Last week I had the pleasure of reading a fun and interesting book by the publishers of the break-away success Fifty Shades of Grey. Immortal by Gene Doucette got a recent re-issue to coincide with the release of the second book in the series, Hellenic Immortal. I snagged a digital copy, and was pleasantly surprised by the depth and heart of the main character, Adam, a man who has lived for millennia.
Adam spends his life drinking, mostly. Yes, he does other things from time to time, but his favorite thing to do, and the thing that is often at the front of his mind, is to throw back a few (or quite a few) in whatever city or town he happens to be living in at the moment.
But Adam isn’t your typical early-30’s dude who happens to like his alcoholic beverages. He’s immortal. His earliest memory is of the cave-man variety, when names were just grunts and the most important thing in a man’s day was not getting mauled by the live meat they were hunting. But times have changed, and Adam (as he’s going by at the moment) has adapted remarkably well. Take a journey with him through his life as he makes new friends, visits with some (unusual) old ones, and tries to find the elusive woman with the piercing blue eyes- someone who is most likely an immortal like him, the only other of his kind he’s ever known of.
The blurb for this book gave me the impression it was going to be lighter and funnier than it actually was. Don’t get me wrong though, this is a good thing, because Adam was such an interesting character with way more depth and personality than I was expecting. Since he’s the driving force of the book, this made reading even more pleasurable. His musings on situations in his past were fascinating, and the author portrays various events in history with a humorous, interesting new voice.
I also really enjoyed how the supernatural elements were handled. There’s no actual magic in the world, just various beings that have a magical stigma to them. Like Adam. He can be killed like any other man. He just happens to not age and is immune to sickness, so as long as he’s careful, he won’t die. But it can happen. There are also other immortal creatures in the story — sexy vampires, scary-ass demons, succubae and the like — but they are presented like one would present a newly discovered race of people, not some crazy magical creature. It was a nice change of pace, with some surprisingly unique traits applied to these overly-familiar faces.
This is a great book for those who like touches of fantasy mixed with awesome history and dark humor. The plot was intriguing and had me guessing the whole time, but it’s the main character Adam who really steals the show. I only have one recommendation: drink and read carefully!
Immortal hit shelves on March 7th, 2012