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Olympus Bound #1

The Immortals

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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. To protect the innocent-and to punish those who stand in her way.

With the NYPD out of its depth, Selene vows to hunt the killer on her own. But when classics professor Theo Schultz decodes the ancient myth behind the crime, the solitary Huntress finds herself working with a man who's her opposite in every way. Together, they face a long-forgotten cult that lies behind a string of murders, and they'll need help from the one source Selene distrusts most of all: the city's other Immortals.

Much like Lev Grossman's The Magicians spoke to a generation of adults who grew up with Harry Potter, THE IMMORTALS will enchant anyone who loved American Gods or Percy Jackson.

447 pages, Hardcover

First published February 16, 2016

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About the author

Jordanna Max Brodsky

4 books681 followers
Jordanna Max Brodsky hails from Virginia. She holds a degree in History and Literature from Harvard University. She lives in Manhattan with her husband.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 744 reviews
Profile Image for Mogsy (MMOGC).
2,008 reviews2,597 followers
April 26, 2016
5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum http://bibliosanctum.com/2016/02/18/a...

In this remarkable debut fantasy novel by Jordanna Max Brodsky, Greek gods walk the earth. They’ve actually been with us since time immemorial, but with the arrival of science, technology and new forms of faith, their powers have faded throughout the ages so that the ones who still living among us are practically human, barely hanging onto their immortality. As the goddess of the hunt and protector of women and girls, Artemis still embodies a lot of the values she was known for, though these days she has taken the name of Selene DiSilva and has adopted Manhattan as her home.

Walking her dog one morning, Selene stumbles upon the corpse of a young woman washed up on the shores of the river. Horribly mutilated and wreathed in laurel, the victim bears all the signs of a ritualistic murder. Recognizing the significance of this, Selene swears to find justice for the woman, and her investigations ultimately lead her to team up Dr. Theo Schultz, a professor of mythology and classical studies.

While this might sound strange, one of main reasons I adored The Immortals is the way it bought me back to some of the wonderful books and authors I’ve enjoyed in the past. Essentially, the author has managed to shape something brand new and unique out of a hodgepodge of familiar themes and ideas, and I was amazed at how well the end result worked for me.

For example, like many of my favorite books by Juliet Marillier, we have a powerful feminist icon as a protagonist, one who champions women through her words and actions. Selene reminds me very much of Blackthorn from Dreamer’s Pool in that both characters start off very suspicious of everyone around them, but she gradually comes to accept that there are good, honorable men out there who are deserving of her love and trust. In The Immortals there’s also Theo, a Dan Brown-esque geeky scholar-type hero who uses his esoteric knowledge to solve puzzles and chase a killer across the city, trying to stop the murders before they happen (Angels and Demons, anyone?) Finally, and perhaps inevitably, there are the obvious parallels to Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, what with both books strongly featuring a blend of modern culture and ancient mythology along with the central premise that gods only exist because of belief and veneration. Once that worship wanes, so too will the gods’ strength and immortality.

The Immortals mixes these popular tropes freely and generously, but in spite of this, its greatness is diminished not one single bit. In fact, the book feels both familiar and new, and I was able to ease into it effortlessly. It didn’t take much convincing to get me on board with the mystery plot either, which was suspenseful and enticing. Brodsky’s prose feels natural and elegant, infused with a hint of casual humor which made this one a rather light fare even in the face of some darker themes, and as a big fan of Greek mythology, I also enjoyed her fantastic and often very witty portrayals of the gods. In addition, the narrative brings to life a side of Manhattan I’ve never seen before, and in a way the setting becomes a character in its own right. There’s always a place in my heart for stories that teach me new things and/or make me see things from a different angle, and this book definitely fits the bill.

I also feel very fortunate that I was able to receive a copy of the audiobook for review. To my surprise, one of the narrators is Jordanna Max Brodsky herself, and she ended up delivering an impressive performance. I’ve not listened to too many author-narrated novels, but I can see them having a certain appeal. Not all authors are able to pull off narrating their own books, but Brodsky is undeniably as talented at voice acting as she is at writing, giving her character Selene the perfect attitude on the page and in audio. Robert Petkoff matched her with an incredible performance of his own while reading the chapters devoted to Theo, infusing his character’s geeky but lovable persona with the necessary charm. I also appreciated the sound effects and other little touches that made this audiobook even more immersive.

Bottom line, I loved this novel and I have to say the audio format was also a phenomenal experience all around. I honestly can’t recall the last time I rated both story and performance on an audiobook a full five stars (or if I’ve ever even done so before!) but The Immortals most certainly deserves it!
Profile Image for carol..
1,517 reviews7,722 followers
July 28, 2017
Like many myth geeks, I loved reading D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths. I followed the trail of magical into fairy tales and down the slide into mythology. Brodsky took the idea of Greek gods and moved them to modern New York City, powered down and living among mortals. Artemis is a far cry from her old self, but she still hunts those who offend her spirit of justice. Instead of a pack of hounds, she has her faithful dog Hippolyta. As Artemis is scaring off a mortal man from his abused girlfriend when she feels a call go out from one of her worshippers. Although she's certain worshippers no longer exist, her goddess abilities seem to be returning to her.

Gods among the mortals isn't a new idea in fantasy, but Brodsky's version is firmly anchored in research. Depending on your wheelhouse, this level of detail can be an attraction or a bore. Personally, despite my long fondness for ancient Greek art and myth, I did find the explanatory babble occasionally cumbersome, although not as bad as I would have expected in an urban fantasy. It works because Theodore Schultz is the ultimate professor, easily expounding on ancient culture and mythology at every opportunity, even in a police station.

Although I am drawn to thoughtful characters, Artemis is no Athena (fun fact: I mistakenly named my rottweiler Athena instead of Artemis. She also was no Athena, metaphorically speaking). Her strategy in solving the mystery is to investigate crime locations and to accuse everyone she knows of the crime. Ordinarily, this headstrong thoughtlessness would irritate, but Brodsky makes it work for her. However, much like the deities in mythology, she also distinctly lacks a sense of humor. As in mythology, Theo is the character that helps the reader connect to the story.

