Review: The Immortals by Jordanna Max Brodsky
This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
(Description nicked from Goodreads.com.)
The city sleeps. Selene DiSilva walks her dog along the banks of the Hudson. She is alone-just the way she likes it. She doesn’t believe in friends, and she doesn’t speak to her family. Most of them are simply too dangerous.
In the predawn calm, Selene finds the body of a young woman washed ashore, gruesomely mutilated and wreathed in laurel. Her ancient rage returns. And so does the memory of a promise she made long ago. To protect the innocent-and to punish those who stand in her way.
With the NYPD out of its depth, Selene vows to hunt the killer on her own. But when classics professor Theo Schultz decodes the ancient myth behind the crime, the solitary Huntress finds herself working with a man who’s her opposite in every way. Together, they face a long-forgotten cult that lies behind a string of murders, and they’ll need help from the one source Selene distrusts most of all: the city’s other Immortals.”
I’m kind of torn about this book. I’m not sure if I liked it or not. There were parts of it that appealed to me, and parts of it that didn’t click with me, and I don’t know for sure which way the scales are tipping between them.
One the one hand, there were some concepts that I really liked, most notably the “fading” that happens to the gods as their worship dies out. Along with that, the author brought in the myriad (and often contradictory) things that the gods were the patrons of to show how they might be able to hang around long after their temples were gone. For example, Hermes remains fairly strong because of his connection to entertainment; and as we all know, entertainment is a huge industry. On the other hand, beings like Hestia the hearth-goddess are long dead, because nobody reveres hearth and home enough to sustain her. It’s an interesting commentary on our passions as Americans and where we choose to throw our energy.
I also liked seeing how and where the various gods would pop up in the novel. There aren’t as many of them as I thought there would be, but that’s okay, because overdoing it would have seriously tested my suspension of disbelief. There are enough, though, that I’m glad that the author wove a good reason into the story for them all being there.
On the other hand, I didn’t see anything really unique about this story. Greek gods in the modern world?… seen it. The aforementioned gods struggling with their natures in a world different from where they began?… seen it. Robberies at a museum leading to weird rituals?… seen it. The problem is that, for most of the Greek gods, we know their essential natures pretty well from other novels or movies, so you can’t say much that’s original about them. I guess it’s good that people are a bit more in tune with old myths and legends, but that leaves you with less wiggle room when you use those myths as the basis for your story.
Upon further thought, I think I’ll lean slightly towards the positive when making my final judgement of this book. The general idea behind the novel may not be all that special, but some of the ways those ideas were fleshed out gave the book a bit more life. I might continue with this series when book two comes out, but we’ll have to see.