“Now he was kissing me, not in a scary way, not with hostility, but with warm, seductive intent. In a hayloft, in the barn, in the middle of the night. This scene brought to you by the letters W, T, and F.”
Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan
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Fantasy, 407 pages
September 7th 2010 by Little, Brown BYR
Weirdly, unexpectedly, I was sort of amazed by this. I'd heard of Cate Tiernan but never read anything by her. I'd had friends that pushed this on me (especially one who shall remain
I friggin loved it.
There were so many times it could have gone wrong - even should have gone wrong. So many pet peeves and really bad tropes that had the potential to just kill it dead. And yet, Cate Tiernan not only made those pet-peevish things work, she made me like them. She made me say, yeah, ok. I'm with you.
460 year old club kid? Sure.
Protag who is powerful and special and gosh darn incredible without realizing it? Okay.
Melodrama, crazy instant attraction, and a healthy dose of angst? Bring it.
Viking alpha male almost-rapeyness? Why the eff not?
I don't understand it. If you had mentioned even one of those things, I probably would have quirked an eyebrow and said "Pass". I would never have conceded to the possibility that I might end up liking any one of them. But I did. Like, a lot.
Cate Tiernan, you're a crafty one. I understand why you write about witches, because clearly you are one.
I have to say, I love when someone proves me wrong. I love when someone takes something that I think is never going to work, and then makes it work.* In less skillful hands, so much of this could have been very bad. In less skillful hands, this book could have ended by being tossed against a wall, and this review could have been a rant. But I wasn't irritated. I didn't hate everything. I didn't hate anything. I feel vaguely warm and fuzzy. It's more than a little unsettling.
I could tell you all of the reasons that it worked, or all of the things I really liked, like how it was a great set-up for the series and had interesting world-building. Or how I really liked Nas and wanted to know more about her, and Reyn, and River and Incy, and all the rest. I could tell you about how the flashbacks kept me intrigued and flowed well, rather than feeling abrupt and "foreshadowy" and pissing me off. I could tell you about how it handles the concept of immortality better than just about any vampire/immortal/paranormal YA out there, or how it has this almost epic feel to it.
I could tell you all of those things, but what would be the point? All I really want to tell you is to pick this one up and give it a chance, and let you find those things out for yourself.
Immortal Beloved was a strong start to a promising series - really really really readable and engaging, and I definitely get the appeal of Cate Tiernan now. I love when something thwarts my inner bitch and robs me of a good rant.
I like you Cate Tiernan; I've got my eye on you...
~ Other shiny editions ~
*Did anyone else just hear Tim Gunn in their head?