On the downside, the author clearly follows the theory Conservation of Character, which was kind of a disappointment. There were a lot of insignificant mortals in mythology, so I missed the lack of inconsequential players, along with missed potential in minor gods and half-children. Strangely, early on we are introduced to Gabriela, a completely stereotypical Latina chica, her girl-friend speech pattern, her gay-dar, her moods that "could turn on a dime" and physical affection with Theo. I felt kind of embarrassed for Brodsky creating such a stereotypical mess of a character.

Setting was one of the high points: what's not to love about New York City? She even nails the strange stale and fetid smell of the subway in the heat. However, Brodsky chooses to set her story fairly solidly in time, a serious mistake. I was puzzlingly distracted by more than a few mentions of Alexander Hamilton (the person, not the musical), and my reading buddy noted references to Amy Shumer, Anderson Cooper and Saturday Night Live! are going to badly date the books. Seems kind of a rookie mistake, but then it is a first book. So much of NYC is fairly timeless that it is a surprising choice.

Plotting is perhaps one of the weaker points. It roughly revolves around "who killed Helen," Theo's ex-, "and why?" but it does develop a couple of related sub-plots. I will say that I was able to identify the villain fairly quickly, and as I've said before, if I'm able to do that, you are performing the literary equivalent of ALL CAPS! MURDERER HERE! There's a romantic subplot that feels incompletely realized. Basically, why is the virgin goddess falling in love while she's avenging a woman? Goddesses are capricious and all that, but seems a bit hard to conceive that our cold moon goddess is mooning over a man as she's hunting a killer. Brodsky didn't really quite have the chops to pull it off.

It wasn't until the end that I realized one of the philosophical underpinnings of the world-building, the idea that deities can be maintained by adapting to new traditions, was utterly ignored with Persephone, goddess of harvest, and Leto, goddess of motherhood. Somehow the females all became weaker while the males became stronger. Clearly, Brodsky's never worked with a gaggle of moms-to-be, had to buy stupid baby presents every year or look at a facebook feed full of fat little faces. The Cult of Motherhood is strong.

Overall, I'd say I enjoyed reading it, but I do tend to rely heavily on skimming over the boring bits, whatever they may be. The approach seems to be a little more of the literary-fiction angle than the UF angle, which may be why there's a blurb from Deborah Harkness on the front. People who don't groove on Greek myths or on NYC may be more bored, although it's worth noting that Artemis' approach is more like a superhero- powerhouse, not a magicky-wishy--thinky approach. This was generally solid, and more palatable than early Harry Dresden books. I think there's some interesting potential, so while I wouldn't add it to my personal library, I'm also willing to continue the series.

Three-and-a-half stars. Rounding down because the world-building sexism bugged me.
Profile Image for Skyler Autumn.
226 reviews1,390 followers
October 31, 2017
2 Stars

The Immortals answers the age old question what would happen when the gods of our history are no longer worshipped. Well for our Greek God Artemis (now going by Selene) it means becoming a sexually frustrated private investigator in New York City. Artemis while going for a nightly walk in the park with her trusty dog Hippo and the usual scowl plastered on her face stumbles upon the dead body of a young woman. It quickly becomes clear that this type of murder is the act of a ancient greek ritualistic cult and Selene needs the help of the dead woman's ex-lover and colleague in classical studies Professor Theodore Schultz in solving this crime before more people are sacrificed.

The portrayal of Selene aka Artemis was infuriating. The writer took a strong female icon within ancient greek mythology and made her a nothing more than a sexually frustrated woman. Selene embodied the phrase "this person needs to get laid" to the point where other characters would say that to her. She was constantly going between the emotions of irrationally angry, and shamefully horny. And I say shamefully because if Selene had any feelings of lust or attraction the reader would then have to endure countless paragraphs of her just beating herself up over such thoughts.

The writer took the concept of Artemis's chastity within mythology and made it a self inflicted punishment instead an intentional decision. Why couldn't the character be portrayed as Asexual? Just a female who isn't bothered about relationships or sexual acts. Instead they made her a naive child that would blush or feel like vomiting anytime someone mentioned sex. SHE'S SUPPOSE TO HAVE LIVED FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS HOW IS SHE SO SHOCKED BY SEX!?! Clearly she doesn't watch any HBO shows. The fact that the writer seemed more hung up on Artemis's virginity then her many other attributes just got ridiculous. She became less like a ancient Greek God and more like that whiny friend you have that obsesses and complains about never having a boyfriend.

The other main character in this novel was a bit more likeable then overly irritable and sexually frustrated Selene but not by much. Theo had some cute ways about him reminding me at times of the character Flynn Carsen in The Librarians series. Although soon Theo became a caricature spouting complex classical mythology with unrealistic ease, saying things like "Holy Roman Empire" when startled (ridiculous) and declaring that ride or die love for a woman he's known for a week. .

All and all I enjoyed the story. The story is what gave it 2 stars despite me figuring out the killer within the first 5 chapters, I still enjoyed the sleuthing and the factoids about ancient greek history. Where the author lost me was the characters and the insta-love. I HATE insta-love especially the type where they start sacrificing their lives for each other within the first few days of meetings. Its like calm your shit, crazy! This book will unfortunately be filed into the pile of series I will not be completing. I think there's going to be two more books but since the storyline seems to be heavily revolving around whether or not Artemis will finally get laid, I think I'm going to have to pass.
Profile Image for Mad.
333 reviews89 followers
May 1, 2016
This is very very hard for me to write. Had you asked me up to a certain point what I would have rated this book, I probably would have said somewhere in the solid 4-4.5* range. But then the ending just...I'm sorry, we'll get to that in a moment.

