(NB: This review is a little weird. I never wrote a review of this book for my blog, despite having read it after having set up the blog. But I did have a sort of back-to-basics review on Goodreads. However, in preparation for the upcoming review of its sequel, I decided to go back, tweak the review that I did have a little and get one on here.)
One day I went into my local English-language bookshop and there was this book, sitting on the shelves, looking at me. Look at that cover art! I didn't even bother to read the back of the book. I just picked it up and bought it. Funnily enough, there was a girl in front of me in the queue who, it transpired, had done the exact same thing. We had a bit of a giggle together at how shallow we are, but honestly, I could not pass up that cover art. I had to have it on my shelves!
Story: 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.
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.
Thoughts and impressions: Nas is an immortal and able to channel magics. One night, her best friend cripples an innocent man using magics and Nas realises that her life has gone off the tracks and she needs to get control over it again. She finds shelter at a place for rehabilitaing immortals where everyone wants to help her to find her inner peace. But she still has to come to terms with who she is, her past and her present.
I loved Nas as a character. She was incredibly complex as an immortal who's been around for a good 450+ years. She's lived through so many difficult periods and the flashbacks serve to illustrate the many woes she has suffered. At times her story would really pull on my heartstrings. But then, as the world advances and Nas is slowly able to become a person herself rather than the shadow of a husband, she slips into darker ways, fueled by her best friend, Incy.
I have to admit that I was unsure about this book in the beginning. The first chapter was about Nas's party kids group, taking drinking and "fun" too far, resulting in a horrible incident that none of them did anything about. After that it gets very repetitive for a while, where Nas becomes her own worst enemy, questioning her every move and motivation. It improved vastly after a while when another immortal, much older than Nas herself, forces her to come to terms with her life the way she's been living it and sets out to help her find a sort of inner peace.
Well, inner peace is never easy to achieve and it's even harder when you've got a sexy, but reserved, golden warrior who's giving you a hard time but to whom you are inexplicably attracted. It's even more difficult when someone seems to be trying to kill you.
It's a storyline that's been worked before, but I enjoyed it a lot with its tweaks. I really liked the way that Nas was shown as almost being a master of disguise - she would reinvent herself with each new 'life' until she'd completely lost the girl she once was. I would have liked a less obvious antogonist (once Nas had stopped being both the protagonist and the antagonist) as it would have given the story that extra twist if it had been someone you'd never have expected who meant Nas harm.
I'm looking forward to the second book in the trilogy and seeing where the author will take it from here.
Style: Quirky, very chatty. Nas makes for a wonderful narrator.
Final verdict: I loved it! It was one of my top two reads of the summer. 5 stars
Extra notes: Bad language present. No sex.