No Such Thing as Immortality is the debut novel by Sarah Tranter. Her publisher, Choc Lit, chose to actively promote it as their Twilight; given the inevitable comparisons between it and any vampire romance novel, perhaps it makes sense for them to embrace the similarities instead of trying to deny them.
No Such Thing is told from the point of view of the vampire. Nathanial Gray, Nate, is around two hundred years old, almost indestructible, with perfect senses and coordination. Until the night when he crashes his car into Rowan Locke’s car. Suddenly he finds himself experiencing emotion for the first time in two centuries, and can’t stop thinking about Rowan. But of course there are other forces at play, and things don’t go smoothly for the pair.
Now that I reflect on No Such Thing, there are similarities to Twilight beyond the simple story of a vampire falling for a human. Nate is ridiculously overprotective, unable to see how a fragile human can get through the day in one piece. He frequently warns Rowan that he is dangerous and there are things about him that she does not know. He has four “siblings” that he lives with, one of whom is actually his sister, Elizabeth. She is desperate to meet Rowan, and loves her as a friend immediately. Nate’s interest in Rowan and his attempts to be part of her life bring much hilarity for his two “brothers”.
However, it is unfair to simply review No Such Thing in comparison to Twilight. There are differences too – the novel is set in England, and the characters are all adult. The basic storyline is similar, but it still kept me gripped, not sure how things would turn out – No Such Thing As Immortality is the first in a series called No Such Thing, but I’ve no idea if the whole series is about the same characters or not, so I didn’t know whether there would be a happy ending and a future for our heroes or not.
Initially, Nate seems like a fairly disagreeable character; not unpleasant or unlikeable, just a rather prickly guy who takes himself too seriously. As the story moves on however, we get to know him better and while he can still be a bit much (his overprotectiveness made me roll my eyes), I started to like him and find him amusing, and to root for him. Rowan is a little bit more mysterious, not being the narrator – plus with Nate as narrator finding it difficult to understand this emotional human woman, she remains a bit distant from the reader too. Although I did find I understood her emotions and actions more than Nate did, even when he didn’t have a clue what was going on.
Tranter’s writing style seemed like it might irritate me, as I thought it was rather stilted. As I got a bit more into the novel though, and began to understand the characters, I realised that the stilted style was because of the narrator – Nate. He is a two hundred year old vampire who hasn’t had a great deal of contact with the modern human world, and so his speech and therefore narration has a very old fashioned style to it – quite Jane Austen, as Rowan observes. Tranter’s style is therefore perfecly suited to her narrator, and is presumably intentional.
Although it wouldn’t have surprised me if I had been put off No Such Thing as Immortality by the similarities to Twilight, in actual fact I thoroughly enjoyed it. The English setting, older characters and vampire as narrator made enough of a difference for it to stand up on its own. I found I was completely absorbed in the story, and although I still don’t know if the No Such Thing will be a continuation of this novel, I hope it is.
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