if she wanted to stop being a destructive brat.
River is sort of this obvious character. She’s exactly what Nas needs, kind, smart, she’s like Dumbledore, Gandalf and Yoda rolled into one awesome lady. I still love her. She is always willing to teach, forgive, give second chances, and to trust. She just seems like the kind of person you want to meet and you want to hug you.

Innocencio is Nas’s friend. They’ve been best friends for a century and pretty much wreaked havoc through the world, seducing heiresses, taking all the drugs, and drinking all the alcohol. He is mostly a catalyst, because his behavior makes Nas realize she can’t go on like she has. He cripples a rude taxi driver with Dark magick and acts like it’s something the man deserves. Innocencio is cruel, beautiful and slightly insane, which makes him sort of perfect. It annoyed me slightly that he and Nas hung out for a hundred years and she never noticed his sadistic behavior earlier. It doesn’t just happen over night, does it? Or Nas is really obtuse, or was suddenly shaken out of her stupor, but it seemed sort of unlikely. The flashbacks show us things Incy and Nas have gotten up to earlier and they are just as cruel as what he did to the taxi driver, if not as violent. That bugged me slightly.
Incy seems to think that his Immortality grants him some sort of free pass and he’s entitled to the respect of others without doing anything to deserve it. He made me want to read more, especially as we learned more about him through Nas’s visions. He comes across as completely insane and codependent, and he’s very interesting to me and he is frightening. You sort of wonder what he can get up to later on.

What I thought
I really loved it, but I feel like I shouldn’t. I don’t know why. There are so many things that are good. Nas and Reyn and their weird damaged relationship is awesome. Nas is spectacular. I think the way it’s written is really good. I think that the concept is fucking weird, but it works. It’s a bit weird that I’m so fascinated with a book where very little happens. There isn’t like a big storyline with a climax that the story works up to, but I still love it. I couldn’t stop myself from picking it up. Whenever I put it down I picked it up again instantly. I really loved it and I can’t wait to go on to number two. Speaking of which:

Title: Darkness Falls (Immortal Beloved #2)
Author: Cate Tiernan
Year: 2012
Language: English
Pages: 400
Format: Hardcover

Nastasya’s stay at River’s Edge continues and she keeps learning about herself and her history. She starts avoiding Reyn, while simultaneously being jealous of the attention he gets from other women. At the same time darkness seems to creep in on River’s Edge. Everything Nas does goes wrong, worms appear in their food, she gets fired and her relationships with regular people in town go to hell. She starts to wonder why she’s even at River’s Edge.
Eventually she starts to think that the darkness is her fault and that she is endangering everyone else so she makes the decision to leave River’s Edge and Incy finds her in the forest. She goes with him and has a sort of setback. Nevertheless Nas goes through a whole lot of crap and grows up a whole bunch, which is impressive when you’re pushing 460.

We learn more about Nas in this book, more flashbacks, more awesome, and we delve further into the darkness she struggles with. We get to see more of her memories and how she turned into the person she is. Nas also does a whole lot of growing up in this book and she learns that everyone has got bad memories and bad things in their past to atone for. This is particularly true for Immortals, because they have a lot of past to look back on. She also starts to realize that having crap in your past is not an excuse to act like a total shit.
What I found interesting is that in the first book, at least in the first couple of chapters Nas doesn’t seem to have a concept of right and wrong. At least not morally right and wrong. When she tells Incy, in the second book, that something is wrong he asks for whom it’s wrong, Nas tells him it’s just generally wrong. I think she’s taken a big step in recognizing that some things are just wrong, no matter if they benefit one person.
Through the flashbacks we also learn that Nas is independent and clever and she likes to stand up for herself. She doesn’t want to be dependent on anyone but herself, which is a good thing every now and again. She also learns that she can open up in this book and that’s good.

Innocencio becomes a bigger part of this book and we learn more about him. He is a really creepy dude. Whenever his friends voice concern for him he launches into paranoid and attacked mode, and then bounces straight back to happy-go-lucky-Incy again. We also get to see more of their shared history and see some of the things they do. It gets pretty clear that Nas must have been severely emotionally stunted earlier because it takes her time and insight to realize that what she did in the past was reprehensible. Incy does in no way grow or realize this. I think he’s extremely interesting. He gets away with a lot just because he’s pretty and charming and he has an impressive sense of entitlement.

River becomes more layered as well in this book. I think Darkness falls is the book where we learn that everyone has got shit to deal with. Even though River is all awesome and collected now she did horrible things when she was younger and she also has things to atone for and to try and forgive herself for. It’s important to learn that for Nas who seems to be under the impression that she’s the worst person in the universe.

What I thought
Alright so I loved the first book although for some inexplicable reason thought I was supposed to hate it. I sort of have the same feeling now. There is something bugging me and I can’t put my finger on it. I still love the series. I love how everyone develops. There are loose ends, but who cares cause there’s another book coming. I just love them.