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My Soul to Keep (African Immortals, #1)
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My Soul to Keep

(African Immortals #1)

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  5,000 ratings  ·  548 reviews
When Jessica marries David, he is everything she wants in a family man: brilliant, attentive, ever youthful. Yet she still feels something about him is just out of reach. Soon, as people close to Jessica begin to meet violent, mysterious deaths, David makes an unimaginable confession: More than 400 years ago, he and other members of an Ethiopian sect traded their humanity ...more
Published September 11th 2015 by Recorded Books (first published June 29th 1997)
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Shereda I read this book at least three times (it's been at least 7 years since I read it last). I give this book five stars every time. What flaws did you fi…moreI read this book at least three times (it's been at least 7 years since I read it last). I give this book five stars every time. What flaws did you find? (less)
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Average rating 4.16  · 
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Nov 08, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: urban-fantasy

More of a 2.5 really but you can't give half stars here so...

I want to begin by saying that this is a very well written piece of urban fantasy. Considering all the urban fantasy out there that sucks, and all the lame and awful vampire/werewolf/ghost/witch in modern times books out there this one is definitely a winner. It has a broad scope and the story effectively wanders through time from ancient history to modern times (well semi-modern like the 90's so there is a bit of a disconnect there).
Jonathan Janz
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been hearing the name Tananarive Due for several years, but I hadn't given her stuff a shot until this book.

Man, have I been missing out.

Here's the thing about Tananarive's writing: From the very first chapter until the very end of the book, you sense this marvelous combination of total authorial control and utter narrative abandon. The former sensation stems from Ms. Due's elegant, evocative prose; the latter arises from the jaw dropping unpredictability of the plot. The writing is so st
May 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My name is Dah-west. I was born in what is now called Ethiopia nearly five hundred years ago. I am an immortal. There are fifty-eight others like me. Our blood lives forever, and our bodies heal. We do not age. We were not born this way, and our condition is not genetic. We underwent a Ritual. We do not have extraordinary strength, and it is not our purpose to harm others. We are merely a race of scholars. Most of us choose not to mingle among mortals, but sone of us do. We love, and we have fam
Brooklyn Darkchild
Aug 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantasy/sci-fi/paranormal fans
Recommended to Brooklyn by: my daughter
The things we do for love, right?
Dawit is a five-hundred-year-old immortal who has loved and lost three wives: one in Ethiopia hundreds of years ago, one who was killed in slavery times, and one he was forced to abandon by his brethren in the 1920s. But never had he loved a wife the way Dawit loved Jessica. One could say he was obsessed with her.
Young, brash, and professional, Jessica considered Dawit almost a gift from God, and could never fathom just what this wise older professor saw in her.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Richard Derus
Jul 10, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindled
***10 JULY 2019***99¢ — yes, NINETY-NINE CENTS — for a book that should be in any serious reader of horror/supernatural/speculative fiction's head. ...more
Sep 25, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
I was going to read and finish this for Halloween Bingo 2016, but since this is a DNF, it doesn't count towards the bingo. I finally just gave up reading this after I realized that I didn't like either main characters, and the book pace was so slow, it was positively glacial.

We find a man (or is he?) visiting an old woman in a retirement home. The man is sad to see that the woman has grown old (by the way this is really stupid when the reveal shows who he is, shocker dude, people get old) and th
It took me a long time to get into this book. Partly because not a lot happens in the first two thirds of the story and partly because i found the female protagonist intensely annoying and worse, boring. Perhaps it is partly my fault. Jessica subscribes to the type of Christianity that sees god as a big Santa that will give her everything she asks for (including miracles) if she is "good" enough or prays hard enough and I find that a huge turn off in anyone. Plus, for an investigative reporter, ...more
Jessica is living a dream life. Her latest investigative piece is getting Pulitzer buzz, her daughter is thriving, her family is healthy, and her husband is perfect in every way. What she doesn't know is that her husband David cannot die. After taking part in a ritual 400+ years ago, even beheading only requires a few days' healing. Since then he roamed the world thinking of mortals as fruit flies, killing or discarding them without thought. But after a horrific experience as a slave in the Amer ...more
Jul 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-authors
My Soul to Keep was not what I expected. I was under the impression it was a vampire story, and it isn't really, but that's not to say it wasn't good. This is a quiet sort of horror story that is deeply character driven, refusing us the comfort of heroes and villains in favor of the messy grayness of humanity. Two of the central questions driving the story are:

