Review: The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

4:54 PM

The Immortalists by Chloe Benajmin | Rating: ★★★★★

The publisher was kind enough to send me a digital copy of this novel, after they hosted a giveaway. This does not effect my opinion in any way. 

You know when you pick up a book and you can just tell it's going to destroy you? That's how I felt immediately after reading The Immortalists synopsis. I could just feel that it would be something that would change me just a little bit. Which is, at the end of the day, what I want from good literature. I want it to make me feel, or change just slightly.

I was like, "okay, this book looks gorgeous but I'm pretty sure Chloe Benjamin is about to knock me out with a ton of emotions." so obviously I entered the giveaway almost instantly. When I won, I was actually the terrible person who didn't see that I wont a digital copy of the novel because, somehow, it got sent to my junk folder. So, I ended up buying the novel (something I would have likely done anyways) and held off on reading it. Because, if there's one thing I've learned of The Immortalists, it begs of you to read it in the autumn or winter. It just does.

What I loved most about the novel was its never-ending connection between siblings. It's hard to explain, unless you've already read The Immortalists, but Benjamin portrays it beautifully. These siblings have something that ties them together far more than blood. And it's tense. It's complex.

This tie is the pulse of the novel; leading readers into the knowledge of what may happen next. I did not expect to care for these characters quite like I did, but their own complexities and personalities, the way they each approach their own fate, is highly appealing to me as a reader. Each of the siblings were heart-wrenching in their own right.

The one thing that ties them together, aside from shared blood, is something peculiar and terrifying. When they were younger, they were given a knowledge no kid should ever have: the date of their death. I've seen this trope explored a lot recently--what would you do if you knew the day you would die?--and it's always thought provoking, always unique.

Because: what would you do, if you knew the day you would die? We all would answer it differently. Benjamin portrays this fact incredibly because each of these characters have a different answer to fate and what their lives mean to them; how they will live their lives until their end arrives.

I should warn readers--this novel tackles some heavy topics: HIV/AIDS, suicide, violence and more. It does so gracefully, but a lot of themes in The Immortalists won't be for everyone. From our very first heartbreak in Simon's death to the long-life of Varya, we see these characters from an early age up until their final moments. There's something about this that makes the novels pulse pass through yours.

I'm a crier when it comes to certain stories and this was one of them. I knew it would likely be this emotional when I read the synopsis, but for weeks after putting it down I couldn't stop thinking of each of these characters and their lives. Somehow, within its pages, Simon, Klara, Daniel and Varya became a part of me--and it's indescribable.

What I learned in The Immortalists is that sometimes fate is made by a conscious decision we make. Sometimes it's just written in the stars. Always, it's unclear. This book is impossible to put down and even more impossible to forget.

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