Note: I received a free copy of this book from Online Book Club in exchange for an honest review. You can check out both the novel and other reviews here.
Named Onlinebookclub.org‘s February Book of the Month, The Diary of an Immortal is a fast-paced adventure complete with romance, horror, and the perfect mix of fantasy and history to make the novel hard to put down.
Our protagonist, Steven, is a young U.S army combat medic serving in WWII when he accidentally happens across a formula originally designed for Adolf Hitler. An immortality formula. After seeing so much death, caught up in the agonizing questions of why and how death chooses its victims, Steven begins taking the pills and, as a result, develops supernatural abilities. Travelling to New York, he lives as a musician before realizing that his true destiny is far greater than anything he had ever dreamed of. Travelling across the globe to serve the greater good, Steven will be faced with as many horrors as he did in the army. He must attempt to stop a man who threatens to be the next Hitler. But in his attempt to save the world from this fate, what will he be willing to sacrifice? And what will he be left with?
While the novel was unquestionably imperfect, Castello weaved an incredibly telling story, one difficult to tear your eyes away from, and I would most certainly recommend it to my fellow bookworms.
Castello’s poetic use of language enthralled the reader, captivating them into an almost trance-like state. His concept of immortality is one which I have not often seen, and I loved the way it was executed. Do not be fooled. These immortals are not vampires, but they have the capability of as much evil, proving so time and time again throughout the novel. What was perhaps most intriguing was Castello’s choice to change what we know of history and religion. He kept enough details the same to keep the audience grounded, but he made quite magical adjustments that left me wanting to know more! This was a version of history that felt so fantastic, yet something still very believable.
While the details were beautiful, I found wanting more depth in Steven, particularly in regards to why he continued to take the formula for so long. The ending of the story felt a little rushed to me, and while I loved Castello’s build-up, the finale fell slightly and unexpectedly flat. I also thought that while some of the horrors felt realistic and necessary to the plot, others were simply for dramatic effect, and could have easily been written out.
I had my problems with the book, and as you can see, there are things I would have changed. But the ideas that Castello brought to light were gorgeously crafted. And if not for the last few pages of the novel, which left me feeling unsatisfied and a little disappointed, my rating of this book would be a solid 4/5 stars. But, as such, I’ll be rating it 3/5. However, please don’t mistake me. The poetic nature of the novel makes the ending worth it, and I definitely would recommend it to anyone looking for the perfect combination of history and fiction.
As always, thanks for reading! And be sure to check out other reviews and next month’s Book of the Month itself at Online Book Club, here!