Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Book Review: Immortal by Gillian Shields

Immortal by Gillian Shields
The Immortal Series, Book #1
Published: August 4th, 2009
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
360 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Young adult urban fantasy
Acquired this book: at the library
Warning: may include spoilers
Synopsis, taken from the dust jacket of the book: Wyldcliffe Abbey School for Young Ladies, housed in a Gothic mansion on the bleak northern moors is elite, expensive, and unwelcoming.  When Evie Johnson is torn away from her home by the sea to become the newest scholarship student, she is more isolated than she could have dreamed.  Strict teachers, snobbish students, and the oppressive atmosphere of Wyldcliffe leave Evie drowning in loneliness.
Evie's only lifeline is Sebastian, a rebellious, mocking, dangerously attractive young man she meets by chance.  As Evie's feelings for Sebastian grow with each secret meeting, she starts to fear that he is hiding something about his past.  And she is haunted by glimpses of a strange, ghostly girl - a girl who is so eerily like Evie, she could be a sister.  Evie is slowly drawn into a tangled web of past and present that she cannot control.  And as the extraordinary, elemental forces of Wyldcliffe rise up like the mighty sea, Evie is faced with an astounding truth about Sebastian, and her own incredible fate.


My thoughts on Immortal:
In my usual completely random style of picking books (I almost never read the dust jacket first, I just choose books at random), I saw the title and cover of this book online somewhere and added it to my list.  I skimmed a few reviews for it on Good Reads and Amazon, and hoped I would enjoy it more than many other people seemed to, and I did.

I thought the plot was a really clever idea, and well-executed, too - Agnes's story interwoven with Evie's, the past and present mingling and intertwining.  I enjoyed the fantasy elements, as well as the romantic elements, and I really liked the writing style.  So many books seem to have a great idea for a story but no follow-through, and I didn't think that was the case with Immortal.  There were a few twists, turns and surprises to keep things interesting and keep me guessing at a couple of things, which I always appreciate in a book.  I also really enjoyed the setting - the Gothic school, the Abbey, the ruins, the moors - it helped add to the atmosphere of mystery and danger.

As for the characters, I'm on the fence about Evie.  I liked her for the most part, but she did start out kind of whiney and feeling sorry for herself - not that she wasn't justified, but I don't think anyone likes self-pitying, whiney characters, no matter how good the book.  She got over that when she met Sebastian, but then there were times when she'd throw tantrums over the littlest thing, which had me rolling my eyes a few times.  Granted, she's a sixteen-year-old girl with raging emotions and hormones, but I definitely thought there were times when she overreacted to small things.  I liked Sebastian - the dark, sexy figure cloaked in mystery and shadows, but still boyish in many ways.  As the book goes on, you begin to wonder at his motives with Evie, but he's still a likeable character.

All that being said, I really did enjoy this book and I'm looking forward to the second installment in the series, Betrayal.  I'm anxious to find out what happens to Evie and Sebastian, as well as Evie's friends and the fate of the school.



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