Bleu Reviews: The Immortalists

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Rating: 4 out of 5

There was a lot of buzz about the NY Times best -selling book, The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin. I’d heard tons of great reviews and recently decided to crack it open. My overall thoughts on this one was that it was interesting.

The words, Thought-Provoking come to mind which coincidentally may have been featured on the back of the book. The plot; four siblings visit a fortune teller and find out the “dates of their deaths”. 

Thoughts Have Wings. 

The prologue aptly titled, The Woman on Hester St. lays it all out for the reader to pick up. Hinting that you need to know exactly what’s about to happen so that you can follow the rest of the story. We meet the Gold children, thirteen-year-old Varya, Daniel, eleven, Klara, nine and Simon, seven. Told as if by a guardian angel watching over the Gold’s we learn of the gypsy woman and the prophecies she has for each child.

“Character is fate—that’s what he said. They’re bound up, those two, like brothers and sisters. You wanna know the future?” She points at Varya with her free hand. “Look in the mirror.” 
― Chloe BenjaminThe Immortalists

That quote was the most foreshadowing for me looking back on the story as a whole. Each Gold went into the room with the gypsy alone, each was given a different date and that date affected each child differently. However, there is never any clear indication that the prophecies were real, in fact, at least twice we can see examples of how their fates could’ve been easily avoided. Yet something in each of the siblings pulled them towards the lives they chose to live.

“And what if I change?” It seems impossible that Varya’s future is already inside her like an actress just offstage, waiting decades to leave the wings.  “Then you’d be special.’ Cause most people don’t” 

–  Chloe Benjamin, The Immortalists

The Immortalists  was a fascinatingly cerebral kind of story that forces you to ponder some of life’s most philosophical questions.Was it fate that led each Gold to their end or was it simply, the belief that things were meant to happen, that affected their realities. The destructive behaviors of each siblings seem more responsible than any fated date. Each crisis the Gold siblings found themselves in were strictly by their own design and were entirely avoidable. The recurring theme became a rather annoying race to prove the fortune teller right.

I’m still trying to reconcile O’Donoghue’s overall role. Was he cosmically linked to the Golds? Are we all cosmically linked to the random people in our lives?

***** Possible Spoilers below******

I’ve considered that maybe Eddie was the good shoulder angel in the equation. He always appeared in crucial moments offering another path. A chance for the siblings to 1b34b66af5c62296869ed3b7b20c5c227852714073979919797.jpgdo something else. He first appears in Simon’s he gives Simon a more than stern talking to but still insists he return home to NYC. He returns in Klara’s story having met her in Simon’s lifetime and falls for her. In this I saw a chance for Klara to lead another life altogether, still doing magic but perhaps not living as isolated a life, perhaps O’Donoghue being a cop would’ve saved her from herself. It seems his presence spooked her instead especially since it seemed like he was obsessed or stalking her. He weirdly becomes friends with Daniel, offering closer and a chance to move on from his grief over having introduced his siblings to the fortune teller idea in the first place.

The idea that grief is what caused each sibling to behave in the ways they did seemed liek a bit of a cop-out at times. The grief Klara felt for urging Simon to flee to San Francisco. Daniel’s grief for not being their for Simon, for not being closer to Klara. Varya’s grief over not connecting with any of them, that grief caused them to act out impulsively and in doing so it ruined them.

“If they had not lived as though life were a mad dash toward some unearned climax; if they had walked instead of fucking run” 
― Chloe BenjaminThe Immortalists

I applaud Benjamin for succesfully creating a body of work that captures a snippet of humanities obsession with mortality., or immortality depending on which angle you’re addressing. Of all the questions the children could’ve asked they each wanted to know 20180802_1906265326587727603823312.jpgthe dates of their deaths.

Knowing those dates they each took steps to achieve some form of greatness before they ran out of time. Yet as each sibling fell to their destinies, it seems hard to discern how much was actually out of their control.

