Happy new year, book nerds! 2017 is going to be our year, I can feel it!
And would you believe it, I’m already 4 books into my 2017 reading challenge. I know, I’m a hero.
For my first review of 2017, I’m actually going to talk about the last book I read in 2016 – one I mentioned in my last post. Turns out, the last quarter of the book was as good as the rest of it. It’s The Immortals by Jordanna Max Brodsky.
(I’m actually pretty disappointed with this cover. It’s far too generic, considering how great the book was.)
The Deal: (pilfered from the back of the book, you know how it goes)…
MANHATTAN HAS MANY SECRETS.
SOME ARE OLDER THAN THE CITY ITSELF.
Manhattan. 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.
Murders. 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.
Gods. 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.
Robyn says: I *love* retellings of mythology. It is one of those really narrow subgenres that I’m completely obsessed with. I didn’t actually hear about this book from any of my usual sources, though (twitter, tumblr, and goodreads, to be specific). This book first came to my attention when it was reviewed by one of the wonderful Smart Bitches here. It’s a pretty stellar review, for all that it was only given a B rating. I actually really enjoyed The Immortals, and while I prefer a numerical rating system, if forced to use a letter grade, this would definitely merit an A from me.
Without a doubt, the best part of this book was the world-building. The author did a terrific job of explaining how the Greek gods had ended up in New York City, and created a system the explained how the gods’ existence was tied to the faith of their followers – and how that existence was imperiled as new gods displaced them. I thought the characters were, for the most part, quite well-conceived, though Selene really was the stand-out: resilient, tough, ruthless, and independent. Total HBIC and feminist eh eff. I never really warmed to Theo – he’s not the kind of romantic lead I’m partial to, and even overlooking his unsuitability as a match for the ass-kicking Selene, he was also kind of a pretentious git. One of those converse-wearing, long-haired, “call-me-Dave” profs that I always hated. Also, if I ever heard anyone use ‘Holy Roman Empire’ as an exclamation, I would have to sit on my hands to resist from punching that person in his smug face. It was really interesting to see where the other Greek gods had ended up, and I also enjoyed the archaeological and classicist Easter eggs the author scattered throughout the story.
As far as plot goes, it wasn’t the most difficult mystery to solve, but I still really enjoyed reading it. It was literally UNPUTDOWNABLE. I was late for work a few times because I was trying to read while also doing my hair and packing my lunch. And then when I wasn’t reading, I was thinking about the story – and that, in my opinion, is the highest recommendation anyone can give a book.
Minor quibble – I felt the ending was a bit sudden, and I was left with quite a few questions. I know there’s going to be a sequel (and hopefully more after that) but I would have liked a bit more of a resolution, particularly in terms of Selene and Theo’s relationship. Overall, though, it was an original, well-written, highly enjoyable book.
And it gave me an excuse to scroll through the mythology edits on tumblr!
Verdict: Read it. Who doesn’t need more ass-kicking Greek goddesses in their lives, right?
Best lines: (I really need to get better at writing down quotes while I’m reading.) One by one, the nymphs had grown wan and weary, their glossy hair dulled, their long limbs attenuated. The changing world saved no room for the creatures of glade and spring. Selene still felt drawn to the trees, those hardy denizens of the city, eking out a life among cement and steel. Yet she found little comfort in them–only heartache, a remembrance of the companions she’d lost. One more reason she chose not to live in the forests and mountains that were her birthright. Too often, the woods only reminded her just how alone she really was. (somewhere in chapter 4, I can’t remember the page number)
Rating: 8 out of 10 spooky palimpsests that can only be detected using fancy high-tech multispectral imaging.
ROBYN’S FINAL THOUGHT: Is it wrong that I have always found the Persephone myth really freaking hot? Yes? Whatever. All I’m saying is, if that if the ground opened up a sexy creepy underworld god offered to make me his queen, I wouldn’t exactly be struggling.
Hey! Book Cat, happy new year!
I’m a shark. Leave me alone, librarian.
Okay. 2017. Greek gods and shark cats. I like it. Keep it going.