I'll be honest: I'd had zero intention of reading this book. In fact, I'm fairly certain I even rolled my eyes when I first read the synopsis. Greek gods are real and running around New York City and must suddenly "embrace their former roles" -- to solve a murder, no less? Eh...I don't know. This isn't a particularly new or innovative premise -- the idea of ancient deities in modern settings with powers that have significantly waned -- but what an author does with this premise that can make a book enjoyable, and Brodsky does do some things that I liked.

First off: the research that went into talking about the Classicist topics. When one of your (best) characters is a Classicist, I'm going to be notably on edge, bracing myself for something that'll put me over the edge. But I didn't! In fact, Theo (our resident Luke Skywalker-lookalike Classicist) became my favourite character. Selene (Artemis) may be our primary protagonist, but any man who starts lecturing a New York City cop on (an admittedly but also understandably conflated) Elusinian Mysteries has my eternal devotion. He's smart, not fabulous at relationships and, honestly, just not particularly fabulous with people in general outside of the classroom save for a small few. Basically he's probably not fun at parties. Theo is my academic spirit animal and I loved almost every page in his perspective.

Selene started off as a great protagonist. There was just enough of a cold distance to her that made it easy enough to believe that she is, indeed, not human; while this also sometimes made her difficult to connect with when in her perspective, I thought it was a good way to reinforce her status as a god. However, I have to express some disappointment that the chance wasn't seized for an asexual heroine. I am aware that Artemis is a dichotomous figure: on one hand, she can be this great feminist icon, while on the flip-side also representing many of the patriarchal aspects of Ancient Greece -- yes, I'm referring to her status as a "virgin goddess" and remaining "always chaste." Here's an idea: what if Artemis just had zero interest in sex? Not for the sake remaining "pure" and, therefore, divine, but just because sex held no interest for her. Given that somewhere around 1% of the world population identifies on the asexual spectrum, why is it so difficult to believe that the goddess of the hunt, who swore of sexual relations of all kind, is on that spectrum? She always struck me as a veritable poster-child for asexuality -- or, at the very least, gray-A/demisexuality.

This would, I think, also help explain the depth of her "affair" with Orion, which is a central point of the novel and of Selene's character. I'll be honest: the relationship between Artemis and Orion was one that always interested me. There are many different versions of it, but I will admit to always gravitating towards the more "romantic" version of them being very close before Apollo had a hand in tearing them apart.

Here's where I have to air what was, probably, my biggest grievance: the romance between Selene and Theo. I was either rolling my eyes or physically gagging, especially by the back third of the novel, whenever this was brought up. Frankly, I was hoping I wouldn't have to because, you know, it's Artemis. Here's the thing, Theo's attraction to her, I totally get; it reminds me of the line from the film, Elizabeth, that:
All men need something greater than themselves to look up to and worship. They must be able to touch the divine here on earth.

She's not human -- she's a goddess -- and he's enthralled. Cool, totally get it. But what happens between them? It really started to kill my enjoyment of the novel, especially towards the end. Let's talk about that finale:

Also, Classicist pet peeve alert: the poor treatment of Hades. I mean, I get it: it's the Elusinian mysteries, which are all about Persephone and Demeter, and from the perspective of the goddess who swore of men and hates violence against women. But, still. This isn't something unique to this book; Hades always seems to get a bad rap and it irks me. He seems perpetually cast as either the antagonist or a power-hungry dick. Let's get some things straight here: Hades was Zeus' most loyal brother -- for the record, it was Poseidon who tried to lead a coup against Zeus, not (and never) Hades. He was also the only one of the sons of Kronos who actually practiced monogamy; not that that probably matters to anyone, but I think it's just reinforcement of his loyalty to those he cares about. I'm in no way trying to romanticize Hades, but I just can't understand why writers (for page and screen) insist on casting him in such a negative light. Just because he's the Greek god of the dead doesn't mean he's a total dick. Okay, moving on.

This was a book that basically started out with a ton of promise and had so many great things, but tripped its finish line so hard that I have to dock stars from it. It actually left me groaning and then sighing in disappointment because this book had really gotten my hopes up.

Would I continue the series? Maybe. Theo is fantastic, but I don't think I could keep reading the romance between him and Selene -- if they'd just stayed partners-in-crime, I'd have been totally gung-ho about going on because the book, for the most part, was fun. I can't deny that. I'm torn. Very, very torn.
Profile Image for Lata.
3,509 reviews187 followers
December 21, 2016
Though a fast and suspenseful read, I found myself kind of annoyed by all of the main characters. And their whiteness.
The only character I liked was Hippo. That's right, the dog.
Profile Image for Paul.
303 reviews73 followers
February 26, 2017
an urban fantasy with a mythological basis? yes please sign me up for more. selene (artemis) is a kick ass heroine and Theodore is a brilliant, tough and charming scholar. together they must solve who is committing ritualistic murders in New York.
Profile Image for Naomi.
265 reviews22 followers
August 31, 2016
The book was interesting, but a little over halfway through I stopped enjoying it. The characters were slow and getting on my nerves. I didn't appreciate the romance plot. Several things happened that didn't make sense to me and others were too convenient.

I might have given it 2.5 stars and rounded up to 3, but finishing it just felt like such a chore. Other people might enjoy it and I definitely could have enjoyed it more if some things had been done differently, or even in a different order. I doubt that I'll read the next book.

Buddy read with Carol.

Profile Image for Jenny.
335 reviews8 followers
February 12, 2016
* Based on a reading of an ARC

The concept is nothing new in that we have Greek gods living in a modern world, their powers almost gone since they are no longer worshipped, but in this book, Artemis/ Selene, the Goddess of Wilderness is the main protagonist who must find and stop the Mystery Cult who are killing innocent women in line with long forgotten Eleusinian Mysteries that brings immortality to a god being worshipped. On her side is Theo, brilliant professor of Greek and Roman myths to help her.

I was actually bored with the book. It was just not exciting. There was no tension or thrill and the romance was not romantic. There were some redeeming qualities to it, not much but some. The humor worked most of the time and I like Theo, the professor to certain extend. The Eleusinian Mysteries itself was interesting.
The twist in the end which I didn't see it coming especially because it felt contradictory to the world created in the book was good, I guess. But there were other contradictions in the book which bothered me.

