As someone who likes their fantasy fictions quite traditional, i.e. heroes riding on horses, rather than riding subways, I was a little apprehensive of The Immortals (Olympus Bound) by Jordanna Max Brodsky. However I was pleasantly surprised.
The story is set in modern day Manhattan, where our 'kick ass' 6ft heroine Selene is introduced as a vigilante who protects woman from being abused or attacked. However it soon becomes clear that Selene is actually Artemis, a Greek Goddess and that she is one of the majority of Greek gods who still roam the earth trying to integrate into normal life, albeit with vastly diminished powers as they lose the worship they used to receive.
The other main character of the story is the slightly less ‘kick ass’ and more geeky Theodore Schultz, a Classicist in Greek mythology. A regular human, he comes across immediately as a likeable, but slightly unconventional young University Professor.
Selene and Theodore are thrown together early on in the story to solve a murder and prevent further murders linked to ancient Greek rituals. Selene is determined to catch the killer to avenge the death, as part of her Goddess duty as the ‘Protector of the Innocent’, while the Professor has links to the first victim. What seems like an uneasy relationship initially, is developed intricately into an odd but successful partnership and as the story proceeds, a trusting friendship.
The story is engaging and melds the mix of Greek ancient history and the modern day well. The fundamental plot of the story is believable but not obvious, with several twists in the story. The backdrop is accurate and the various other characters in the novel are well created and described. There are some gruesome elements, but they sit within the story well without being gratuitous.
A large part of the story deals also with challenges Selene face, her desire to regain her full powers and followers, and carry out duties as Greek goddess versus the acceptance that the world has changed and that her role in the world must change with it. The contradictory emotional forces that pulls on Selene is interesting side story that makes the final chapters of the book even more intriguing.
There were a few elements of the book I found a little off key. The chapter where Selene visits Hades had a more comical tone to it, which is not a bad thing, but didn’t seem to fit with the other chapters. Also the complicated swopping of names and titles, using Greek and Latin means at some points it can get a little confusing, of who is who and how they are linked together.
However, despite this I would say it was a perfect holiday novel, with the right amount of action, suspense and of course romance, complicated enough you keep you interested but not so complicated that you need to make notes to keep on top of things (i.e. NOT Games of Thrones!). Selene has just the right level of strengths and vulnerabilities, and the Professor shows the right amount of courage and charisma, to make you want to root for both of them till the very end!
All in all, a dramatic, enthralling read which will hold you till the end!
Written on 2nd March 2016 by Lisa Lancaster.
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