Cover Image: The Immortal City

The Immortal City

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

4 big stars! This is a great urban paranormal romance/mystery novel set in Venice. This starts with a murder then quickly introduces the reader into the concept of magic and underground demons. This was a quick fun read and a great start to this trilogy. The main characters were interesting, likeable and well-developed. Thank you to Netgalley for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an unbiased review.
Was this review helpful?
This review was posted on Goodreads August 21, 2019. I apologize for never posting it here in this feedback section.

This is an urban fantasy set in Venice and featuring immortal magicians. The positives (for some readers) are that it's a fast and easy read with an interesting setting and premise. There was great potential for this story, but the delivery was very disappointing. Since this is a fantasy, I'll break down the review into the categories of Characters, Plot, and World-building. 

Characters: When it comes to the fleshing out of characters, the author was very inconsistent. Some of the characters were well described both physically and personality-wise; however, many of them felt like place holders whose entire characterization was boiled down to a single attribute. <spoiler> The character of Zo had no impact on the story. He was described physically and is an immortal poet... that's all we know. We have an entire character who is an immortal magician and he does nothing but cook. This can be said for almost every supporting character.</spoiler> The characters were also prone to nonsensical actions in order to create moments that the author was determined to present us with regardless of the plot. which brings us to...

Plot: Something that was completely abandoned for the majority of this book. I actually found myself confused about the author's intentions for most of the story. This story felt like the author wanted to write a paranormal romance in a beautiful setting, and just threw in this "plot" as an after thought. The writing in my opinion was quite lazy when it came to this aspect and the inconsistencies killed most of the enjoyment for me. The characters seemed completely removed from this plot for most of the story, and the moments when we came back to it were jarring. <spoiler> We hear nothing about the case that our MC is in Venice to solve for most of the story. She's supposed to be investigating, yet all we hear about is her love of history, the archives, and her romantic interest. Even when she was going undercover at the ball, the plot based sequence was extremely short and sandwiched between longer scenes of her getting dressed and then having sex. </spoiler>

World Building: This part was fairly interesting, but again, lacked in delivery. We find out about magic that seems interesting, but we get to see almost none of it in action. The magic we do see is used for scenes that are so cliched that I was actually mad at the editor for allowing those scenes to pass. <spoiler> She finally decides to take a leap kiss her love interest (she's not 16 BTW but that's where her emotional maturity is in this story), and then goes to bed. Next day she goes to meet with inspector Dandolo to update on the investigation. Alexis is apparently distraught that she left the house, thinking that she was scared off by the kiss and ran away. I'm not kidding. Then he proceeds to use his cello playing magic to make everyone in their magical house feel heartbroken.... I'm getting annoyed again writing about this scene in this review. </spoiler> The history portion related to Atlantis and how the magicians came to be in Venice was well done and I wish the author had spent more time on that portion, and significantly less on the romance and comic relief portions. 

Altogether I feel like this story suffered from a lack of focus and editing. This book reminded me of Twilight and I don't say this as an exaggeration or insult, I mean that many of the scenes felt like they came straight from that playbook. The fact that the plot was so thin and wasn't even resolved in this first installment was disappointing. If you don't have enough plot for a series then write a standalone, don't water it down to stretch it out and present your readers with pages and pages of filler.
Was this review helpful?
Back when I requested a copy of The Immortal City on Netgalley, I was looking for something light and interesting book to read, thinking I’ll be having all the time finishing it before release. Life of course decided to kick my ass instead and a year passed somehow until my schedule cleared up enough to finally get to it. By this point I basically jumped into it blindly, I could not remember the blurb and decided not to look it up so it would be a mystery.

And The Immortal City does start out as a mystery. Modern-day Venice is plagued by a brutal murderer and Inspector Marco Dandolo asks for help from archeologist Dr. Penelope Byrne to help understand the strange symbols left at the scenes. Unlike herself, Penelope gets on the first plane to fly half a world over in hopes to get closer to learning something about Atlantis. Her efforts ridiculed by everyone, her career in ruins, she is unable to give up on finding answers. She knows Atlantis must have existed and a piece of stone tablet might prove it. As well as the murderer roaming free in Venice who uses very similar symbols. What Penelope finds though is a life-threatening danger, unexpected friendship, and new possibilities.

