27 July 2011

YA Book Review: Immortal by Gillian Shields

Release Date: 1 August 2009
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: HarperTeen "Browse Inside"

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Goodreads description:
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. 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...

While Immortal isn't the kind of book that surprise and blew me away, it was a pleasant, fast-paced read.  Shields' writing is well-crafted and her gothic abbey boarding school setting, complete with ruins, was well-put-together and vividly imagined.

Evie is sent to boarding school when her grandmother becomes too ill to take care of her.  From the beginning, Evie has a very "poor me," self-deprecating attitude.  I found myself quite a bit annoyed with her at the beginning because I felt like she didn't really even attempt to make herself at home at the school.  Her "whiny" nature made it difficult for me to connect with her as a reader/friend/acquaintance. 

Evie's instant and immensely strong bond with Sebastian also through me for a bit of a loop.  Where Evie is whiny, Sebastian is the epitome of teenage boy angst. The two of them together made sense only in so much as they could wallow together.  The reader sees very little in the way of relationship development and a solid reason for the strong connection between the two.  (And I say these things as a reader who generally accepts the whole "insta-love" thing pretty darn well.)  I just couldn't figure out why Evie was so determined to be with Sebastian.

Overall, the redeeming quality in this book truly is the pacing.  The story moves along at a quick pace and keeps the reader engaged.  It was easy to read the book via HarperTeen's "Browse Inside" feature during work breaks and such.   I liked the magical element to the story and the way that it wove together the past and present.  Agnus' journal entries were also a welcome addition to weave together the past and present and help the reader begin to piece things together. I did like this one enough that I've checked out the second book from the library in hopes that Evie steps up a bit!

This is my second "HarperTeen July" post! (4 of 5)

1 comment:

Reflectionsofabookaholic said...

I'm not sure I could find the characters likeable.  Fantastic review!

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