One of the biggest problems was that even though I wanted to like her, Artemis/Selene turned me off. She was one dimensional character, robotic in a lot of ways, with no sense of humor and has no morals. As a goddess of protector of innocent, it only applied to females but if you were male, not a chance. She is a vigilant who kills. But then she saves these women not because she cares but because that is what she is supposed to do.

Profile Image for Robyn.
827 reviews132 followers
August 14, 2016
Satisfying mash up of Roman/Greek myth, murder mystery, and urban fantasy.
Profile Image for Suzanne.
1,596 reviews
May 30, 2017
This was a good mystery wrapped in a mythology/urban fantasy setting. Some of the Greek gods and goddesses are living in New York, their powers waning, and then the killings start.
Profile Image for Veronique.
1,220 reviews165 followers
August 10, 2016
A murder mystery combined with Greek Mythology sounded just too good to miss, and Brodsky's book is one addictive and entertaining read :0)

The mutilated body of a young woman is found by Selene DiSilva who is none other than Artemis, Greek goddess of the Hunt and Protector of the Innocent. Well, after several thousand years and especially the loss of believers, she has lost most of her powers and retains her immortality by a thin thread. The idea that gods are roaming around us, having to live like mortals, is not a new one but it works very well here. 

At first, Selene is not the most likeable protagonist, empathy not being her strong suit, but our 'goddess' is also going through an existentialist crisis. Upon finding the corpse, she decides to find the culprit and extract vengeance/judgement. In this endeavour, she relunctantly partners up with Prof Theodore Schultz, classicist extraordinaire, friend of the victim. Again, putting two very different personalities together, poles apart, is not new but so effective both in terms of solving murder and inciting the growth of said characters - plus it is ever so fun to watch! The repartees between these two are priceless, especially Theo's (and Gabriella). Add to this that Selene hasn't learnt much and still more often than not rushes into situations without thinking! Theo on the other hand is finding out that he can be more than just a sedentary academic. 

This mixing of old and new works particularly well set in New York. The city shines in its historical glory, a worthy stage for the mortals and immortals, and where Power, Empathy, Justice and Madness are still very much present and pulling their strings.

Although Brodsky has taken artistic liberties with the mythology and that the crime element is not the most taxing, she applied it with such enthusiasm that it doesn't matter. The Immortals is a fun book and I for one cannot wait for the second instalment (Feb 2017).
Profile Image for aphrodite.
381 reviews860 followers
December 10, 2019
this is a disappointing one, guys.

I was extremely excited to pick this up because it isn’t often I find a greek mythology retelling with such promise. but this, too, left me wanting more.

first, I do want to say that the history in this is phenomenal. if you are not invested in greek myths, culture, society, etc this would be a major turn off because our classist character does not shy away from educating the reader. but since this is my intended area of study, I loved it.

aside from that, wasn’t a fan.

the rules in which pertained to the gods’ power/loss of power was a big source of confusion. at the start we’re led to believe selene (artemis) is the one of the few gods left, then apollo shows up and we lean, okay, the olympians are safe, but THEN we learn that leto, their mother, is still alive even though she’s not nearly as popular as the MUSES? also the magic system and what they could/couldn’t do, scope of their immortality, etc etc it just was not flushed out and allowed for the author to make it up as they went along.

secondly, selene was the worst depiction of a goddess I’ve ever read about. she was pretty dumb, had no knowledge of anything greek related, had no strategy, and only really showed interest in men. HELLO, ARTEMIS IS A VIRGIN GODDESS LADY. it just did not feel like I was reading about a badass feminist goddess in the slightest.

to jump off that, I was SO READY for a classist x goddess romance if it was done right. but selene’s unwarranted horniness and the lack of chemistry made me roll my eyes the entire time they interacted.

and finally, I was just bored. despite the amount of knowledge and classist porn in here the mystery and the plot dragggggeeeeddd and I never wanted to pick the book up.

all in all, this book probably is more like a 2.5/5 stars but because the concept was so interesting (I mean an ancient greek cult inspired murder mystery? come on) and I love the historical aspects I have to give it credit for that.
Profile Image for Dark Faerie Tales.
2,274 reviews545 followers
June 25, 2017
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: People thought the gods weren’t real…

Opening Sentence: Selene DiSilva crouched in a narrow alley between two run-down apartment buildings, watching the street.

The Review:

Selene is a PI that helps women, just as she was the protector of women so many years ago when she was Artemis. Her power has long since faded as no one worships her anymore, but she is still immortal. After Selene helps a young women get away from an abusive boyfriend she feels a trickle of power, as if someone is calling her. She really doesn’t think anything about until the next morning while out walking her dog she finds the body of a young woman, and the sacrifice has been made to Artemis.

Theo is a Professor of the Classics, and he is stunned when he finds out that, Helen, his ex-girlfriend and fellow Professor has been murdered. When he heads out to the crime scene to say farewell, he runs into Selene. Selene gives him her card and lets him know that she is going to find Helen’s killer and that she was murdered in a ritual sacrifice. Theo thinks she is a tad crazy until he starts digging into things, and when the police blow him off and another murder happens he knows that he can’t let this go either.

Selene and Theo join forces as a cult begins the ritual of Elysium and it is restoring power to some of the former gods. Soon Selene begins to regain some of her old powers, but she also finds that her mother is dying and she is torn between allowing the ritual to restore power to the gods and protecting the innocent as she always has. Time is running out for Selene and Theo to figure out who is leading the cult? Will Selene make the right choice?

I wasn’t sure how I would feel about this, I love the Greek gods and enjoy stories steeped in the mythology. I just don’t’ always like how they turn out. I love how the author brought to life the mythology while also keeping relevant in the modern world. It was also interesting to see how it all played out in the end as we all know the Olympians were notoriously selfish, mean and extremely petty.

