Second book in the Immortal Beloved trilogy, this one starts out with Nasty (Nastalya), still at River’s Edge, home for wayward immortals, working and trying to learn the path to light magyck and to stay away from the dark. But things keep going wrong, she loses her real job in town at the drugstore, she keeps making mistakes, and finally, after all this, she realizes that every time she is around, that’s when things go wrong – the trigger for her was a bread full of maggots, and a soup full of some nasty stuff that turned that way when she came into the room. So she runs out of the house, into the cold winter night, feeling that she is made for darkness. She has had recollections of her mother, the head of the house of power in Iceland, one of eight around the world, using dark magic to stop a gang of raiders from harming her and her children, including flaying a man with just her mind. Nasty believes that she is born of dark stock and will always be that way. Incy or Innocencio, her one time best friend, whom she originally fled from in the first book when he broke the back of a taxi driver who made them get out after they were too rowdy and mean in his taxi. He did it using dark magyck. But Incy finds her, and seems to be the same old Incy she knew for the last hundred years, charming, sincere, and fun. Not the wild haired, insane looking Incy who had been frantically searching for her in her visions of him, and who had killed her best friends in a rage in those same visions. Thinking that she is bound to be dark, and shouldn’t contaminate River’s Edge, she leaves with Incy, and is dragged back down into his brand of “fun.” For a while, she parties, dyes her hair magenta, from the white blonde that River had uncovered in a spell designed to find the real Nasty, and gets “real” clothes, not the ugly work clothes she had at the farm. But still, something isn’t right – she isn’t happy, or even content, losing herself in the parties – she can’t do that anymore. River’s teaching has opened her eyes. The remainder of the book is the coming to grips with who she really is, with who Incy is, and her place in the immortal world. The characters are well etched, although some of the people at the farm are only lightly built, since they have little or no place in the story. Her one-time love/hate guy, Reyn, the Butcher of the North as he used to be called, is also well-drawn -the tormented soul, seeking solace and respite. And River, the head teacher, is revealed as she shows Nasty what she used to be like, back in the 700s in Genoa. An interesting, different take on fantasy, and immortals – not gods, not vampires, just immortals. I wish they would delved deeper into the immortal lore – why are they that way, more about the eight houses, etc. perhaps in the final volume they will. With a trilogy it’s hard to say what should and should be in a book until you have read them all.
Categories I arbitrarily decided on