The story is about Natalya and Alison.
Natalya is a highly regarded cellist. Staying on top of her game requires rigorous discipline and training. But so does being the assassin Requiem which is the other part of her life.
One day she is sent a contract to kill Alison, but she has to wait a few weeks before she can do it. So, she starts to follow Alison and the more she uncovers about the woman the more she believes that she is nothing more than a little mouse of a person.
This leads to a beautiful, well thought out, excellently executed psychological thriller with enough twists and turns to keep any reader happy.
Winter manages a character depth that is rare in any novel, let alone lesbian fiction. And the extraordinary thing is that the character depth was there for most of the characters, even the ones that appeared for only a chapter or two.
The plot was exceedingly well executed in such a way that you missed nothing, were never confused or felt left behind. This is an amazing feat for a novel as complex as this one.
Tara: Unlike many people, I’m quite happy to listen to a book I’ve already read and enjoyed. Despite that, I was nervous to listen to Requiem for Immortals because I love it so much and a narrator could make or break this book. I mean, how could anyone get Requiem’s voice right?
Turns out, I worried for nothing, because I loved Anais Inara Chase’s narration. Her pacing is deliberate, but not so slow that it ever drags. Instead, it matches the way Natalya/Requiem does everything just so. She doesn’t always differentiate the characters particularly well, but I didn’t care, because she fit the tone so perfectly and I never had issues understanding who was talking at any given point.
Sheena: Every moment. Every story beat. Every line. Every word.
I also loved the smaller elements of the story, the sub characters and small plot lines that saw completion. And the music. Throughout the novel references are made to music and at the end of the novel is a playlist. Do yourself a favour and look up the playlist. It adds such a beautiful dimension to the novel.
Tara: I have to agree with Sheena. Also, it was interesting to come back to this book more than two years since I last picked it up. I found Requiem more offputting at the beginning than I had the first two times I read it, which made it all the sweeter to see her journey. It also confirmed for me that Alison is still one of my favourite characters in all of lesfic.
But if I have to call out my single favourite element of Requiem for Immortals, it’s the passion at its core. Natalya’s passion for music, Requiem’s passion for order and perfection, and… well, I can’t say more without spoilers, but it ensures the story wraps up with the most perfect possible ending that left me holding my breath, even though I already knew exactly what was going to happen.
Also, there’s a nice extra in the audiobook because it includes a follow-up short story, Love is Not Nothing. I’m not linking to our review for that because I don’t want to risk any kind of spoiler for Requiem for Immortals. Just know that if you listen to Requiem for Immortals, you’ll be grateful to be able to roll straight into Love is Not Nothing, and then you’ll put down your phone or tablet when it’s all over, bereft that it’s all over.
Sheena: This book has ruined me. It has been a week since I finished it and I still cannot get into another book. And because it was so good, I made Brooklyn and Tara read it so that they can talk about it on their podcast. The same thing happened to both Brooklyn and Tara, they struggled to get into another book. And for reviewers, this can be devastating. So yes. Be warned. This novel is likely to ruin you and forever be the standard to which you hold other novels.
Tara: None for me.
Sheena: As readers, we are forever looking for that elusive read. The one that takes us to a place that no other book has done. The one that sits under your skin. The one that completely captivates you from the first word to the last and then holds you in a death grip while it still shimmers just under the surface of your being, forever changing you.
That once in a lifetime read.
For me, this was that novel.
Tara: I am not a thriller reader. And yet, I love this one. Requiem for Immortals isn’t a book about black and white or good vs evil, because it deals in nuance. This isn’t a book that will be for everyone, but I’d urge you to give it a try anyway, because there’s a reason why it has so many favourites badges on here. Even if you don’t love it (and I won’t hold it against you if you don’t), I promise you will always remember it. And if you like audiobooks, I especially urge you to pick it up in that format, because the performance is truly worth it.
Excerpt from Requiem For Immortals by Lee Winter
She closed her eyes, positioned the rare Charles Adolphe Maucotel instrument, and began to play. Music washed away everything. It was her greatest love. Her soul ripped itself apart and restitched itself anew. Becoming immortal, she called it. Her ability to die and be reborn every time she touched her cello.
Hunger drove her, four hours later, to lift her gaze from the possession she loved most. She eased her instrument regretfully away from her, wondering at the mere mortals who never felt what she did. Those who experienced music on the periphery, who heard it as pleasant sounds rather than felt it resonate with every fibre of their being.
She froze, the bow sagging in her hand. That’s where she knew her latest target from. She’d seen this woman at a Victorian Philharmonic Orchestra seasons launch party three months ago. The night of the Uli Busch hit, if she wasn’t mistaken.
Natalya never forgot a face. The little mouse had been among the fawning groupies for Amanda Marks. Marks, in her flowing white gown, with perky elfin features, has an ego almost as sizable as her adoring fan base.
Violinists, Natalya snorted. Always the rock stars.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9783955337117
- Publisher: Ylva Publishing
- Audiobook Publisher: Tantor Audio
- Narrator: Anais Inara Chase
Lee Winter Online
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Note: I received a free review copy of Requiem For Immortals by Lee Winter for review. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.