Immortal is a historical fiction novel that is rich in language and detail. It takes place in Florence during the Italian Renaissance. Throughout the novel we encounter actual historical people like Leonardo da Vinci, the Medicis and so on. In addition we are taken through historical events such as The Inquisition and The Black Death.
This isn’t an easy book to read-it is quite dark really. In the beginning we are introduced to the main character, Luca Bastardo, who had been abandoned as a young boy. He survives on the street, scrounging up food, begging and sleeping under bridges. One fateful day he is kidnapped by Silvano and introduced to a life as a child prostitute in a brothel. This was a very hard part of the novel for me to read-just the thought of the horrors Luca suffered there was enough to almost make me turn away from the book. I moved quickly through this part and a few shorter ones like it. Finally Luca escapes the brothel and ends up meeting a wonderful Jewish man who takes him in and teaches him to be a physico-a doctor. He also feels his first taste of what love and a normal sexual relationship can be with Rachel, the physico’s daughter. At this time also Luca is introduced to alchemy and healing and seeing into his future.
This novel is full of supernatural elements and of course immortality. Luca’s life spans over 180 years. From the beginning we know that Luca will come to a bad end but the book itself is his journey through all of these years. He is looking for the meaning to his life-why was he abandoned, who his parents were or are and why does he possess an ageless beauty. While the world and people around him are aging, Luca is staying the same. He is also looking for his one true love; the one promised him in a vision when he chose this one true love over an endless life. Finally through all the darknesss Luca finally meets Maddelena, his true love and he has several years of happiness. However, as seems to happen in Luca’s life, this comes to a bad end too.
I liked Luca’s character, I was drawn to him from the beginning and through all of his hardships in life. I enjoyed meeting all the people he met, famous or not. Hearing about the art and the history of Florence was enjoyable and I loved the supernatural elements. The sections on alchemy dragged on and I wasn’t too keen on those. I think the book wrapped up in the end in a way that left us satisfied.
Travelling this journey with Luca was an interesting adventure. I did like the book except for the brothel part which I could have done without. I think the book was longer than it needed to be but for the most part a good book. There is talk of a sequel to Immortal and I would be curious to read it.
You can visit the author’s website here and thanks to The Literate Housewife Review and her new online reading group for this read.
You can see more reviews of this novel at these lovely blogs:
Breeni Books says
I’ve still got this one on TBR. I have got to make time for it! Your review is prompting me to make it a priority. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
J. Kaye Oldner says
Great-Great-Great review. 🙂
Thanks Breeni & J.Kaye 🙂
I just read another review of this one yesterday–the premise sounds really fascinating! Florence is one of my favorite cities.
Shana @ Literarily says
Dar, what a beautifully written review!
I think I posted this somewhere else and I’m sure we’ll talk about it in Jennifer’s discussion group, but as difficult as the brothel scenes were, I think Slatton’s writing shone most brightly there.
I completely agree. This book could definitely have been 50 pages shorter, maybe even 100.
This one is on my shelf as we speak. Maybe I can get to it someday. . . 🙂
I enjoyed hearing about the art and history as well – it sent me scurrying to wikipedia more than once – but I was less impressed by the ending – I thought it felt rushed. Some of the alchemy sections could easily have been cut to give the ending a little more time to develop naturally.
great review. definitely being added to the ever growing list.
Trish, check out my giveaway for this book.
Shana, thank you. I’m going to go read your review now. I’m sure I starred it so I wouldn’t forget. Yes, I liked her writing, not the subject matter all the time. I would read another by her.
Lezlie 🙂 I can imagine your shelf looks like mine. lol.
fyrefly, I agree, the ending was rushed but at least it didn’t leave you wondering what happened. It tied up loose ends. The alchemy sections left me bored silly.
Veronica, your comment popped in after I sent mine. Thanks-I’ve got a giveaway going for this book right now.
This sounds very interesting. The story sounds like it is worth the effort of making it through some of the parts that might be a little slow. Although alchemy sounds interesting to me so I’m slightly disappointed to hear I might not find it so in this case. All in all it’s still one I’m looking forward to reading.