Simon’s destiny was to die young, and though we can always wonder if he would’ve had a stroke or been hit by a bus we know for a fact that the lifestyle he chose to participate in. (San Francisco in the 80s for a gay male) He lived recklessly despite having every reason to find a calmer safer life. It wasn’t hard to guess that he’d be a victim of the AIDS virus, especially when introducing multiple sex partners and drugs.

Klara’s obsession with the otherworld and magic were less dangerous than her alcoholism and hallucinations. Some would even speculate that Klara was mentally ill, perhaps having a husband as a cop would’ve gotten her the help that she needed but married to fellow magician and business man gave her more pressure than she could handle. I must admit I always suspected her to fall to her death during a magic trick, to know that she ended things herself felt like cheating.

Daniel’s death also felt forced and like it didn’t belong. We start his downward spiral by having him suspended for not wanting to send unfit soldiers to their deaths and before the chapter is over he’s hunting down a gypsy, wielding a pistol and committing suicide by cop. There is no explanation for why this would’ve happened beyond it being the date he was supposed to die, yet something tells me he could’ve stayed home and seen the next day.

Varya is the only one who seems to be left standing when the book ends but her date wasn’t until 2044 and even in real life it’s only 2018, so describing a future world wouldn’t have fit within the theme of the story. Having the most time allowed Varya to got through a metaphysical death, one in which she was able to begin a new life with new possibilities unencumbered by fear which she felt far greater than her siblings.65bd58748deeff2f03312db075cb16418240064846513339096.jpg

She had been consumed by fear long before they visited the woman on Hester St. and it may have been this fear which hinted to her long life. Suffering from a mental illness of her home, she sacrificed pleasure for a chance at securing her safety. She was the only Gold who had no outward vices and she was miserable until that changed.

I like Varya’s chapter the best because it was the only chapter that showed evolution and options. Varya had started her life stagnant alive but alone, starving herself and wracked with guilt for being the last sibling standing. Yet when faced with examining her life, she rises to the occassion and chooses to make the effort to enjoy the long life she was striving for.

“It sounds like you’re saying we can choose to live. Or we can choose to survive.”
― Chloe BenjaminThe Immortalists

 

Would You Want To Know The Date of Your Death?

You can keep up with me, Noel Bleu and Blu Moon Fiction on FacebookTwitterInstagramGoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com

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Bookish Thoughts: Invisible Library Wrap-Up

20180731_1510192610916188086602074.jpgI’m a bit obsessed with The Invisible Library right now. The entire concept of a secret society traversing dimensions collecting specialized works of fiction was enough to lure me in but the story was basically as the blurb described; Sherlock Holmes with a twist of magic.

It gave me a taste of steampunk which I absolutely loved because I’m intrigued by the genre but haven’t been able to tear myself away from my normal reads to actually break into my stash of steampunk novels. I bought an anthology and what was described as a ‘must read’ for people interested in breaking into the genre.

I’m still working on fine tuning what kinds of books I truly love to read. I read most fiction, but have been known to peruse the occasional memoir. The Invisible Library was found in the Fantasy section of the bookstore.

It happens to be a Book about books, mystery and for some reason classifies as a Young Adult, with a touch of steampunk. I’ve always enjoyed Sherlock Holmes story. I also enjoy whodunnit’s (dinner theatre), clue (both the game and the movie) and suspense/thriller/horror. I was genuinely worried that the hodge-podge of things happening with the book would be overwhelming. It was pleasantly surprising that the story was cohesive and a real testament to the author.

I keep thinking about their codenames. In the book Irene mentions that the initiates get to pick her name and that Kostchei (the deathless) had chosen his name based on the fable. This makes me wonder if all the agents of  “The Library” were named after other previous book characters. So I googled….and google didn’t know.

Then I went to GoodReads…and i’m waiting for a response….

and then there’s always the twitter verse…screenshot_20180801-224534_twitter4132641945363581948.jpg

and so far no one has answered.  But, I’ll keep checking on the answer to that because I’m dying to read the story of Bradamant. I’m also curious to know which Irene she’s supposed to be. I enjoyed the fact that it was only 329 pages. I feel like my limit is approximately 600 pages but I wouldn’t read two of those kinds of books back to back.