1) What might happen if a small group of humans achieved immortality? How would that affect their psyche? Their morality? Their value for

I this was so much better than I had imagined, but the ending had something more to be desired. I honestly wished it ended in a different way, but now I'm more curious about the next book.

Ms. Due sure know how to tell a story with such rich characters and a very intriguing plot! The beginning was kind of confusing and somewhat slow, but I feel that it all straightened itself out once you figured out who David is . But all the characters were so engaging and you couldn't help but feel inves
Reviews May Vary
Ms. Due is a often- recommended author on the WOC lists, which kind of sucks because she should be on the often- recommended because her writing kicks ass list.
Rachel Bea
Wow! Gotta read the rest of this series now.
Ashley Daviau
Mar 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This right here is what vampire stories are supposed to be. Dark and sinister with the evil lurking around every corner. I honestly can’t believe I haven’t read this before now, I’ve heard it highly praised countless times, and I’m kind of kicking myself because it’s bloody brilliant and I couldn’t have possibly loved it more! It’s so damn good that I still can’t quite believe how good it is. It is by far one of the best vampire novels I have ever read, really only rivalled by Dracula itself. It ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Thistle & Verse
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Based on 1st read
I came into this novel thinking that it would be horror and hearing it compared to Interview with the Vampire. There are supernatural elements. It isn't Stephen King type horror. I think the premise and pacing was very similar to Interview with the Vampire (which I also struggled to read); It was a well-done book, but it wasn't really for me. While reading, I got bored with it and took frequent breaks. I think the pacing felt slow because I had an idea for where the story was go
Very slow moving in my opinion, but also very layered and with a depth I rarely find in urban fantasy novels. This is the 1st in a series and I look forward to continuing.

My favorite quote:
“How ironic it was that mortals, who had the least time of all, were willing to waste so much of it away from the people they love.”
Kathleen Dixon
Oct 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kathleen by: Arielle Walker
A Goodreads friend reviewed this book - said it wasn't really her thing, actually, but I was intrigued by the book's blurb. For several reasons:
Its supernatural base is members of an Ethiopian sect.
It has immortality as a theme/problem.
It suggests you can be robbed of your soul.
I find these things fascinating. In the first place my husband is Ethiopian, and worships at the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. He, of course, would be horrified at the idea of the sect's immortality and how they came about i
Bre (Loc'd Booktician)
I understand why David did what he did and why it was difficult for him. I understood his sacrifices and the things that his coven put him through and his unrelenting acts of survival. Although I understood these things; he was a character I loved to hate. I do not think he was a great partner to Jess at all. I think he had possessive, controlling, and obsessive tendencies with Jessica. Jessica was so wrapped up in the "love" and orgasms that she didn't see it. I would argue "does she see it now ...more
No matter what I think of a book, the basic question I pose to myself when I’m trying to figure out what rating to give it is: how much did I want to read it. This book started out slow, but by the end, I couldn’t put it down. I don’t have a particularly strong interest in paranormal or urban fantasy, but I think that this book was terrific for the genre. If Goodreads had 1/2 stars, I'd give this 3 1/2. I’m not sure if I’ll read the other two books in the series or not. I, definitely, would, if ...more
Jul 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! This was the first book I stopped in the middle because I couldn’t bear to go on. I peeked. I had to see for myself where the author was going to take it in the end. Yes, I cheated! The characters were amazing, the villain, David, surprisingly lovable with all his faults, a truly amazing story that will reach out and touch you no matter who you are, and where you are in life. I’m so glad I read this book!
Not bad at all, just... not really my thing, I guess. Maybe I just expected more, different, better. It reminded me, somehow, of Midnight Crossroad which I wasn't hugely enamoured with either. 3 stars because it deserves them, but for personal taste possibly less. ...more
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dawit is an immortal. 500 years ago, he was gifted with eternal life. Initially, this meant living life to the fullest, learning, loving, and leaving, as long as he didn't break the rules of sharing the secrets of his brotherhood. This is obviously where our drama come in, because Dawit's love for music draws him to the ever-evolving mortal world where, every once in a while, he falls in love with a soul that speaks to his own. Even though he knows it cannot be forever.

