Monday, April 12, 2010

The Immortal by Christopher Pike (1993)

Christopher Pike's The Immortal (1993) came out a little too late to be included in my youthful Pike party, but I got a discarded copy of it when I worked at a bookstore in college and have moved it around for so many years that I'm glad I've finally read it. And now I can give it away!

We all know that Christopher Pike doesn't age as well as we might like. The Immortal, on the other hand, seems like it wouldn't have set that well with me even at a tender age. The plot has Josie going for a week-long vacation in Greece with her best friend, Helen; her father, a Hollywood screenwriter; and his girlfriend Silk, a wannabe actress. Helen and Josie have just graduated from high school (although you would hardly guess it since they never talk at all about work, college, or what they plan to do with themselves). They also don't get along with each other very well, which is odd for best friends, but maybe not quite so odd when one learns that Josie dated Helen's boyfriend after he broke up with her. And then Helen tried to kill herself. And Josie was struck by a sudden and inexplicable heart problem. And they were both in the hospital and near death for awhile. But now everything is fine. So they are going to Greece!

Helen had been to the island of Mykonos the summer before (her parents took her there after she got out of the hospital), so she shows Josie around. Josie quickly falls in love with the island, feeling an inexplicable closeness to everything there, including Tom, an English summer worker who Helen had a fling with the summer before. So Josie, being Helen's best friend, naturally makes quick work of getting Tom to fall in love with her.

All pretty pedestrian, right?

But wait!: Josie and the gang take a tour boat out to the sacred island of Delos. She feels totally connected to the island, and begins having weird dreams about a goddess when she gets back. Later she spends an illicit night on the island after falling out of a boat and wakes up to find a statue of the goddess from her dreams next to her. Her dreams get more and more vivid, Helen acts more and more distant, and then she and Tom get really sick. But what can it all mean?

Even though this book was pretty dumb, I don't want to spoil it for other Pike enthusiasts, so I'll just say that the twist is hidden relatively well, but feels kind of underwhelming once it is revealed.

Half of this book is written like a vacation guide to the Greek island of Mykonos, there is a very tacked on sub plot where Josie and her dad discuss the plot of his science fiction screen play for pages and pages, none of the teenagers act very teenagery, and none of the adults act very adult.

I love you Christopher Pike!

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