I won’t spoil anything, but I loved this and I can’t wait to read book 2. I am hooked and I love mysteries and fantasy, and to have both is just the perfect mixture! Seeing Selene struggle to find her place in humanity while never really being a part of it was so interesting. Plus Theo, I mean who doesn’t love a man that knows his Greek mythology backwards and forwards. I also learned about myths I hadn’t heard and I loved that seriously!

Notable Scene:

Researching the cult ritual that might have inspired Helen’s murder-and could provide the key to preventing others was the best proof yet, that myth and story mattered. Despite the sandess still shadowing him, Theo felt reborn. He was always searching for battles to fight, causes to champion. Now, for the first time, his knowledge could actually save lifes. With a feeling of growing urgency, he jogged up the stairweel and into the Classics offices in Hamilton Hall.

FTC Advisory: Orbit/Hachette provided me with a copy of The Immortals. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
November 29, 2015
It's rare that I start reading a book that I can't finish, yet Jordanna Max Brodsky's The Immortals was too pretentious and aggravating for me to waste any more time on. I stopped at page 209, which is basically the half way point.
The premise is that Greek gods now live in modern times, side by side with humanity, but that their immortality is slowly fading. Artemis is one such goddess, now investigating a serial killer who's crime scenes look like a Grecian sacrifice. Together with Professor Theo Schultz, she rants and rages her way through NYC.

Yet the biggest turn off for me was Artemis's habit of disparaging subject that have absolutely no reliance to the plot. I may have only been half way though, but I seriously doubt her hatred of Alexander Hamilton was an importation plot point, nay, just an excuse for her to rant misandristicly.

Additionally, both Artemis and Theo enjoy showing off their vast knowledge, however irrelevant it may be. This lead to an off-putting, pretentious tone.

I will admit that Theo was very likable, and the concept of modernized Greek gods interesting, but Artemis's angrily extraneous speeches made the book less than enjoyable.
Profile Image for Christine.
6,551 reviews473 followers
May 11, 2019
What happens when an ancient Greek cult starts killing women in New York? Certain gods and goddesses get ticked off.

On one hand, the book is at times, very predictable. There is little tension in the final good guys vs bad guys fight.

On the other hand, it is a fun read, and Brodsky makes excellent use of history of ancient Greece and NYC. She uses Artemis which is nice as she is usually pushed to the side for more "beautiful" goddesses.

I do wish there had been less women who must be saved and more women than Artemis at the final fight scene. However, it was still an enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Bonnie.
1,370 reviews919 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
July 7, 2016
DNF @ 35%

I'm sorry, I just can't get past the "Artemis shot Alexander Hamilton" because seriously? Why.
Profile Image for Tammy.
816 reviews135 followers
February 19, 2017

The nitty-gritty: A fun and furious romp with the gods through Manhattan, an intricately plotted murder mystery, and a delightful and refreshingly chaste

I was so excited when I was approved for this book, because I’ve been eyeing it for months. The cover alone was enough to make me giddy, but even better was the fact that it’s urban fantasy with Greek gods and goddesses in New York City! I have to admit I’m not terribly well versed in Greek mythology. I mean, I know the basics, but I actually haven’t read many books dealing with the subject. Well, I hope that’s going to change, because I’m hooked. I had so much fun with The Immortals, and yes, I learned a lot. Brodsky accomplishes that elusive thing in fiction: she’s done tons of research and put all of it in her story, but she’s done so without hitting us over the head with it. Add in the fact that this is a fantastic story—a page-turner-mystery-romance with murder, comedy and lots of

Present day Manhattan holds many secrets, the biggest one being that many of the Greek gods and goddesses are still alive and hanging out there—although they wear disguises and call themselves different names. Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt (one of her many monikers) is one such goddess. Even though her powers have all but faded over the past two thousand years, she still makes it her duty to protect wronged women. Selene DiSilva, as she now calls herself, roams the streets, answering the calls of distress and handing out violent justice to the men who abuse these women. (Think Anya the vengeance demon from Buffy.)

One day, however, walking along the lake with her trusty dog Hippolyta, Selene discovers the body of a young woman. The body has been violently mutilated, and even stranger, the woman appears to be dressed in traditional Greek garb that makes Selene think the murder is ritualistic in

Professor Theo Shultz teaches the classics at Columbia University, but his world is shattered when he’s told that a fellow professor in his department, a young woman named Helen Emerson, has been found dead. When Selene and Theo meet, and Selene describes the condition of Helen’s body, Theo immediately agrees that her murder is much more complicated than it appears. Someone seems to be trying to reenact an ancient Greek ritual, and the worst part? Helen’s is only the first sacrifice

Selene reluctantly teams up with Theo, who just happens to be an expert in all things Greek, in order to solve the mystery of Helen’s death before more women wind up

Wow, I don’t even know where to start, there is so much to love about this book! First of all, I have to applaud the author for her meticulous research and very careful plotting and attention to detail. Obviously, there are tons of interesting facts about the Greek gods and goddesses, but she also throws in details about the history of Manhattan and somehow makes it all fit into the story. Her ability to combine the past and the present was nothing short of brilliant. I don't want to say much about it, but let’s just say there is one scene where she figures out a way to combine elements of an ancient Greek ritual with the show Saturday Night Live. And there are plenty more examples like

I’ve read several other reviews of this book that use the word “pretentious,” but I honestly loved every scholarly word, and while there are some sections of the story that veer a little too much into info dump territory—Theo is mostly to blame for these sections. He is, after all, a professor of classic Greek myths and legends—for once, I didn’t mind. All that information leads to solving the mystery of who’s behind the killings, and it was fun trying to take those details and figure out how they fit into the

Selene and Theo are the stars here, and I loved their relationship. At times The Immortals felt like a good old-fashioned, feel-good romance. The best part is that—in case you don’t know all your Greek mythology history—Artemis/Selene is a virgin, and even after two thousand years, she’s still a virgin when this story takes place. As she reluctantly begins to fall for Theo, she’s torn between human need and her vow of celibacy. Theo doesn’t know who she is, and so he’s getting lots of mixed signals. I was surprised how satisfying their relationship was, even when nothing much happens between