Jessica believes David to
Jun 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this story. For a multitude of reasons ... the story itself was intriguing but for me it was because as I was reading it I wanted to scream/yell at the characters to make better/different decisions (but then it wouldn't be a story if they made the decisions I want them to make --- it'd be smart people doing smart things instead of smart people doing not-smart things).

What I liked: The premise of the story was new or at least the way that the premise was attacked; I liked how th
John Adams
Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I originally found this book when I was researching an essay on recent developments in the vampire novel. The vivid characterisation and location amply demonstrate the enduring truth of the adage 'write what you know'. I often feel that should be expanded to include 'and show the reader a glimpse of a world they don't'. Due does both so well that I was quickly hooked.

Jessica Wolde is a recent graduate who's also adjusting to being a young wife and mother, trying to balance the urge to pursue her
Jessica Woodbury
At first, I was thinking maybe this was another vampire-ish book (technically not vampires, no blood drinking, but so many of those stories involve being forever young that there are still good comparisons) like the many that have gone before and I wondered if it would work for me. But I kept with it because I know how good Due is and I know it's a series and I figured she was taking me somewhere. I was happy to find I was right.

Yes, in a lot of ways, this book covers familiar ground. But even t
David Wolde is an immortal man who has married a mortal woman. She’s a journalist who’s starting to taste success, and he’s an accomplished professor turned freelance writer who dotes on his wife and their young daughter. However, his wife doesn’t know he is immortal. David took a blood pact many years ago in Ethiopia that granted him and fifty-nine other men immortality. They promised to never tell any others of this pact, and they promised never to get too attached to the mortal world. David’s ...more
Audra (ouija.reads)
Tananarive Due is a brilliant storyweaver. She is one of the few authors who really create real people that you just know continue to live between the pages of the story and before and after the book. For me, characters should always come first. These character-driven plots have so much more depth and resonate with me as a reader so much stronger. To top it all off, she is interested in genre fiction! It is hard to put her in a specific box, but her books are definitely speculative.

This novel re
Pamela Greer
Dec 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: YES YES YES
This is my FAVORITE book in the whole world. T. Due is an awesome writer and though I have not read all her books or the latest installment of this triology..I will forever love this book. This is a love story, this is a horror, fiction all rolled up into one. The character of David/Dawit is so fascinating. The love of Jessica and David is captivating. this book keeps you on the edge. I have had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Due and having a personal discussion with her and my book club last year ...more
Tracy Robinson
Feb 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Due is crafting a world of vampires and intrigue and familial relationships in this first installment. On display are all of her skills in keeping multiple plot lines relevant and clear, as well as her masterful working of the English language. A mashup of mystery, suspense, and horror, I will definitely continue reading this series.
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Tananarive Due is a novelist and a creative writing teacher who has worked as a journalist. She won the American Book Award in 2002 for her novel The Living Blood.

Other books in the series

African Immortals (4 books)
  • The Living Blood (African Immortals, #2)
  • Blood Colony (African Immortals, #3)
  • My Soul to Take (African Immortals, #4)

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