The Immortal City got me hooked pretty early on. I love crime fiction, especially if it’s paired with some fantasy. It starts our more crime fiction and ends up being more fantasy. I was intrigued by the investigation and was a bit disappointed when the focus switched to Penelope and Alex’s relationship. That’s where things have become a bit cliché. Not that it stopped me basically devouring the book. Was it predictable? Yeah. I didn’t really care about the MC, Penelope either, but there was still something in this book that just made me unable to stop reading. I probably read it at the right time and it just clicked with me on some level.

I liked the side-characters, the magicians living with Alexis. Phaedros, Aelia and Zo bring great comedic relief in their own way, while the others, Nereus, Lyca and Galenos are more serious. They balance each other out well. I somehow found Penelope a bit flat as a character among all these colorful, vibrant personalities. Sure, all of them have their problems and hardships, Penelope included, but she kind of felt like a tool in the plot rather than an active participant. Things are happening to her and she is by no means a weak character, just… not interesting enough I guess. It’s hard to explain.

The Immortal City is a fast-paced, decent Fantasy set in the beautiful Venice – of which we get not nearly enough by the way. It might be a perfect read for those who love Mystery books with star-crossed lovers and magic chasing thousands of years old myths. It has a lot going for it and Kuivalainen made Venice alive in this modern-day blood-soaked love story.
Was this review helpful?
I ended up enjoying this story. The combination of history, fast-passed drama, and mystery was enough to keep me engaged.
Was this review helpful?
I didn't expect to enjoy this but I did. Love how it's a cross between The Da Vinci Code and A Discovery of Witches. Looking forward to the next installment!
Was this review helpful?
The beautiful and intricate world built by this author makes the whole reading experience worthwhile. The suspense was there, the character development was great. I was kind of confused at some parts but overall the experience was intriuiging. I just hope that I could have read this earlier. I LOVED the cover.
Was this review helpful?
Dr. Penelope Bryne is ridiculed by the academic community for her quest to find the remnants of Atlantis, but when an ancient and mysterious script is found at a murder site, she flies to Venice determined to help the police before the killer strikes again. Penelope has spent her entire life trying to ignore the unexplainable and magical history of Atlantis, but when she meets the enigmatic Alexis Donato, everything she believes will be challenged. Little does she know, Alexis has spent the last three years doing his best to sabotage Penelope’s career so doesn’t learn the truth—Atlantis had seven magicians who survived, and who he has a duty to protect.
As Alexis draws her into the darkly, seductive world of magic and history, Penelope will have to use her heart as well as her head if she is to find the answers she seeks. With the new MOSE system due to come online, and Carnivale exploding around them, Penelope and Alexis will have to work together to stop the killer and prevent dark magic from pulling Venice into the sea.
Wow! This was a fast-paced adventure that I absolutely loved! I love (good) stories about the lost city of Atlantis. This thrilling mystery had my attention the entire time! I really liked Penelope and the adventure she embarked on. I highly recommend.
**I voluntarily read and reviewed this book
Was this review helpful?
My thoughts 
Would  recommended it: Yes, in fact of my friends have already picked up a copy to read .
Would I read more of this series? Yes, and I already have book 2 which is called The Sea Of The Dead, thanks to the publishers and NetGalley , because as soon as I saw NetGalley had it I had to request it right then and there.
Would I read more by this author? Yes
 First off I have to say that when I first saw this on NetGalley it was the cover that made me request it and I'm so gad I did because once I started reading I didn't want to stop. Another thing I liked was how at times it reminded me of the movie Stargate where you have a Doctor  who does makes a discovery and then goes on to do a presenting about it ( just like Daniel Jackson) and just like him ( she finds little to no acceptance for her theory) and just like Daniel , she's invited to uses her knowledge to help the police solve a murder that might some how be connected to Atlantis.As for the book itself, it was everything I hoped it would be, the characters, the magic, the way the author brings Atlantis to life, and the characters ( ok so I said that twice ) but they was amazing,and had me laughing at times of the way they acted, and you could feel the attraction between Penelope and Alexis, and it wasn't fast burning at all, they took their time so it was like a slow burning that grew with each turn of the page. And each page brought them closer together. And bought the story more to life. With that said I want to thank NetGalley for letting me read and review and I can't wait to read the next book in June .
