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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Immortals by Jordanna Max Brodsky

Release Date: February 16, 2016
Publisher: Orbit
Series: Olympus Bound #1
Age Group: Adult
Source: Publisher
Pages: 447
Buy: Amazon / Barnes & Noble /
IndieBound / Book Depository
Description: Goodreads

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.

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.
Selene lives in Manhattan and works as a private investigator protecting women, mostly from abusive boyfriends and spouses. She has been doing this in different iterations for generations because she is, or at least was, the Greek Goddess Artemis. Although the immortals are still around, their power has diminished over time as people lose the memory of and faith in their existence. Then something strange starts to happen. 

Artemis feels her powers coming back. Somehow, someone has resurrected an ancient cult practice that’s restoring immortality and invincibility to the Gods, but is it worth the price? Artemis and her unlikely sidekick, a Classics Professor named Theo, are in a race against time to discover how a ritual that had been lost for thousands of years can be stopped before it claims more human lives. Blending mythology and adventure, this story leads the reader through the complicated world of how the deities of ancient Greece have adjusted to our modern times.

This fast paced narrative has an almost DaVinci Code feel with modern day murders rooted in mysterious ancient rituals and an attractive professor unexpectedly pulled into the twisting investigation that combines historical facts with the unraveling mystery. The female action hero main character looking out for the ladies is a nice twist on a traditionally male driven genre. While this style of thriller can be formulaic, it doesn’t make the journey any less fun for fans, and there’s some mythology thrown in too. However, the climax becomes so melodramatic that it lost much of the charm that had led up to the finale by making sweeping over the top statements about the virtues of humanity.

My mythology nerddom is what got me to pick the book up originally, but it wasn’t what kept me reading (especially because I didn’t feel like there was that much of it worked in). Readers certainly won’t require any preexisting knowledge of Ancient Greek Gods and the story mainly skims the surface of, what I would consider to be, the better known stories, often with interesting twists on the generally accepted myth. A lot of the heavy hitters make appearances, including Apollo, Zeus, Hermes, Persephone, Dionysus, and Hades, and it’s fun to speculate on how they might manifest in the modern world. There is a focus of the use on epithets (e.g. Artemis: The Huntress, Protector of the Innocent, She Who Leaves No Trace, etc.) which was interesting, but started to wear thin as the book progressed, and I just wanted the author to decide on what to call each character and stick with it. I wouldn’t call this a grown up version of the Percy Jackson books, but people who enjoy the interweaving of modernity and mythology can enjoy this take on the present day Olympians.

Overall, this is a fun read that will keep you turning pages and a creative take on the mythology of Ancient Greece. It will be a fun introduction for those who don’t know the old stories, and those who do can enjoy these new iterations. Although I indulged in some eye rolling when the book started preaching the need for, and beauty of, humanity at the end, it won’t stop me from reading future installments. I look forward to seeing where then next books take us.

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