Immortal City

Book review by
Julie A. Carlson, Common Sense Media
Immortal City Book Poster Image
Celebrity angels are targets in fun paranormal thriller.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Even in this fantasy context, readers get a feel for life in Hollywood. And there are reference to many real Los Angeles locations. 

Positive Messages

Good must fight to defeat evil. You must have faith in yourself. Trust, family, and freinds are the most important things in life. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Maddy is a strong heroine with deep convictions and personal opinions about where she lives, her family and the angels who inhabit Angel City. Sometimes she can come off a bit gruff about angels, celebrities, and the status quo, but she also has a softness to her and a high likability factor. Jackson may be one of the hottest and most popular angels on the planet, but he doesn't let that fame get to his head. Once he meets Maddy, his world and his views about his new role as a guardian angel --to those who can afford being protected -- changes. Detective Sylvester is a positive role model within the police department. He has some secrets and his own personal sorrow, but he wants justice for the murder of the angels in the story.

Violence

Murder of angels is described briefly -- some dead bodies and severed wings. Secondary and minor characters are killed. Nothing too gory, but is described.

Sex

Flirting and romance between Maddy and Jackson is roller-coaster ride. He's very kind to her and sweet, but has to be careful because angels and humans can't be together.They share some very sexy kisses, but it goes no farther than that.

Language

"Bitch," "ass."

Consumerism

Too many designers, products, and pop culture brands to mention, but here's a taste: Chanel, Jimmy Choo, Calvin Klein, Ray-Ban, Yves Saint Laurent, Converse, Nike, Diet Coke, Blackberry, iPhone, Twitter, YouSave (YouTube), Lamborghinis, Maseratis, Ferraris, Mercedes, and Beretta. Clever plays on popular television programs and magazine such as A! Entertainment (instead of  E! Entertainment), Angels Weekly (US Weekly), Halo Magazine (People Magazine), and Angel News Network (CNN). 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults and older teens drink. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Immortal City is the first book in a series in which  angels are celebrities and there's a serial killer who's murdering famous angels. A mixture of urban fantasy and gritty noir, it features teens and adults as main characters -- something not usually found in YA -- and will appeal to older, more sophisticated teens. Immortal City is stuffed with brand names, from designer lables to high-end automobiles to popular Los Angeles restaurants and stores to pop culture references. It's also heavy on the topics of politics, religion, fame, and money. Dead bodies are briefly described.

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What's the story?

IMMORTAL CITY imagines an alternative Los Angeles called Angel City, where instead of human celebrities, angels have the power and fame. But Maddy, a human, couldn't care less. Despite having strange visions, she lives a quiet life with her uncle Kevin, who runs a local diner. She has an obsessed best friend who dreams of being protected by newly crowned guardian angel and immortal celeb Jackson Godspeed. Jacks has been preparing to become a guardian his whole life, but something is nagging at him. He yearns for something different. When he meets Maddy, who questions angels and their relevance to society, he discovers there's more to life than fame and fortune. But when a serial killer starts murdering angels, and Jacks is next on the list, the tables are turned ... and Maddy becomes the protector.

Is it any good?

You don't have to be familiar with the Los Angeles area, Hollywood, and the entertainment industry to get a kick out of suspenseful, romantic Immortal City. Although, after reading it, kids may yearn to purchase the latest cell phone, visit Hollywood hotspots, or get decked out in designer duds, just like the cool characters in the book. Sometimes the name-dropping reaches overkill, but it's a "Hollywood" book, after all. Immortal City definitely has an edgy, noir vibe because of the serial killer plot and the investigation surrounding murdered angels. Viewpoints vary between Maddy, Jacks, and Detective Sylvester. It's quite surprising that an adult is one of the main characters --  adults are usually secondary characters or absent in YA novels. Due to the mature subject matter, Immortal City, has adult crossover appeal.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Immortal City's alternative version of Los Angeles and Hollywood. Would Angel City be a cool place to live, or would you feel like Maddy? Do you like the twist of angels being celebrities?

  • How would you feel if someone extremely famous or well-known became interested in you and you were suddenly thrust into the limelight? Do you think young people are influenced by celebrities?

  • In Immortal City, angels save lives, but only people who can afford protection have guardian angels. How would you feel if you knew someone had a guardian angel but you didn't?

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