“The Immortalists” by Chloe Benjamin

Immortalists

asteriaiconWe all know the saying ‘you can’t judge a book by its cover’, but let’s be honest, a good cover is what really grabs your attention, enticing you to read the book. This cover is pretty AF! The book was peppered all over my Instagram feed, and I just had to read it!

What would you do if you knew the exact date you were going to die? How would this information affect your decisions, and shape your life? These questions are really at the heart of this book.

The story follows the four Gold children. In New York City in 1969, the children go to see a fortune teller who tells each of them the exact date they are going to die. They each hold these dates as a tightly guarded secret, until the day their father dies, and everything starts to fall apart.

Simon, the youngest sibling, heads to San Francisco, looking for love and living the fullest life he possibly can. Klara moves to San Francisco as well, and eventually finds herself in Las Vegas, struggling to make it by as a magician. Daniel becomes an unsatisfied military physician, and Varya, the oldest, is a lonely researcher. Each one’s path in life was determined as a result of what the fortune teller had told them that fateful day.

I love love love the cover of this book!! I am a fall fan, and the leaves just speak to me. I adore the little gold dots that sparkle like stars! Honestly, the cover was the best part of the book for me.  I enjoyed Simon’s story the most. It was predictable, but not in an annoying and frustrating way. I knew what was going to happen, but I still took the journey with him to its sad conclusion. I loved the relationship between Simon and Klara; it was probably the best relationship in the entire novel. But aside from Simon, I found Klara’s story rather depressing, David’s farfetched, and Varya’s downright boring. I was so invested in Simon, it was sad to be so indifferent by the time I got to Varya’s story. I did appreciate the very ending with Ruby, Klara’s daughter, paying tribute to her family’s history, but choosing her own path, but not enough to save the whole book.

There were aspects I really liked about the stories. I felt Simon’s story really captured what it must have been like in the 1980’s in San Francisco; the confusion and fear that people must have felt. I appreciated the irony in David’s work in the military, determining if someone was fit enough to withstand going to war. I thought Varya’s anti-aging research was fascinating, and could think of so many possible uses for it in the future, yet it was frustrating that the story veered so far from this.

The book started so strong but I felt it just trickled out. I found the characters rather unlikeable and selfish, blaming everyone but themselves for their problems, with the exception of Simon. Overall, I am happy I borrowed this from the library and didn’t spend the money to buy it, beautiful cover or not. Maybe I was expecting so much more from the book since I had seen it everywhere and everyone seemed to enjoy it, but for me it just didn’t live up to the hype.

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