The other relationship I loved was between Selene and her very sick mother, Leto, who is dying even though she’s supposed to be immortal. I loved the scenes with Selene, Leto and Selene’s twin brother Apollo (who calls himself Paul in the present day), as both Selene and Paul are completely devoted to their mother and they are doing whatever they can to find out why she is

Brodsky uses the idea that the gods are losing their powers because people have stopped worshipping them, and I thought it was a well thought out idea that some gods are stronger than others. For example, Paul is a rock star, and so he has lots of worshippers, therefore his power is stronger than some of the other gods who aren’t worshipped as

The author adds a couple of very handy items to her book. First, a flow chart of the gods and goddesses and their relationships to each other was something I ended up referring to over and over again. And at the end is a glossary in case you need to brush up on your knowledge of all things Greek

At times the dialogue and action seemed over-the-top, and felt much like a graphic novel in that respect, but for me, it simply added to the reading experience. This is a story, after all, about gods and goddesses, who are by definition bigger than life! I couldn’t be happier that this is the start of a series, and I’ll be anxiously awaiting the next

Big thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy. Quote was taken from an uncorrected proof and may differ in the final version of the book.This review originally appeared on Books, Bones & Buffy

354 reviews36 followers
May 9, 2020
I really enjoyed reading this book, but I must admit that some of its charm was personal. The primary setting of the story is a part of New York City (the Upper West Side of Manhattan) where I once lived for nearly a year, and the descriptions are unusually good both for local color and local history. The city--especially that area, along with downtown and midtown--definitely works as a character in the unfolding of a suspenseful narrative, and it felt as if I were right there physically every step of the way. Even if you haven't walked those streets over and over as I did, you may feel as some readers have that the book introduces you to a dimension of New York that's good to know.

This debut novel is one of a steadily growing number, like Marie Phillips's excellent Gods Behaving Badly, that are based on the idea that the Olympian gods, being immortal, are still with us but have lapsed into obscurity for lack of devotees. Instead of being banished from Olympus and winding up in a townhouse in London as Phillips postulates, Brodsky has Zeus disperse the Olympians when Christianity took over the ancient world; in their Diaspora (as they call it) the immortals' powers and memories slowly fade until they're almost like the mortals among whom they must make their way.

Not quite like mortals yet, though:
Selene shook her head. In one of the strange side effects of immortality, her cells died so rarely that her hair hardly grew. She'd cut the long tresses into a bob in the 1920s, and it had remained short ever since.
Selene DiSilva is the name Artemis the Huntress is using at the moment, while her twin brother Apollo goes by Paul Solson. Instead of living together, though, in this story the Olympians have gone their separate ways, only gravitating to Manhattan over the centuries because it's a place that naturally resonates with immortals. And the Olympians continue to be just as selfish and petty as the ancients pictured, so it's a monumental task for Artemis aka Selene, our main character, to get them to cooperate on anything, let alone stopping a secret group that's resurrecting the Eleusinian Mysteries as a cult with human sacrifices.

Enter Theodore Schulz, or Theo, a mild-mannered professor of Greek in the classics department at Columbia University (crown jewel of the Upper West Side at 116th & Broadway). Theo is a very likable academic and his warm personality lets him get away with Info Dump Murder; it's best to take the version of Greek mythology that Theo serves up without quibbling as scholars do, because within the ordinary mystery of who's killing the victims there's a deeper mystery. Why would one of the most important semi-secret rituals of the ancient world be changed into a death cult using hidden places around Manhattan to replicate the stations of the ten-day ritual in ancient Attica?

Theo leads us into this deeper investigation as Selene--once Artemis the Huntress, six feet tall and still armed with a golden bow--charges ahead. What they have in common is Helen, the first victim of the gruesome new ritual--a colleague of Theo's at Columbia and privately a genuine worshiper of Artemis, to whom she prayed on her last breath. Selene will not stop till she avenges Helen's death, which she believes she could have prevented, but it was the first prayer to her in many centuries. Still, her powers stop fading and begin--just barely--to return.

The hunt is on, and before it's over we'll meet six of the twelve Olympians in their New York guises--Apollo, Artemis, Demeter, Dionysus, Hephaestus, and Hermes (yes, he runs a messenger service)--along with other immortals like Hades and Persephone, holding court underneath City Hall. And there's the gentle goddess Leto, mother of Apollo and Artemis, whose immortality runs out at last. There is great love and sadness blended into this gripping story.

As someone who never finished that doctoral thesis on a certain set of Ancient Greek verbs, I'm happy to report success in suspending my disbelief on language issues in this book and forgiving a few booboos (get a better editor, Ms. Brodsky!). What hindered me most and brought my rating down to only four stars was the discomfort I had with the relationship between Selene/Artemis and Theo as it progressed. At times there were even hints that this might turn into a (horrors!) romance. Only the sequel will tell if we have to re-think a cornerstone of Ancient Greek religion!
Even so, I really liked this book.
Profile Image for Sana.
1,076 reviews956 followers
August 6, 2017
'For the Virgin Goddess, mortal men had always fallen into two categories: those to be punished and those to be ignored.'

This was engaging and fun! Like what better main character to have in a murder mystery than the Greek goddess Artemis herself, currently goes by the name of Selene, who spends her days and nights as a vigilante hunting abusive men? That part of the book is definitely the one that interested me the most. Yet there's also Theo who, despite being the source of much of the interesting bits about the Greek gods and goddesses as a classicist, is otherwise just there. And annoying.

Even still, Selene and Theo worked very well as partners in hunting the murder cult and most of their interactions are great:

Then he stepped back from the cabinet and folded his arms, staring at it. 'Are you trying to glare it into submission?' Selene asked. Theo pushed his glasses a little farther up his nose. 'That’s more your style. I’m thinking.'

Theo waved his hands in a placating gesture. 'Hey, Bruce Banner! No need to Hulk out. You’re going to get us kicked out.' After a last scowl at the security guard, Selene backed off. 'You don’t need to defend me, you know,' he added as they hurried toward the exhibit halls.
'Because you’re doing such a fine job of it yourself?'