The reviews for The Invisible Library  are mostly favorable. Some people didn’t like the blending of so many fantasy elements but the majority at least accepted the concept of alternate realms that allowed it to work.

The description for The Masked City has me drooling!!!

Irene’s mission to save Kai and avert Armageddon will take her to a dark, alternate Venice where it’s always Carnival. Here Irene will be forced to blackmail, fast talk, and fight. Or face death.

I refuse to borrow this book. I must claim it for my own!

Therefore I’ll be going back for The Masked City, The Burning Page and The Lost Plot very very soon.  I was literally about to read another Gregory Maguire book. I absolutely love his work. Just for kicks I’m working my way through a list of his work. I have to finish The Wicked Years series . Now I’m going to read The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin because the cover just popped into my head. I’ve been meaning to read this book for some time and have heard a lot about it. All seem great but I haven’t read any reviews so that I don’t have a biased opinion.

Happy Reading!

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What are you reading?

Let Me Know In The Comments Below!

 

Check out my Review for The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman click Here!

You can keep up with me, Noel Bleu and Blu Moon Fiction on FacebookTwitterInstagramGoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com

Bleu Reviews: The Invisible Library

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The Invisible Library By: Genevieve Cogman Rating: 5 out of 5

***There May Be Some Indirect Spoilers, I Try To Be As Vague As Possible ***

Another book completed to add to my 2018 Reading Challenge. After finishing Renegades by Marissa Meyer, I was looking for something different. I even considered that YA may no longer be for me.

My interests tend to linger on the more grotesque of topics and the more gore the better in my opinion.  As a result of fine tuning the specific kinds of books I like, I stumbled across this series and it just topped my list of MUST READS.

I originally discovered this book while doing a Bookstore browse and was actually pulled in by the fourth installment of the series. That book’s cover had a Great Gatsby layout that piqued my interest, but, as an avid book collector and lover of series I had to start with the first book to be sure it was worth the time.

Though still technically a YA novel, “The Invisible Library” turned out to be more exciting than it sounded. The book was full of my favorite things; an amazing creatively developed world, with well-rounded, expertly written, relatable snarky characters. A img_20180624_231004_5964887169042057646425.jpgcreative magical system that uses actual language, (both written and spoken) to thrive. Secret Societies dedicated to the procurement of specialty works of fiction, “By Any (most) Means Necessary” Alternate worlds offering various pending adventures as well as misadventures and a female protagonist, which I’m always down for.

There is even mild sexual tension between characters Irene and Kai and a possible love triangle if we are willing to make Vale a true contender for her affections. Those who enjoy a little romance to break up their action will be pleasantly occupied with the developments there. Cogman did an impressive job developing the plot.

The mystery aspects of the novel were so well conceived that the reader was gradually transported to the same conclusions the characters themselves reached around the same img_20180624_230527_3388987632588590467996.jpgtime. I will admit, on a few occasions, I even guessed at some of the scenes. A true indicator that I was connecting with the story.

The Invisible Library, was a relatively quick read and I would have finished it sooner, if not for family emergencies and a dread of finishing before I had time to buy the next book. This is one series I’m considering borrowing from the library.

I choose my fantasy mostly based on the entertainment factor,  though, a few books manage to toss in an underlying message that I have to dissect later. This book had such a quality. The nature of the library isn’t to interfere nor is it to become attached, yet in essence it’s function seems to be a contradiction.

Agents must intervene in order to intercept the works of fiction, either passively as in most missions (as explained by Irene) or through more direct methods as displayed in the story. Likewise forming attachments, at times prove useful as secrecy isn’t always best when trying to gain information.

I was satisfied with how the first book ended understanding that there is more to it since there are four completed works in this series. I love the overall concept that a secret society of librarians exist to gather books from alternate realms. The Mythos behind it’s forming and its true nature are also things I’m looking forward to learning more about. Very eager to get my hands on the next book, which the author was so kind as to include as an excerpt in the first one.

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What’s Your Favorite Book About Books?

Let Me Know In The Comments Below!

You can keep up with me, Noel Bleu and Blu Moon Fiction on FacebookTwitterInstagramGoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com