Immortal by Gillian Shields

Posted by Cobalt | Posted in , , , | Posted on 8:51 PM

Rating: 2/5 stars.

When I set out to write this review, I had trouble remembering the title -- was it Eternal? Abiding? Undying? Something to do with lasting forever...

Sadly, the book was equally forgettable. Take every Gothic cliche you've ever stumbled across on a stormy night in the churchyard, toss in some diary entries from a Ghostly Presence and stir in all the angst-ridden spices of a Doomed Teen Love, and you end up with something pretty bland and predictable. After The Splendor Falls, it almost felt like an object lesson in all the ways a supernatural-digging-up-the-past while exiled-to-a-strange-place story can fall flat.

The heroine is banished to Wyldcliffe Abbey School for Young Girls after her grandmother and primary guardian suffers a stroke (her father is off on military duty). The school, an appropriately gloomy Castle On the Moors type, just seems to be haunted -- by a redheaded girl who strikingly resembles Evie herself.

Le gasp!
Of course, Evie doesn't even make it to the school ("That cursed place!" the cabdriver hilariously --er, ominously -- snarls) before having an Eerie Encounter, with a young man on a dark horse who knocks her down in the rain and is terribly rude and yet mysteriously appealing...

Oh, I can't go on.

I didn't hate the book. I was just totally indifferent. To pretty much everything, from the prose to the characters to the themes (women harnessing magic = girl power! Evil controlling man who wants the magic = thinly veiled metaphor for male oppression!).

If you want to be inundated with Gothic sensationalism, read a Wilkie Collins. If you want a Doomed Romance on the Moors, read Wuthering Heights. Even better, check out Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, which takes all those stereotypes and gives them a firm tweak on the nose. Plus, you'll get a great romance with characters you'll care about (oh, Henry Tilney, please do smirk in my direction!). But unless you've never before encountered a Mystery on the Moors with a Young Girl and Shadowy Male Figure, you can give this book a pass on the shelves.

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