THE IMMORTALS by Jordanna Max Brodsky – Review

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

THE IMMORTALS by Jordanna Max Brodsky – ReviewThe Immortals by Jordanna Max Brodsky
Series: Olympus Bound #1
Published by Orbit on February 16 2016
Genres: Adult, Urban fantasy
Pages: 464
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher

The nitty-gritty: A fun and furious romp with the gods through Manhattan, an intricately plotted murder mystery, and a delightful and refreshingly chaste romance.

“One half brother with a huge penis, another with giant testicles. No wonder I’ve never gotten along with my family.”

                                    – Selene DiSilva

I was so excited when I was approved for this book, because I’ve been eyeing it for months. The cover alone was enough to make me giddy, but even better was the fact that it’s urban fantasy with Greek gods and goddesses in New York City! I have to admit I’m not terribly well versed in Greek mythology. I mean, I know the basics, but I actually haven’t read many books dealing with the subject. Well, I hope that’s going to change, because I’m hooked. I had so much fun with The Immortals, and yes, I learned a lot. Brodsky accomplishes that elusive thing in fiction: she’s done tons of research and put all of it in her story, but she’s done so without hitting us over the head with it. Add in the fact that this is a fantastic story—a page-turner-mystery-romance with murder, comedy and lots of action.

Present day Manhattan holds many secrets, the biggest one being that many of the Greek gods and goddesses are still alive and hanging out there—although they wear disguises and call themselves different names. Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt (one of her many monikers) is one such goddess. Even though her powers have all but faded over the past two thousand years, she still makes it her duty to protect wronged women. Selene DiSilva, as she now calls herself, roams the streets, answering the calls of distress and handing out violent justice to the men who abuse these women. (Think Anya the vengeance demon from Buffy.)

One day, however, walking along the lake with her trusty dog Hippolyta, Selene discovers the body of a young woman. The body has been violently mutilated, and even stranger, the woman appears to be dressed in traditional Greek garb that makes Selene think the murder is ritualistic in nature.

Professor Theo Shultz teaches the classics at Columbia University, but his world is shattered when he’s told that a fellow professor in his department, a young woman named Helen Emerson, has been found dead. When Selene and Theo meet, and Selene describes the condition of Helen’s body, Theo immediately agrees that her murder is much more complicated than it appears. Someone seems to be trying to reenact an ancient Greek ritual, and the worst part? Helen’s is only the first sacrifice planned.

Selene reluctantly teams up with Theo, who just happens to be an expert in all things Greek, in order to solve the mystery of Helen’s death before more women wind up dead.

Wow, I don’t even know where to start, there is so much to love about this book! First of all, I have to applaud the author for her meticulous research and very careful plotting and attention to detail. Obviously, there are tons of interesting facts about the Greek gods and goddesses, but she also throws in details about the history of Manhattan and somehow makes it all fit into the story. Her ability to combine the past and the present was nothing short of brilliant. I don’t want to say much about it, but let’s just say there is one scene where she figures out a way to combine elements of an ancient Greek ritual with the show Saturday Night Live. And there are plenty more examples like that.

I’ve read several other reviews of this book that use the word “pretentious,” but I honestly loved every scholarly word, and while there are some sections of the story that veer a little too much into info dump territory—Theo is mostly to blame for these sections. He is, after all, a professor of classic Greek myths and legends—for once, I didn’t mind. All that information leads to solving the mystery of who’s behind the killings, and it was fun trying to take those details and figure out how they fit into the story.

Selene and Theo are the stars here, and I loved their relationship. At times The Immortals felt like a good old-fashioned, feel-good romance. The best part is that—in case you don’t know all your Greek mythology history—Artemis/Selene is a virgin, and even after two thousand years, she’s still a virgin when this story takes place. As she reluctantly begins to fall for Theo, she’s torn between human need and her vow of celibacy. Theo doesn’t know who she is, and so he’s getting lots of mixed signals. I was surprised how satisfying their relationship was, even when nothing much happens between them.