'I’m great at sensing people’s emotions.'
'Oh? Then why can’t you tell you're pissing me off?'

So sure, he’s a nerdy professor who wears glasses and has a PhD but he’s also stupid and even admits that he is stupid which only makes him even more of a very unrealistic love interest. It’s just strange because this is who interests Artemis after 2,000 years of none? As much as I'd usually advocate for such a love interest as opposed to some alpha male nope, just can't picture it. Also, nothing ever seems to really faze him much which is clearly more for the convenience of the plot than anything else. So yeah, not a fan. Oh and the whole thing takes place in the span of ten days so like what even.

The part I enjoyed most however, is how Brodsky clearly intended to merge the patriarchal roots of Artemis as a celibate, virgin huntress goddess with Selene who shouldn’t have to confine to those boundaries any longer. She struggles with the two contrasting aspects of her identity throughout the book which is so interesting to read about. So even though she is a feminist, she isn’t one in every sense of the word as long as she adheres to the role that was thrust upon her and deemed wholly incompatible with sexuality, motherhood and what not. I will say that I would have vastly preferred it if Selene simply identified as asexual. Seeing how wary she is of men and have so many negative comments to make about them throughout the book, it'd have made complete sense rather than have her suddenly develop lust. Case in point: 'Selene clearly needed no one and nothing but a cause to fight for.'

Moving on, The Immortals strongly reminded me of Gaiman’s American Gods since both the books make use of a similar premise of fading Greek gods in a modern-day setting. That however, is the only similarity because everything happening in The Immortals is central to a crazed serial killer cult on the loose and clearly shows just how much research went into the elaborate murders. I also really liked the Manhattan setting; Brodsky definitely have a talent for writing compelling imagery.

Even though I figured out the murderers early on, that didn't really affect my enjoyment of the book as I was having fun with all the mythology in it. Some parts of the ending are completely lacking in stakes, though since it's all tied up so neatly. There are loads of amusing pop culture references and the dynamic between Artemis, Apollo (twin siblings FTW) and their mother, Leto, is great. I think Brodsky did a compelling job of portraying the Greek gods in their mortal forms; I had no trouble getting on board with it all especially the characterization of Selene as Artemis. The first book also nicely set up the second one. I just wish I could have been spared the cheesy and sometimes awkward romance.
Profile Image for All Things Urban Fantasy.
1,921 reviews611 followers
February 22, 2016
Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.

For somebody who loves stories with gods and goddesses, THE IMMORTALS description put it right up my alley! While a bit darker than I imagined from the original description I read of the book, THE IMMORTALS is an ambitious debut that manages to pull the Greek gods and goddesses into our modern age in a very unique way.

While I would definitely characterize THE IMMORTALS as urban fantasy, I would also say this one leans strongly toward the mystery genre. From the moment Selene discovers the dead body, she's on a quest to figure out answers. This does not make it any less enjoyable, but it was more than I expected. At times, it almost felt like a cop show - complete with frequent trips to the police station.

Selene is an interesting heroine. I wouldn't say she's your typical urban fantasy heroine, perfect at everything she tries, but she definitely has her brand of powers. Her memories make for amusing tangents and her interactions with the other gods and goddesses show a very interesting picture of what ancient gods might look like in a modern day setting. Theo is a perfect counterpart to Selene - seemingly the bumbling professor who tags along, bringing a unique point of view to the case.

Overall, THE IMMORTALS is a super interesting premise and very satisfying mystery (I didn't even correctly predict the resolution!). This is definitely one for the Greek mythology fans, and those of mysteries.

Sexual content: Kissing, references to sex
Profile Image for Gary.
167 reviews67 followers
March 21, 2016
One of the best books I've read in a very long time five stars all the way
Profile Image for Robert Case.
Author 5 books49 followers
November 29, 2017
Good versus evil on the streets of Manhattan and once again the Gods of Olympus are taking sides. The plot is engaging, the characters interesting, and the author offers some interesting insights into the drawbacks of immortality. If you enjoy reinterpretations of ancient myth, this book is worthwhile.
The audio version was professional quality.
27 reviews7 followers
January 29, 2017
The Immortals is a debut novel about Greek gods living in the modern day. Selene DaSilva is actually Artemis and now lives in New York City where she spends her time hunting down men who prey on women. When she finds a woman dead by the river, slain in a ritualistic fashion, she suspects that someone is emulating ancient Greek cult practices- but to what purpose? She meets a classics professor who has ties to the slain woman, and together the two of them investigate the murder- and uncover a plot that stretches back thousands of years.

I wanted to like this book, from the cover to the premise everything about it appealed to me- but initially I was a little underwhelmed. I had trouble relating to Selene, she came across as aloof and unknowable- and that may have been intentional, as she is a Greek goddess who has been alive for millenia, her powers slowly fading as mankind no longer worships her. But I just had trouble with it, it wasn't clicking for me- it kept her remote and it just seemed incongruous with the modern world.

However, this book gets better as it goes, and I'm glad I stuck with it- the last quarter of the book is amazing and really hums. There were a couple of "yea, that's what I'm talking about" moments towards the end. It took me a while to get into it, but once I did it was worth it. The characters are well drawn for the most part- Theo the classics professor is a man who knows his Greek myth, but little does he know that the woman he's falling in love with is an actual Greek goddess.

The supporting cast are good too, especially the other gods and goddesses who show up. There's one in particular who steals the show. The concept of gods drawing power from their worshipers is taken in interesting directions, and Selene is faced with a dilemma- how far will she go to keep her immortality? I did make a connection as to the bad guy early in the story but that didn't really affect my enjoyment of the story.

