The Immortals (Olympus Bound #1) by Jordanna Max Brodsky

Posted: April 1, 2017 in Book Review
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The Immortals

“I protect you, just like I protect all the women who come to me. And all I ask in return is two promises: You won’t tell the cops about me, and you won’t hook up with ***holes again.”

About :

The pantheon of Greek gods is alive, though not exactly well, in the city of Manhattan. Artemis—or Selene the Huntress, as she calls herself these days—wearily goes about her age-old task of saving women from male predators, but in truth her powers waned long ago as mortals began to worship other things.

But a brutal murder puts Selene back in touch with her ancient calling, and suddenly her powers begin to return…In her search to find the murderer, she finds herself disarmed and, alarmingly, charmed by a handsome classics professor, Theodore Schultz, who doggedly pursues the same answers. The Immortals is adult urban fantasy authored by Jordanna Max Brodsky and published February 16th 2016 by Orbit. Hardcover, 447 pages.

Thoughts :

Let’s start with the good things. The publisher marketed this as Percy Jackson for adults, and I’d say that’s about right. How could I not at least try “Percy Jack for adults”? So much potential in this premise! Brodsky clearly researched the pantheon, too, and developed an interesting faith system for modern life, as gods try to stay relevant to today’s worshippers. (Selene’s brother Apollo tours with his rock band, catering to adoring crowds and groupies.) Brodsky combines a murder mystery with this brilliant idea, and it held my attention, although I’ve read enough murder mysteries to have pinpointed the culprit immediately.

My other favorite thing? Nerdy and hilarious academic references abound. I love Theo’s pseudo swear, “Holy Roman Empire!” which had me literally laughing out loud as I listened to the audiobook. Brodsky represents the world of academia with great color and life. This goes beyond just the killer premise of bringing the Greek pantheon to life in modern Manhattan; Theo’s university scenes left me feeling totally nostalgic for college.

So it kills me to write this, but…

DNF at 33%

I could not get into the characters. I couldn’t help getting the impression that both protagonists are condescending snobs. Selene condescends to everyone except her dog, but especially to men and specifically to Theo, who practically prostrates himself before her. In one scene, he proves his credentials by helping her with a lead, then pleads to be allowed to help her investigate the murder. This response characterizes Selene’s attitude during the entire conversation:

She put on her baseball cap and pulled it low, so he could barely see her eyes glaring at him from beneath the brim. ‘But don’t think we’re partners, because we’re not.’”

Uhhh okay. Why does he find her attractive again? And she’s just like that all the time. It’s sort of inhuman, which I guess might be the point: Selene is a vengeance goddess. She doesn’t want or need to be liked.

At least Theo’s a nice enough guy, but both he and Selene spend the first 150 pages condescending to the police in ways that just irritate me. Just one example: Theo physically grabs a cop and then gets all amped up when the cop supposedly “trumps up” assault charges on him; but the fact is, grabbing anyone will legitimately earn you an “assault” charge. These kinds of misunderstandings always bother me because my husband is in law enforcement and depends on these laws for protection in the field.

I almost can’t blame Theo and Selene for their attitudes, though, because the cops in The Immortals are all bumbling idiots. They fail to investigate leads and, as poor Theo observes, can’t even remember to Mirandize their suspects (or perhaps don’t want to?). Brodsky’s narrative about law enforcement feels more angry and targeted than the humorously inept “Lestraudes” of normal mystery stories, going beyond humor and straight into using police corruption, brutality and neglect as the main antagonists of the investigators. I don’t know if this is just a clumsy mishandling of the mystery trope or if Brodsky is trying to set up a narrative, here, but unfortunately it made the book difficult for me to enjoy.

Overall & Recommendation :

If the things I mentioned above don’t personally barb you, and if you like the sound of the synopsis, I would definitely recommend trying The Immortals. I think most urban-fantasy lovers and mythology geeks will enjoy it; and luckily for you who do enjoy it, book II just came out in February!

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Comments
  1. Bookstooge says:

    That type of thing about cops would bother me as well. My sister is on SWAT in a large East Coast city, so I get some of the skinny on what’s going on from her view. Very eye opening…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. patnkathy says:

    I may not read the books- but I enjoy reading your reviews ! Hugs 🤗!

    Sent from my iPhone – Kathy Chambers

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Haha, DNF or not, no way I’d skip your review 🙂 I loved this book, but I’m always curious to see what others think. Your points are fair about Selene – like I said in my review of the sequel, it gets worse! I lost a lot of respect for Theo too, for putting up with her crap. And both of them definitely have an “attitude” problem!

    And I totally get what you mean regarding your observations on the portrayal of law enforcement. It drives me INSANE. Along with police, I notice that health care workers also often get the “bumbling, inept, insensitive” treatment in books, as well as religious figures. At some point it stops sitting right with me and instead makes me think the author is just using lazy cliches, or like you said, setting up a narrative.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Christy Luis says:

      Yeah, I don’t mind at all when authors speak through their fiction or if they’re just writing something “lite” and fun, but I often feel obligated to point it out if it bothers me enough to impact my reading enjoyment. And you are sooo right about Theo, he’s an angel with Selene 😇

      Like

  4. Nathan says:

    Wow. So many people loved this one and I had it high on my wish list. But your reasoning is clear, thanks for sharing. So many people ignore their DNF’s, I always like getting some thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Christy Luis says:

      Yeah, a lot of people really enjoyed it still! I bet you’ll enjoy it if those aren’t personal pet peeves of yours. I was just going to lump this DNF review in with a series of “review bites,” but I found I had too much to say for that! Lol

      Like

  5. This title intrigued me when I first read about it and it’s been sitting on my “next” list for quite a while. Then a couple of days ago I read Mogsy’s review of the second book in the series, and my enthusiasm cooled a little with her references to the main character’s quite cold-blooded attitude: I ascribed it to her nature as a goddess and the high self-esteem that comes with it. And now I read your review and it appears as if other characters (even the human ones!) suffer from this kind of problem and – worse – as if the author has some issues she needs to vent through her stories.
    That might not sit too well with me, so I thank you for the warning… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Christy Luis says:

      I know, I read Mogsy’s review, too, just as I was cleaning up my rough draft of this review! I was like, “I’M NOT ALONE!!!” Lol. I think the “stone cold Selene” thing might be an attempt at a humorous rapport with Theo, but it just never seemed very funny to me unfortunately. Sooo disappointing because I heard such good things about this one 😩

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, no! Sorry this one didn’t work for you! I actually really enjoyed it, but will admit, I can see why some people might not enjoy the characters as much

    Liked by 1 person

    • Christy Luis says:

      I know, I was sooo disappointed because it has so much going for it 😩 But I’m glad you and so many other still enjoyed it! Especially being such an ambitious debut, it deserves an appreciative audience.

      Like

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