The other relationship I loved was between Selene and her very sick mother, Leto, who is dying even though she’s supposed to be immortal. I loved the scenes with Selene, Leto and Selene’s twin brother Apollo (who calls himself Paul in the present day), as both Selene and Paul are completely devoted to their mother and they are doing whatever they can to find out why she is fading.

Brodsky uses the idea that the gods are losing their powers because people have stopped worshipping them, and I thought it was a well thought out idea that some gods are stronger than others. For example, Paul is a rock star, and so he has lots of worshippers, therefore his power is stronger than some of the other gods who aren’t worshipped as much.

The author adds a couple of very handy items to her book. First, a flow chart of the gods and goddesses and their relationships to each other was something I ended up referring to over and over again. And at the end is a glossary in case you need to brush up on your knowledge of all things Greek mythology.

At times the dialogue and action seemed over-the-top, and felt much like a graphic novel in that respect, but for me, it simply added to the reading experience. This is a story, after all, about gods and goddesses, who are by definition bigger than life! I couldn’t be happier that this is the start of a series, and I’ll be anxiously awaiting the next installment.

Big thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy. Quote was taken from an uncorrected proof and may differ in the final version of the book.

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Posted February 25, 2016 by Tammy in 4 1/2 stars, Reviews / 29 Comments


29 responses to “THE IMMORTALS by Jordanna Max Brodsky – Review

    • Tammy

      I was so happy to see her five star review, and I was even happier when I totally agreed with it! Definitely a book to check out:-)

  1. I liked this too, great review! It started a bit slow for me I had trouble getting into it, but once I did it took off. And loved the end! Good stuff. Dionysus and Hermes kinda cracked me up too. And I also thought the relationship between Theo and Selene was well done and interesting.
    Greg recently posted…The ImmortalsMy Profile

    • Tammy

      I’m always happy to run into a romantic relationship that isn’t the norm, so I totally agree:-)

    • Tammy

      I agree, I loved the parts about the secrets of the city, especially the ones in Central Park. Even though I’ve only been to NYC once (a long time ago!), it’s a city that always fascinates me, and I love reading fiction that takes place there:-)

    • Tammy

      I love that combination too, the mixing of old and new, when it’s done right, is sooo much fun:-)

  2. Such a good book – I couldn’t read it fast enough and yet wanted to savour it at the same time. I couldn’t help it though, it has such pace, that I had to read at breakneck pace. And I loved all the secret hidden places – even the way Manhattan was named. Fascinating and compelling.
    Lynn 😀
    Lynn recently posted…‘I am fire, I am death’My Profile

  3. Andrijana

    I love books connected with Greek Gods! This sounds like a great read, having had a history lesson and an urban twist to the whole story. Actually, my favorite goddess has always been Artemis, I always thought of her as a strong female character that doesn’t take crap from no one. Having this sort of a female character in fantasy books is a real refreshment – combined with the ol’ murder case solving. All in all, I believe this would be a kick-ass read!

  4. Tammy V.

    I love mythology and this cover caught my eye right away for some reason. I mean there isn’t much to it but it really makes a point – look at me!

  5. I had forgotten how much I wanted to read this book until I read your review. I love mythology – I name all my pets after gods and goddesses (not necessarily GREEK gods/goddesses). Thank you for another interesting and well-rounded interview.

  6. The Immortals and Winter of the Gods both have seriously eye-catching covers! And I love a good murder mystery, especially when Greek mythology is involved. I definitely need to try out this book out, this year.

  7. Mary Margaret

    I absolutely adore th sound of this book. It just became a must read for me. I love stories of Gods and Goddesses making their way in modern times.

  8. Meigan

    Gods seem to be the new vampires in urban fantasy, which I enjoy immensely. I’d started several series with gods, and they seemed to be slightly similar in both tone and the particular gods used, sadly. Thankfully, based on this review, this series is definitely going to be unlike the others I’ve read, and completely refreshing in that regard 🙂 Great review, I’m certainly excited to start this series!