Becca, it is worth reading and you never know, you might find the alchemy parts interesting.
Thanks for this review. I have been thinking about buying this book or at least looking for it at the library. I keep looking for great books set in italy since I was there this summer. 🙂
Out of curiosity–when you receive a book do you ask for another to give away or do they offer or do you give away your copy? I like this idea, but I’m never sure how to approach these types of things…
What a nicely written review. I always appreciate a good head-up when a book is going to require some concentration. On the wishlist it goes!
I must be losing my mind. I thought I commmented on this review already but then checked again because of the giveaway you posted and I see that I did not!
With age comes memory loss. LOL.
I have a hard time dealing with anything that has to do with child abuse. I would be like you…skipping over parts here and there. However, the book sounds fascintating.
I agree with Trish, the premise is fascinating. It sounds like an interesting novel, even if some aspects of it could have been better.
Mari, you lucky lady getting to go to Italy. That must have been a wonderful trip.
Hi Trish, I didn’t for this one but on others I have. If they ask me to review something I’ll just ask if they have another copy to spare for a giveaway. Most are more than happy to do so.
Michele, thanks and it’s a good one for the list.
Ti-it’s definitely age-happens to me all the time. lol. And you know Ti, that worked fine-breezing through the parts I didn’t want to really read and concentrating on the ones I did.
Nymeth, my favorite part is the supernatural stuff.
Ladies, if you want to enter for the giveaway make sure you leave a comment there too. Thanks!
I love reading historical fiction, and Italy in the Renaissance! WOOHOO! I cannot wait to read this book.
Serena, you’d probably really enjoy the historical aspect of this book then.
Great review, Dar! I agree with it being too long, but for me the deal with Leonardo was killing me. That brings to mind a great topic for the book club – best parts and worst parts. I know that the brothel will be high on many people’s lists. Great review!
I keep bumping into this book everywhere I go. Well, except for the bookstore, which is probably a good thing, otherwise I would have bought it!
Jennifer, I think this book will spark a lot of good discussion. The brothel scenes I’m sure will be on everyone’s list as worst parts.
Jill, it’s pretty popular right now. Maybe you’ll win the copy and won’t have to buy it. lol.
Great review, Dar! The combination of historical fiction and the supernatural sound fascinating.
Your review just made me want to read the whole book right this moment! cant wait. count me in the give-away.thanks
I enjoyed your review. I love historical fiction and I think books with an immortal character are so much fun. I love to read different ones and compare them. I would love to be entered, thanks!
This sounds like a good book and you wrote a great review for it. I thought the subject was going to be a little different but it’s interesting. Especially the supernatural aspect. This is added to my TBR list as well.
Thanks Janel & Wrighty 🙂 This book does have many elements to it. I loved the supernatural aspect.
Thanks Keyomi & waitmanwillie 🙂
What a really good review, you hit all the elements of the book and left me wanting to read more, thanks.
Anita Yancey says
Great review. A book I would enjoy reading.
Your review is a good take on this book. I like you prepare one for the darkness of the book. Yet, there is light at the end of the tunnel? Please enter my name in your book drawing. Many thanks, Cindi
Ahhh, you lost me at “supernatural events”. That stuff just doesn’t appeal to me. I miss out on so many books (genres!) because of that. 🙁 However, what good is it to read something that I don’t enjoy?
Thanks icetwofire, anita and windycindy-good luck in the contest.
Joy, this definitely isn’t one for you and no, if you don’t like supernatural stuff, then that’s your preference. For you, even if the whole world thinks it’s good, you wouldn’t and that’s ok.
I like dark, supernatural books when they’re done right. Sounds like an interesting read.
Anna, I’m the same. I love the mystical kind of books-I’ve always been drawn to those.
I adore historical fiction and this sounds like historical fiction at its best!
I am so into historical fiction right now that I can’t seem to read enough of it…to bad I wasn’t like this in school! : }
I’d like to read this book and I will keep your heedings in mind!!
Thanks for sharing,
darbyscloset at yahoo dot com
Darby, I’m the same. Once I read a good one I want to keep reading more and more. Hope you get a chance to read this one soon.