Another thing I'd like to praise are the real life locations. The author knows NYC and there are lots of scenes set in abandoned subway or little known Central Park locations. This adds a lot of heft to the story and context. All in all this was a good story and I'm glad I stuck with it and I look forward to revisiting these characters again.
Profile Image for Vanessa.
641 reviews89 followers
August 4, 2020
About all I can handle is light reading these days, and this little confection about present day Olympian deities has been on my radar for a while now. I wasn’t looking for anything deep, there’s a female ass-kicking protagonist, there’s geeky Greek mythology stuff.

How did it go so wrong?

Melodrama aside (it’s mythology, it’s encouraged!), this wasn’t bad per se. It just wasn’t engaging. The main character, Selene, is the latest alias of Artemis, Greek goddess of the hunt, avenger of crimes against women, et cetera et cetera. Selene and her kind-those that are left—have been contemplating the slow decline of their powers and the possible end of their immortality for decades. No longer able to calm the seas to punish Agamemnon or turn her dead boyfriend into a constellation, Selene makes a living working as a PI who helps battered women in New York City.

Until a woman’s ritual murder starts a chain of events that seems to revive Selene’s powers. Also, she meets a boy. I’ve pretty much told you all you need to know, 400+ pages reduced to 2 sentences.

Here’s the thing: Selene/Artemis is pretty boring for a Greek deity. And, as the kids would say, thirsty. And she makes a big deal about being chaste (like, you are going to hear about it) so how’d she pull this virginity thing off for the past few millennia? And while the author tries to give her love interest a quirky personality, he’s one dimensional too. (And on the list of things no one should say: “Holy Roman Empire!” Dude, no.)

Their banter is meant to be witty, but it’s mildly interesting at best. They don’t feel like fully-realized people—something true of all mortals and immortals on this quest. Others on this site have gone into much more and better analysis of this than me, and, honestly, this book isn’t worth it.

One character mocks the original Clash of the Titans in one throw-away line, but I’d much prefer watching that instead. There are, for now, three books in this series but I’m done. I did enjoy all the mythology Googling the book made me do, though.
Profile Image for Amy Braun.
Author 37 books346 followers
February 16, 2017
Really, really enjoyed this book. I love all things relating to the Greek myths, and it was a joy to see such an interesting take on them and how they would adapt to modern life. Which is to say, with very mixed results. I liked how true the gods stayed to their natures and how the author clearly did her research to respect ancient traditions. The story was compelling and surprising, especially since I thought I had it figured out a couple times. Selene is a great, strong character who I enjoyed reading as she struggled with her past and her present. The tale of Artemis and Orion is one of my favourites so I was very glad to see that included as well in a major way. Theo is absolutely adorable. Smart, charming, and carrying a surprise to his own story. I also couldn't get enough of Dennis and Dash, I gotta say. At times the story was slow and it seemed a little dragged out, and I thought the ending would be more climactic, but those are observations, not complaints. I really truly enjoyed this book since it's been the most enjoyable mystery I've read in a while, and I can't wait for it to continue.
Profile Image for Lauren Stoolfire.
3,475 reviews259 followers
August 21, 2018
That was awesome! If you're a fan of the Percy Jackson series, I have a feeling you'll love this series opener.
Profile Image for Maria.
533 reviews41 followers
January 10, 2020
в общем, вполне захватывающий детектив с элементами древнегреческой драмы. её, впрочем, могло бы быть и поменьше, особенно в конце - все эти внутренние метания и страдания олимпийских богов показаись мне несколько не к месту. еще более не к месту - любовная линия, по-моему, она прямо серьезно out of character здесь, в конце концов, артемида - не афродита. а в остальном - такой перси джексон для взрослых, с прогулками вдоль гудзона и расчлененкой
Profile Image for Sara.
Author 2 books52 followers
April 26, 2016
Actual Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Greek mythology meets NYC murder mystery in The Immortals, the first book in Jordanna Max Brodsky's Olympus Bound series. Selene DiSilva, who was once the goddess Artemis, works and lives in Manhattan as a private investigator in crimes against women. One night, she finds the body of a young woman, grossly mutilated and crowned with laurel - all indicators of an ancient cult ritual. Enraged, Selene vows to bring the killer to justice and finds an unlikely associate in the victim's former colleague, classics professor Theo Schultz. But as the rituals continue and grow more horrifying, Selene and Theo discovery they might be in over their heads - and the outcome of the killings could spell disaster for them both.

The Immortals was another book I'd heard through the "SF&F book blog grapevine," and I'm thrilled I paid attention to the buzz it's received. It's a fantastic balance of action and academia that's smartly paced, lightly romantic, and unexpectedly funny at times. The world-building focuses on how Greek gods and goddesses function in today's world; and Brodsky's reimaginings were fascinating, layered, and accurately rendered. Sometimes the level of scholarly detail bogs things down, but the story and writing quickly engrosses you again.

But what do I love most about The Immortals? The characters! My favorites are the two protagonists: Selene for her overall arc, the choices she makes, and her general bad-assery; and Theo for his delightful mix of integrity, scholarly pretentiousness, and witty charm. (Hermes and Dionysus are also given HILARIOUS modern-day portrayals!) Combine this with all of the pluses mentioned earlier - and, well, maybe it's no surprise that I read the last 150 or so pages in one sitting. This is one of those rare stories that engages the intellect as well as the heart and pulse. Now I can't wait for next year's sequel Winter of the Gods!
Profile Image for Lyss.
65 reviews9 followers
March 19, 2018
This was an excellent debut novel. The concept Brodsky took with the Greek deities was fascinating. I had not thought about the gods' lives in the way she presented it, but now I can see it. I loved Theo's knowledge and fascination with the ancient world. Many times I wanted to comfort him as he dealt with death and the mystery of the murder. The Elusianian Mysteries are something I'm pretty sure were mentioned in my Classics classes in college, but since it was my minor I didn't have all the classes the majors would. Needless to say, Brodsky introducing me (or reintroducing) to them has me wanting to head to Google and spend some time self educating.

The climactic scene at the end was...well, bad ass in the way it played out in my head. I'm really looking forward to the further adventures of Selene and Theo. I want to see how far this series goes. I may also find myself brushing up on my Greek myths.
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