Was this review helpful?
Could you say you never thought "what if magic was real, what would I do if it was real in my world" while reading a book about magic realism? For me, this, one of the books which makes me thought that. 
Penelope has spent her entire life trying to find about the history of Atlantis (she knew it exists) while trying to ignore the unexplainable and magical history of Atlantis. Her father always was the first one who tries to stop her from going after her dream. 
Dr. Penelope Bryne is ridiculed by the academic community for her quest to find the remnants of Atlantis. She found Atlantis tablet she thought it would be the key to her purpose, but what it had done was to set her up for more disappointment. When she just started her first holiday in two years, she got a mail about a case in Venice. Without thinking she went to Venice determined to help, the police before the killer strike again but found herself in a world she can't imagine. 
Everything she believes will be challenged, the magic she tries to hard not to believe was real and learned about Atlantis even more than she can dream. In the darkly, seductive world of magic, Penelope will have to use her heart as well as her head if she is to find the answers she seeks and she wants to live.
I loved the story as soon as I read the excerpt. After began to read the book I can say it didn't disappoint me except the romance. Shortly I can do without details about the affairs between main characters. I read romance novels not much but I can love them from time to time. But for this story, I love the adventure so much that taking a break with the romance spoiled my joy (I can understand they need to have a connection with each other so the story will be more good). I love the other characters, other romance was a nice addition to the story and I love how the story builds as time pass but the ending was too quick looks like it's rushed. I couldn't believe how the evil plan come to ruin so easily when they prepared so thoroughly. 
All with that I would recommend to anyone who wouldn't mind having romance in a well-developed magic realism story. I enjoy reading  #TheImmortalCity first book in The Magicians of Venice Series by Amy Kuivalainen and I would like to read other books will come in the series. After this book, I would check Amy Kuivalainen's other books too. :))
Thanks to #NetGalley and the BHC Press providing me a copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review and making this available!
P.S. After the book published on 19 Sep 2019 I will add my review on my Goodreads and Instagram accounts (added 21.09.19).
Was this review helpful?
I was unable to download the e-galley properly and thus could not write a review for this book. The Immortal City was written by Amy Kuivalainen and published on 9/19/2019.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for a eARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Immortal City follows Penelope, an academic who is obsessed with finding the lost city of Atlantis. She has been ridiculed and had all but accepted her fate to become a professor when she is contacted by the Italian police. They need her help in order to make sense of a gruesome and sacrificial murder committed in Venice. While in Venice, Penelope finds herself in the cross hairs of a good looking mystery man who seems to have taken interest in these crimes as well. Can Penelope trust this stranger, or is she just pulling herself closer to being the next victim?

Let me start off this review by saying I put off reading this story for so long because I just knew it would be the author trying to replicate the success of The Davinci Code and didn't want to be disappointed. I am happily eating the biggest helping of crow I've had to swallow over a book in years. The plot holds it's own and while I do get Davinci Code vibes, it plays more with fantasy aspects that kept the plot refreshing enough to keep my wanting more. It is so well written, I'm kicking myself for not reading it sooner. The pacing is excellent and there is just the right blend of historical fiction, action, and just a touch of romance.

My only gripe is actually the romance. It's your very typical "girl is found by gorgeous stranger who awakens her to a new piece of the world and feelings in her loins that could shake the earth". It is extremely quickly developed that it finds a way to be off-putting. There is a sex scene towards the end of the book that just felt clunky, awkward, and unnecessary. Also, the show down with the Villian leaves something to be desired, but as this is meant to be the beginning of a series I appreciate a build up to leave us ready for the next installment.

