Terri (Reading By Starlight)'s Reviews > Immortal

Immortal by Gillian Shields
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's review
Dec 09, 10

bookshelves: fantasy, young-adult, low-urban-fantasy
Read in September, 2010

I’m finding it difficult to intro this, so we’re going to dive right in!

The story is very reminiscent of A Little Princess: a girl with a military father gets packed off to a boarding school where she is treated badly and the other kids don’t like her. Unlike Sara Crewes in Princess, Evie starts off as a scholarship student, so she has to set out tea for the other girls and do small chores as a “thank you” to the school (hello, forced child labor?).

Evie meets a young man named Sebastian, whose mysterious yet charming personality intrigues her. She starts seeing ghosts and visions during the day, and the other scholarship student, Helen, keeps warning her away from Sebastian but won’t tell her why. Meanwhile, another student, Celeste, is doing everything she can to make Evie miserable, because of her grief at the tragic death of her cousin Laura, whose bed is now Evie’s.

Every few chapters, Shields switches to the diary of Lady Agnes, a well-to-do girl who lived 100 years in the past and whose best friend, Sebastian, has found a book of magic. The book contains the secrets of power of the Mystic Way, a system of magic that will give the pure-hearted control over the Elements, which are the basis of life itself and give them a variety of abilities, depending on their element. When the Mystic Way refuses Sebastian on his own merit, he asks Agnes to gift him with power. She reluctantly does so, but he is easily frustrated by his limited abilities, growing jealous of Agnes’ natural ability with Fire. When his lust for power causes him to threaten Agnes if she doesn’t gift him with immortality, she runs away to London, hiding her power in an amulet and hoping to escape Sebastian forever.

On the whole, the back story was far more interesting than the present day story. Evie seems obsessed with Sebastian, who doesn’t seem like that interesting of a character. He seems tortured and angsty, but doesn’t have much personality outside that. I found it difficult to understand why Evie just had to be with him, and even more difficult to believe why she kept trusting him. At one point, after she realizes that she “loves” him and has discovered that he’s a ghost from 100 years ago who killed someone out of his desire for power, she decides it doesn’t matter whether he’s evil. I thought that was pretty stupid and naive. Of course it matters if he’s EVIL! I liked the part about the Elemental power, but that’s mostly because I’ve always loved that kind of stuff. (For example: I have all of the Avatar: The Last Airbender DVDs, I loved the faeries on Neopets, and elemental magic features heavily in the novel trapped in my head.) I’m giving it a 2.5 because while the writing wasn’t bad and the story was mediocre, the main character was stupid and no amount of good writing can make up for that.



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