Monday, July 19, 2010

Book Review of The Immortal by Christopher Pike

Becoming mature through Immortality
Title: The Immortal

Author: Christopher Pike

ISBN: 0-671-74510-7

Publisher: Archway Paperback

Type of Book: Young adult although anyone can enjoy it, historical, modern, Greece, Greek myths, fantasy

Year it was published: July 1993

Josie is on vacation in Greece with her father, his new girlfriend, and her best friend. While visiting the sacred island of Delos, she accidentally stumbles upon an artifact-a tiny statue of a Goddess. Immediately Josie is enchanted by the statue and she takes it with her when she leaves the island.
Then the trouble starts. A guy takes her for a boat ride and she is almost killed. Then the image of the Goddess begins to haunt her dream. The goddess wants something from Josie that she doesn’t want to give.
The immortal wants to be mortal.
The Goddess wants Josie’s life.

Characters: The characters within this book are round, in particular the main character Josie Goodwin. She is best described as adventurous and fearless. In beginning, despite the instance of having a bad heart, she still goes out snorkeling. "We had been snorkeling for close to an hour when I suddenly felt a pain in my chest...Ten months earlier, at the end of the previous summer, I'd had a bout with pericarditis." (24-25) She also has an even temper and happens to be resourceful. In the same instance, this is how she tries to take care of the problem by considering her options and then deciding  by continuing to swim towards the shore despite the heart trouble. She is also protective of her boyfriend Tom. Her negative traits is that she cares too much about her pleasure at times and seems to enjoy getting her friend's crushes to become her boyfriends.

Theme: The themes of the book are a bit on the profound side and should be interesting to ponder and think about. One theme is if its possible to mature and grow up while being immortal. Or is the only possible way to grow up is to become mortal? Oftentimes when my friend and I discuss such subjects, and he tells me about happiness on heaven I cannot help but ponder whether the fickle human nature will make it possible for human beings to be happy. The quote towards the end of the book is very profound in my view: "He answered my question with a question. 'What is wrong with paradise, Sryope?' I thought of the gods of Mt. Olympus and many wrongs came to my mind: the sloth, the jealousy, the pettiness. But one problem was at the root of them all. 'No one grows there,' I said." (212) One other theme that was used is how the soul is deathless and remembers. I will not give the main example but instead will use the one where Pascal discusses this boy he looked after: "'His name is Samuel,'...'Paralyzed-waist down. Car accident, very sad. But Samuel can use hands. He start to paint when he got to the school after hospital...He get better and better, every day...The man comes. He is old...The man sits, he watches. We showed Samuel's other pictures, but teacher not believe Samuel paint them. He says, boy is too little to be so good...He says Samuel is a master...But Samuel's mother comes. She says to the teacher, my son never painted before the accident.'... 'Something did change in Samuel when he was in his accident,' Tom said quickly, almost as if in explanation. 'I don't think medical science can explain it. It's almost as if, with the death of portions of his spinal cord, certain parts of his brain woke up.'" (83-85)

Plot: The plot was handled in an interesting way, and like in other novels, Christopher Pike makes sure to tie all the loose ends before finishing the novel. It starts out with the family vacationing to Greece and then quickly moves in to the meat of the story, along with using flashbacks and whatnot. It ends in a satisfying way, (although there is hunger for a sequel of sorts as with all his novels,) but still an average reader should find it interesting. 

Author Information: Christopher Pike wrote 30+ novels mainly for young adults, the most famous or well known one is The Last Vampire Saga, Final Friends and Remember Me, and his real name is Kevin McFadden. One of his books, Fall Into Darkness was created into a movie. Unfortunately he doesn’t have a website, but there is a fan club that is devoted to him. ( )

Opinion: The summary doesn't match what is inside the book to be honest. To be honest I enjoyed the book but it is not Pike's best. For one reason or another though, it still holds place in my heart and from time to time I go back and read it again. Perhaps again there is a similar atmosphere of Whisper of Death within, probably that might draw me closer or cause me to like it, or maybe its the use of Greek Mythology that causes me to like it somewhat. But still it is an average Christopher Pike book that should appeal to Pike fans.

3 out 5

(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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