Monday, 26 February 2018

The Immortalists

Author: Chloe Benjamin
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Type: Hardcover
Pages: 352
Source: Publisher
Publisher: J.P Putnam and Sons
First Published: January 9, 2018
First Line: "Varya is thirteen."

Book Description from GoodReadsIf you were told the date of your death, how would it shape your present?

It's 1969 in New York City's Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children—four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness—sneak out to hear their fortunes.

Their prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in '80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11, hoping to control fate; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.

My Rating: 2.5 stars (aka 'just okay')

My Review: I was intrigued by the premise of this book: if you knew the date of your death, would you live your life differently? Would you make the most of the days you have left?

But (why does there have to be a but?!) my feelings are all over the place with this book. The first quarter of the book, Simon's story, I found quite interesting. But as the book progressed I became less interested in the older siblings and I was disappointed that the fantastical element is pretty much forgotten after the initial chapters. 

I wanted the author to delve deeper into the whole 'you know when you'll die, how are you going to handle it?' issue. There's a brief mention of self-fulfilling prophecy but that's about it. Instead, it's more of a dysfunctional family saga where the story is told in chronological order which means that by the time we get to the older two siblings, the reader has missed out on most of their lives. An odd choice and probably why I liked Daniel and Varya's stories the least. (Honestly, I would have loved more time spent on Ruby). 

While the cover art is beautiful and eye-catching and the premise is unique, overall, I was underwhelmed by this book. It touches on some big topics but not in enough depth.  I know I'm in the minority with my feelings. This was an okay read for me but many readers adored this book. Unfortunately, I wasn't one of them.

Disclaimer: This ARC was generously provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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