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Sundays are for Book Reviews: The Immortalists

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THE IMMORTALISTS by CHLOE BENJAMIN

*My weekly Sundays are for reading column is being switched to Sundays are for Book Reviews. Hope everyone enjoys*

This book was an emotional journey. The story sets up your expectations in a certain way and then completely turns them on their head. While there are a couple of things I think could have been better, this is for sure a 5 star novel.

There aren’t necessarily spoilers ahead, but if you plan on reading this and don’t want preconceived perceptions going into it, stop now. Otherwise, read on!

One fateful summer, the Gold children hear whispers throughout their neighborhood about a woman who will predict the day you die. Was it a mistake for them to take the bait? Only time will tell. After hearing what the woman has to say to each of them, all five children carry the weight of her words with them in different ways through the rest of their lives. Following each sibling in parts- Simon, Klara, Daniel, and Varya- we see how that one day informed decades of their lives and perhaps stole their innocence too soon.


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My biggest takeaway from this book, other than a lot of sorrow, was the tangible vibrancy of the characters and their familial bond. They are so painfully real that the reader can find themselves in any or all of them; Simon driven by love and fear, Klara by passion and chaos, Daniel by pride and morals, Varya by logic and order. Each of them is wholly unique, yet you can track the through-line of personality traits that characterize them as believable siblings. They all seem to reject that they are in anyway like their siblings, and yet that is one of the many things that tie them together even when they’re apart.

Between beautiful writing, strong commentary on religion and society, surprising turns, unreliable perceptions, deep seeded reflections of the human experience, and a dash of magical realism, this book is electrically alive.

But what are those points of contention, you ask? What is it that put me off of this book just a little bit? Well, a couple elements could have been more fleshed out to round out the themes and the connection between the siblings.

There is knowledge the reader and only one other character have throughout that the other characters never learn. I believe it would have better suited the story for them to know that crucial bit of information as to influence the sibling’s choices as the story went on. Yet, I can acknowledge that perhaps it is more realistic to leave that information unknown to the other siblings because we don’t always get the answers we seek in life.

The other criticism I have is the novel could have ended on a stronger sentiment than it did, seeing as the book is riddled with strong sentiments about life and self-reflection. It was still an impactful ending, but it left me wanting just a little bit more. Something that would leave me lingering on the end of that book long after it was closed.

Despite these small issues and details, this novel captivated my interest and left me contemplating life, death, fate, and how family means more than past grudges and mistakes. It is well worth picking up!

This review can also be found on my Goodreads page.
As well as on my Chapter_Chasers Instagram page!

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