Publisher: Orbit Books
Page Count: 436
Release Date: February 16th, 2016
Series: OLYMPUS BOUND, Book 1
Rating: 3/5 – Liked It
From a young age, I’ve been obsessed with Greek Mythology. It was always my favorite unit in school, and I’ve enjoyed reading everything from THE ODYSSEY to PERCY JACKSON AND THE LIGHTNING THIEF. So when I discovered there was a series set in modern day featuring Artemis as a vigilante avenger of women, I had to have the book. While the characters were a bit flat, the finale stuck the landing, and I will continue onwards next month with book two, THE WINTER OF THE GODS.
Content Warning: The launch point of the main story involves the discovery of a brutal murder and mutilation of a woman. While not overly gory, the female-specific mutilation is discussed multiple times over the course of the book as the characters determine the intent of the killer.
The Greek gods were real. Fueled by the worship of their followers and the myths told about their exploits, they ruled and meddled in mortal affairs for centuries. But when mankind turned to other religions, they slowly lost their power, and eventually split apart to pursue new lives. And so it is that in present-day New York, Artemis can be found under the name Selene DiSilva, a vigilante-for-hire to women dealing with abusive relationships. Although still immortal, she’s lost much of the strength and attributes of her divine nature. But when a series of cult-related murders strikes New York, Selene finds her strength slowly returning. Her very nature demands that she avenge the murdered innocent, but what if these sacrifices are the key to regaining her lost power?
For a 400+ page book, I unfortunately didn’t find the story as deep as I wished. This has less to do with the plot and more to do with the characters, which usually make or break a read for me. Selene/Artemis was a one-note character for most of the book. It’s an aspect I struggled with because I can see WHY the author wrote her this way: Selene is a goddess, beholden to her attributes; she feels in her core that if she strays from her “realms” she will lose her immortality even faster. As a result, Selene has no time for mortals, especially men, and is dogged in the pursuit of her goals. (Other Greek gods make appearances in this book and are also largely frustratingly one note.) But while I understood why she was written this way, it didn’t make it any easier to read a cold, brusque character who had little empathy. Selene is balanced out by Theo Schultz, a classics professor who knew one of the murder victims and who is the first to pick up on the cult attributes of the crime. Theo is a more relaxed character who is constantly trying to get Selene to open up. Unfortunately, her resistance added to my frustration, and the lack of chemistry between the two made it difficult to believe in their romance that begins to appear towards the end of the book.
But while the meat of the book left me a bit disinterested, the last 150 pages redeemed the plot. Up to that point, the mystery itself had been fine; some sleuthing, some escapes, both mortal and immortal, and some red herrings. And I admit, I felt a little jaded, and thought I had the ending figured out fairly early on. I turned out to be right – up a point. The ending went places I wasn’t expecting, which was a good start, but more importantly, it was during the finale that we finally see Selene open up for the first time, the first moment that I really connected with her as a character. She let’s her emotions fly free and it was liberating. I’m hoping that this shift will continue onwards into the next book.
At the end of the day, THE IMMORTALS is an adequate read, and some may get more mileage out of the premise than I did. There is some interesting discussion of the nature of mythology and the chicken/egg relationship it has with the gods. When it manages to hit emotional beats, it packs a wallop, but those moments were few and far between. Still, there was enough here to make me continue onwards with the series, and I’ll be checking out THE WINTER OF THE GODS next month.