Overall, it's a super enjoyable story with well developed characters and a exciting world that is well built. I would highly recommend this to anyone who loves historical fiction or even just fantasy lovers.
Was this review helpful?
Rounded up from 1.5/5

Sometimes writing a book review feels a lot like writing a student’s report card at the end of a semester. The reports of those students that are either good or bad can be written both quickly and easily as there is always plenty to say. In fact, even some middling students can be easy to write about if they are a mixture of good qualities and some that are…less than desirable. However, every class has a few students that, unfortunately, don’t have any exceptional qualities, good or bad, and thus struggle to stand out or be memorable. For me, The Immortal City felt like one of those middling students. After I had finished reading the book, I really struggled to determine what opinions I had, if any. So, I forced myself to read it for a second time in the hope of finding some inspiration. I had limited success.

The premise for The Immortal City is certainly interesting enough. Ritualistic murders in Venice coupled with magicians from the lost city of Atlantis…there’s so much potential here. However, despite having so many interesting aspects of the story to work with, I felt that far too much page time was dedicated to the burgeoning romance between the two protagonists. Certainly, I can appreciate that the romantic element was necessary for the overall story, but what I really wanted was to learn more about Atlantis and the mysteries happening in Venice.

Amy Kuivalainen clearly knows how to write a book. The Immortal City reads ok, flows from beginning to end, and doesn’t suffer from any major pacing issues. The characters develop satisfactorily (although, without ever feeling truly dynamic), while their relationships and interactions with one another are, for the most part, believable. But it all just felt so…meh. The only way that I can really think to describe it is that it had a ‘paint-by-numbers’ feel about it. Whatever magic that Kuivalainen has put into these pages has unfortunately passed me by.

Thanks to BHC Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review
Was this review helpful?
Unfortunately, this book is not for me. The murder plot could have hooked me in, but I just seem not to be able to grasp anything about the story. It was really hard for me to finish this. Anyway, maybe it was just not for me.
Was this review helpful?
The book follows Penelope Barn, a doctor who is constantly made fun of by her fellow academia for her quest to find the ruins of Atlantis. My thoughts to describe this book for me, very bland and a bit dull. Definitely had potential but fell flat in the delivery. The plot just really failed to grab my attention
Was this review helpful?
Unfortunately this book did not work out for me and I did not finish it. I don´t think that´s because it´s a bad book or poorly written, I´m sure a lot of people will love this book, just that it wasn´t for me. 

Thank you #netgalley and #BHCPress for providing me with an e-arc of #TheImmortalCity
Was this review helpful?
Offering a tantalising take on the pop-culture saturated mythologies including extinct culture, civilisations and legends, The Immortal City is a must-read for any fan of the genre.
Was this review helpful?
What an incredible story! A new telling of an old myth set in an exotic background with a diverse cast of characters. Dr. Penelope Bryne is not living her life the way her father would like or insists but she is living her life the way she dreams. Called to the seafloor by a mysterious force resulting in an amazingly historic find, Dr. Bryne is determined to find any trace of the fabled and mystical Atlantis. The last thing she expects is to be called by the Venice Polizia to consult on a ritualistic killing. Great story development which enabled me to lose all track of time, but in a very good way. This book has mystery, intrigue, romance, laughs, tears, history, and really good espresso (according to Penelope). Did I mention the romance, it teases with its magical, mysterious magician who can quite literally sweep Penelope off her feet and transport her to his tower. I eagerly await the next installment with much anticipation!
Was this review helpful?
Rating - 3.5-4 (can't decide,sorry lol)

I would like to thank Netgalley for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!All the following opinions are my own!

The Immortal City was a novel that very pleasantly surprised me and I really enjoyed reading it! The description of the book is slightly misleading. While the book *is* about murder and a bunch of magical and non-magical folk trying to find the people/demons responsible for it, it is also just a really trashy YA paranormal/urban fantasy with kind of a slow-burn romance.

And I adored it!

