The first must-read novel of 2016
Manhattan has many secrets. Some are older than the city itself.
The city sleeps. Selene DiSilva walks her dog along the banks of the Hudson. She is alone — just the way she likes it. She doesn’t believe in friends, and she doesn’t speak to her family. Most of them are simply too dangerous.
In the predawn calm, Selene finds the body of a young woman washed ashore, gruesomely mutilated and wreathed in laurel. Her ancient rage returns. And so does the memory of a promise she made long ago — when her name was Artemis.
I read this quite a while ago, and rather stupidly didn’t write the review right away. The Immortals was at the top of my most-anticipated list for 2016 pretty much since I first spotted it on Edelweiss. I was extremely happy, therefore, to receive an advance review copy last year. It absolutely exceeded my expectations.
The novel offers a substantial mystery, infused with Greek mythology and more-modern tension. Selene’s investigation goes through a number of twists and turns, taking her and the readers on a tour of some great, interesting spots in Manhattan. Brodsky does a wonderful job of merging popular and familiar elements of the urban fantasy and crime/P.I. genres into an original, thoroughly satisfying new form. I don’t want to give anything away, though, so this is going to be a very short review — part of the pleasure I got from the novel was because I knew nothing about how the story might unfold. As a novel I loved, it is also best that I don’t allow my gushing to become hyperbolic. Needless to say, the mystery at the heart of the novel is well-paced, and reveals come at just the right moment. It was very hard to put the novel down when I had to sleep or work. It was addictive, gripping.
Selene is a great protagonist — tough, focused, flawed, and engaging and sympathetic. The characters she meets along the way are equally interesting: not a single one felt one-dimensional. Selene’s interactions with the other characters are realistic and even funny at times (she never “breaks character”, something that quite a few debut authors accidentally make their characters do). The characters influenced and/or drawn from Greek mythology are well-drawn and interesting takes on classical ideas, and transposed into the modern world in fascinating and imaginative ways. There was also something about them that reminded me of Brubaker and Chiang’s take on Wonder Woman for DC Comics’ New 52, though only slightly.
Simply put, The Immortals is outstanding: a near-as-damned-perfect blend of New York crime thriller and Greek Mythology, superbly plotted and written. The first must read of 2016, it should be a top priority for everyone. Very, very highly recommended.