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Archive: Other Books > The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin -- 5 stars

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Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
5 stars

If you could know the date that you will die, would you find out? Would it change how you live your life?

The Gold siblings face this question when, at the tender ages of 7, 9, 11, and 13, Simon, Klara, Daniel, and Varya visit a gypsy who tells each of them the exact date of their death. We follow each sibling as they make decisions based on this knowledge, even when they are not sure or don't even believe that the gypsy was correct.

I really enjoyed this book. I love books "like this" even though I don't know exactly how to define what "like this" is. I liked the overarching question of whether the gypsy could actually see the future or, if knowing the date they would die, each sibling made choices that made that prophesy come true.

This was not a happy story. In general, the Gold's led fairly tragic lives. And, yet, I wanted to learn more about them. I sat on the edge of my seat waiting to learn if they would die on the fated day. I wondered which sibling's response mine would resemble.

Holding me back from a "favorite" rating is two things. First, I swear the timeline didn't line up properly and I was so distracted trying to make the ages work out from when they first saw the gypsy in 1969 that it gave me a headache. Secondly, Varya's story was weird. All of the stories were odd, as in they made fairly unconventional life choices or found themselves in difficult circumstances, but the other siblings stories has an air of intrigue or magic to them. Varya's was just a weird concept. And I probably liked the concept more than other readers might because she was a research scientist, but it kind of dulled that part of the book for me.

Overall, a great read and a strong contender for my Top 10 of the year, though it is not a lock.


message 2: by Meli (new) - added it

Meli (melihooker) | 3684 comments On my TBR! I think I will read this next. Glad to hear more good things about this one.


Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments I will also add for Meli, or anyone else who may be considering the audiobook, that I was not a huge fan of the narrators. The main four characters (the siblings) were fine, not great, but the voice of their mother was one of the most grating voices I have ever heard a narrator do.

Luckily, the mom is not a central character, but she was in there enough to make my skin crawl occasionally.


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KateNZ | 2674 comments Sounds fascinating! The TBR groweth again ...


message 5: by Meli (new) - added it

Meli (melihooker) | 3684 comments I have the physical book so won't be listening, but I appreciate that feedback. That's what I find most dicey about an audio... a narrator can make or break it.


JoLene (trvl2mtns) | 1532 comments Wow, you had a much better reaction to this one that I did. The concept was super interesting, but I didn’t ever get invested in any of the characters. These days, I’m having a harder time reading about people that I don’t really like, unless there is a compelling reason to not like them. I did like some of the family dynamics and actually enjoyed the tidbits of Jewish history.


Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments I didn’t really find any of the characters flat out unlikeable, though they definitely were not loveable! They made choices I would not have and they each had personality traits that were frustrating (heck, I have personality traits I find frustrating! Lol) but I just really found their struggles to be complex and interesting.


Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments Meli, I have found that I am tolerant of more and more in narrators, but that voice for the mother was just too much. Definitely go with the print version on this one!


Joy D | 4650 comments Nice review, Nicole, thanks!

I thought this book had a great premise, and then goes on to show how a single event can have far-reaching psychological repercussions. It also explores how much of what one believes to be true leads to a self-fulfilling prophesy. Very thought-provoking for me.

I've only recently started listening to books on my long car trips, and definitely agree that the narrator can make a big difference on how much I enjoy it.


Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments That is the aspect I really liked too! Did this gypsy actually predict their deaths or was the mere suggestion enough to make the person unknowingly act in ways that would lead to their death.


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Love your review. I've seen this book around but have now added it to my TBR. I can handle tragedy but the timeline may drive me a little mad. But the story seems worth reading for me.


Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments Rachel wrote: "Love your review. I've seen this book around but have now added it to my TBR. I can handle tragedy but the timeline may drive me a little mad. But the story seems worth reading for me."

I really think what happened with the timeline is that it was not super clear how old the kids were when the story started in 1969. Either that, or I just missed it, and so the rest of the storyline took a long time to fall into place.

So, my advice, is to just pay better attention than I did to the beginning part! lol


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

Nicole R wrote: "Rachel wrote: "Love your review. I've seen this book around but have now added it to my TBR. I can handle tragedy but the timeline may drive me a little mad. But the story seems worth reading for m..."

Great advice. Thank you!


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