The plot was essentially very straight forward and didn't take too many unnecessary tangents, which is great for a book like this. There was a lot of love and research that went into the book since it heavily relied on elements of Greek/Egyptian/Turkish history and mythology. And of course, the mythology of Atlantis. I think the book did a fairly good job of meshing the supernatural with the historic, but there was some annoying name-dropping, as is the case with most novels that go down this path, which I could've done without. Also, there aren't any mind-blowing plot elements in this novel. Everything is pretty much something you can figure out and/or you've seen before. But it was still really enjoyable so I'll give it points for that! 

The descriptions were pretty straightforward and the writing style was not too flowery. This was a good choice for this novel because it did have its fair share of moments when the story was a by-the-numbers police investigation and it would've been jarring for the reader to shift between flowery and non-flowery writing. I especially liked the dialogue in this book. It was pretty natural and it dominated most of the events in the book which worked for it! There were a few clunky bits here and there, but they didn't really bother me!

The characters were pretty good, too! I do think they could've been done a little better - and there could've been more showing and less telling when it came to some of their characteristics, but I ended up really caring for them by the end. The main characters are definitely likeable and I didn't regret the time I spent with them in the course of this novel. The side characters could use some more screen-time, so to speak, and a little bit more fleshing out. But they were still fun to read about! My favorite character was, surprisingly, Marco, the cop. I'm a little sad that he didn't get as much screen time as other characters did in the parts2&3 of the book, but he was definitely one of the more polished of the lot!

The romance in this book is...uhh...well, it's intense. It's very YA. If you've read any mainstream popular YA book from the 2000s,you know what I'm talking about. I wasn't a huge fan of how quickly the romance developed in the book, but I do admit that there was definitely chemistry between the characters and it wasn't all just forced and random. It started off awkwardly and progressed too quickly, but it also kind of works and it had its moments. Personally, I would've preferred if their relationship had been a very intense platonic thing--like canon Aziraphale and Crowley (give me some straight-baiting, I'm begging you) -- but that's just probably my ace self projecting on everything.
(*mild spoiler* they had sex and he didn't put on a condom and I almost had a stroke like STAY SAFE KIDS WTF)

Overall, I think this book works as a really quick, fun, distracting read. Don't expect something really deep or groundbreaking going into this, and you'll be fine. In my review, I've tried to be critical about certain aspects of the book, but the reason I'm giving it a high rating is just that it was a really fun time and while I acknowledge its flaws, I think my enjoyment of the book kind of makes up for them! And honestly, I really want to keep reading this series and I can't wait for the next book! I will admit, though, that this is definitely not everyone's cup of tea and you might find this book too generic or boring if you've read too much YA and are kind of over a few of the things tha genre is famous for reading. (If you read it because of me and don't like it, don't @ me lmao)
Was this review helpful?
The Immortal City
By: Amy Kuivalainen
General Fiction (Adult)
Sci-Fi and Fantasy
324 pages
Published 19 September 2019
<img src="" width="80" height="80" alt="25 Book Reviews" title="25 Book Reviews"/>
<img src="" width="80" height="80" alt="Professional Reader" title="Professional Reader"/>
I really enjoyed this book. At first I wasn't to sure about it because I don't speak Italian and I wasn't able to understand what was going on at the beginning but the author got better with letting us know what was being said. This is a mystery with magical elements. I don't see it as being sci-fi but more of a fantasy mystery.  I really haven't read a book like this before and found it enjoyable. It did take me a while to read not because it was bad just that I was busy. This is the first book in a series.
This book is about a woman named Penelope who is a historian who loves the story of Atlantis and has discovered a piece of a tablet. She has had bad luck because of Alexus who has blocked her progress with a grant because he is protecting the knowledge of Atlantis and the people. She ends up going to Italy because of a couple of murders that are very strange and she is helping the police. She finally meets up with Alexus and they have some interesting adventures as they try to solve the murders. I would highly recommend this book if you are into both fantasy and mysteries.
Was this review helpful?
3.75 stars
A very interesting read, even with the murder-case that i'm not so fond of. But i loved  the part with Atlantis in it. Plus, i came to like Alexis & Penelope alot, Penelope kind of reminded me a bit of Milo from the Disney's Atlantis movie, without the stuttering and the glasses, but you get the gist.
Was this review helpful?