Immortal by Traci L. Slatton is a story of 180 year old Luca Bastardo. The novel traces his life from his childhood as an orphan on the streets of Florence to his death through a first person narrative. When he was barely ten years old, Luca was sold into a brothel by one of his best friends. Until then, Luca had been living on the streets, struggling to survive. Luca managed to survive in the brothel despite the violence inflicted upon him and the other children by the sadistic Bernardo Silvano as well as all the patrons patronizing the brothel. Slatton is not graphic on the physical details of the rape and sodomy that takes place, but rather focuses on the emotional damage, and Luca’s struggle to stay sane and strong in order to support himself and the other children held prisoner. Luca finally manages to escape Silvano and Florence, albeit temporarily, after the Black Plague struck. As Luca grows, he comes into contact with some Italy’s finest creators. Luca befriended Giotto, he saved Cosimo de Medici from kidnappers, tutored Leonardo da Vinci and befriended Botticelli. In his lifetime, Luca has the form of many professions, often striving to help the innocent and the poor in any way he can, while still trying to keep the mystical aura surrounding him from attracting unwanted attention. Luca attempts to learn about his origins and some explanation as to why he does not age as everyone else does. Luca tries to find out about his past, although the members of the Silvano family tree haunts his every step through his life.
What I like about this novel, is that Slatton was able to keep her writing elegant, detailed, but not overly dramatic or graphic. At times the dialog felt cliche and forced. It is really in Part 2 of the novel when Slatton’s talent is at its peak, and you are sucked into the Italian Renassiance, witnessing some of the most historic events in Italy’s history through the eyes of one of the world’s oldest men. Slatton is very accurate with the historical detail of Italy in the 1300s and 1400s. Her writing is very fluid and each chapter melds into each other before you realize you’ve read nearly half the book in a few short hours. You develop a sympathy with not only Luca, but with all of Italy through Slatton’s discussion of philosophy and religion and the simple act of finding love and happiness, two of Luca’s biggest struggles to achieve.
FINAL GRADE: A
That being said, I would like to host my first giveaway of a copy of Immortal to celebrate 6 months of book blogging! I can’t believe I started blogging only six months ago at the beginning of February. I feel as if I’ve been reviewing books much longer than that.
All you have to do is comment and tell me which historic person of the 20th Century you would like too meet. Comments must be posted by August 15th 11:59pm. You can also receive extra entries for blogging about this giveaway. Please check back on August 16th to see who the winner is!