Thursday, February 25, 2016
The Immortals is a debut novel about Greek gods living in the modern day. Selene DaSilva is actually Artemis and now lives in New York City where she spends her time hunting down men who prey on women. When she finds a woman dead by the river, slain in a ritualistic fashion, she suspects that someone is emulating ancient Greek cult practices- but to what purpose? She meets a classics professor who has ties to the slain woman, and together the two of them investigate the murder- and uncover a plot that stretches back thousands of years.
I wanted to like this book, from the cover to the premise everything about it appealed to me- but initially I was a little underwhelmed. I had trouble relating to Selene, she came across as aloof and unknowable- and that may have been intentional, as she is indeed a Greek goddess who has been alive for millenia, her powers slowly fading as mankind no longer worships her. But I just had trouble with it, it wasn't clicking for me- it kept her remote and it just seemed incongruous with the modern world.
However, this book gets better as it goes, and I'm glad I stuck with it- the last quarter of the book is amazing and really hums. There were a couple of "yea, that's what I'm talking about" moments towards the end. It took me a while to get into it, but once I did it was worth it. The characters are well drawn for the most part- Theo the classics professor is a man who knows his Greek myth, but little does he know that the woman he's falling in love with is an actual Greek goddess.
The supporting cast are good too, especially the other gods and goddesses who show up. There's one in particular who steals the show. The concept of gods drawing power from their worshipers is taken in interesting directions, and Selene is faced with a dilemma- how far will she go to keep her immortality? I did make a connection as to the bad guy early in the story but that didn't really affect my enjoyment of the story.
Another thing I'd like to praise are the real life locations. The author knows NYC and there are lots of scenes set in abandoned subway or little known Central Park locations. This adds a lot of heft to the story and context. All in all this was a good story and I'm glad I stuck with it and I look forward to revisiting these characters again.