I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Immortal by Gillian Shields
Genres: Paranormal Fantasy
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on August 4, 2009
Source: the library
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First in the Immortal paranormal fantasy series for Young Adult readers and revolving around Evie Johnson, an unexpectedly gifted student.
My biggest problem with Immortal is the setting. Shields drops in tells that the school is in England, but my mind kept going to New England as all these girls sound so American! I wish Shields had done a better job of showing that the story was set in England. Use a more British context in the sentences, British words in the language and Evie’s thoughts, and give us a definitive English setting!
The theme is power, one which can be used well or badly, and a desire for immortality. I do like Agnes’ approach to it.
Evie’s introduction to her fellow students made me think of the scene in The Little Princess (an adaptation of a book by Frances Hodgson Burnett) when the news of her father’s death hits home to Shirley Temple’s character, Sarah.
I didn’t care for Evie. Sure, her circumstances are sad, but she’s such a shallow twit, and I suspect her perspective with the first-person protagonist point-of-view may be contributing to it. As for Agnes, yes, she has a good heart, but her “escape” to London was stupid and poorly planned. In fact, the whole story’s execution is lame.
It is a dramatic soap opera that gets worse as it goes on.
It begins with a book, The Mysticke Way, brought home by the hungry Sebastian in 1882.
It was fate, kismet, that brought Evie Johnson to Sebastian, drawing her 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.
Evie Johnson is sent as a charity girl to a boarding school. Frances “Frankie” Mary (born 1933) is Evie’s grandmother who stood in as her mom. Dad is a widower posted overseas in the military. Clara had been Evie’s mother and Frankie’s daughter.
Frankie’s family had…
…once lived at Uppercliffe Farm near Wyldcliffe. Evelyn “Effie” Frances Smith was born in 1884 and was Evie’s great-great-grandmother. Eliza Agnes was Effie’s daughter born in 1904.
The very strict Wyldcliffe Abbey School for Young Ladies is…
…located in Wyldcliffe (England!). The snotty Celia Hartle is High Mistress. Miss Scratton is in charge of the girls in the senior division. Mrs. Edwards is the housekeeper. Miss Dalrymple teaches geography, and the angry Miss Raglan teaches math. Dr. Harrison is the school doctor. Miss Schofield is the sports mistress. Josh is a stableboy. Mr. Brooke is the music master.
Sarah Fitzalan is a kind rich girl with a need to rescue. Bonny and Starlight are her ponies stabled at the school. Helen Black is another scholarship student in Evie’s dorm, Cromwell. Rosie, Jessica Armstrong, Becky, Emily, Elizabeth Fisher, and Katherine Thomas are more fellow students. Celeste leads the group of mean girls that includes Sophie and India. Laura had been Celeste’s cousin who died.
Dan Jones runs the store and post office in the village. Melinda Dawson is the director of a local museum.
…a nursing home. Margaret Walsh is one of the nurses.
The sixteen-year-old Lady Agnes Templeton has a thirst for knowledge. Her father is Lord Charles Templeton who rebuilt Wyldcliffe, using stones from the destroyed abbey. Miss Binns is her governess. Martha is Agnes’ old nurse who retired to her nephew John’s farm. Nellie and Mary are maids.
S. is the greedy, immature, and envious young Sebastian James — yeah, I don’t care for him, either — who lives at Fairfax Hall. Sir Edward Fairfax is his father.
The Reverend A.J. Flowerdew wrote A Short History of Wyldcliffe Abbey School. Daniel Jones was a local carter. Mr. Carley is the overseer in London. Polly is another of the seamstresses. Francis Howard is the consumptive painter Agnes met in London. The Dark Sisters are a coven who feed and protect their master.
The Shadow world is where one is neither alive nor dead.
The Cover and Title
The cover is simple and gorgeous in the swirls created by the graceful Talisman drifting down into the water’s depths in a gradation of royal blues ranging from darkest at the top and lightest at the bottom. The title is to the right and just below center is in an embossed gold while the author’s name is at the bottom in black with a small epigram to the left of the pendant in black.
The title is what Sebastian wishes to be, Immortal.