Rating: 3.0/5.0 stars
Main Takeaway: An interesting premise and an enjoyable read, but it doesn’t quite live up to expectations.
If you’re in the bookstagram sphere, The Immortalists has probably been on your radar for a couple months, like it has mine. I’ve seen countless posts from book-nuts worldwide raving about this book, falling in love with the characters, and getting wrapped up in the story. So this month I decided to finally dive into Instagram’s most popular current read.
In the year 1969, four siblings – Varya, Daniel, Klara, and Simon – visit a local gypsy woman who is reputed to be able to tell the exact date of anyone’s death. In the decades that follow, the four siblings drift apart and back together again, dealing with the consequences and the probabilities of their supposed fates. In The Immortalists, Chloe Benjamin explores whether we have the power to control our fates.
Naturally, I had high expectations for The Immortalists. But with any book that is hyped up, I read with a healthy dose of skepticism, and this book ultimately fell short of my expectations. That being said, it was still an enjoyable read.
My main problem with this book was the lack of continuity between the individual stories. The novel is divided into four parts, each following the life of one of the four siblings. This first two sections – Simon and Klara’s – felt like complementary stories with a great deal of continuity and developing themes. However the second two sections felt unrelated in a lot of ways; if it were not for the occasional mention of the other siblings, the reader could really forget that the second two stories were related to the first two.
My second problem with the book was that I felt it lacked closure. The author addresses huge questions about fate and love and life, and at the end it seems like she tries to pull it together into a message, but that message is jumbled, scattered, disjointed. The lack of an answer (I don’t want to explain exactly what the answer would be about, since it would spoil parts of the story!) leaves the author’s message incomplete and leaves the reader with a series of unsolved mysteries.
That being said, I enjoyed the premise of the story and the first half of the book immensely. The Immortalists is a quick read, with some enchanting characters, but it ultimately left me with more questions than answers. I’ll be attending a book talk with the author on March 9th, and I am interested to hear her explanations of the plot, so stay tuned for another post on The Immortalists soon!