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February Book of the Month -- Official Review by MarisaRose

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February Book of the Month -- Official Review by MarisaRose

Post Number:#1 by MarisaRose
» 29 Dec 2016, 16:39

[Following is the official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Diary Of An Immortal (1945-1959)" by David J Castello.]

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4 out of 4 stars
Review by MarisaRose
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The quest for immortality is a tale as old has time. Luckily, David Castello has put a new spin on this classic idea in The Diary of an Immortal (1945-1959). The novel is set during the time of Nazi rule, when inhumane experimentation of prisoners occurred all too often. Steven, a war medic for the United States Army, stumbles across immortality pills during the overthrow of the Dachau prison camp. The little pills take Steven on a wild ride from the jazz scene in New York City to the Buddhist monasteries of China and the mountains of Tibet. The Diary of an Immortal is an extravagant work of fantasy set against very real, historic events. Castello weaves a tale of love, magic, evil, and the perils of everlasting life in his debut novel.

The story is full of complex, likable characters. Steven, the narrator of the novel, struggles with life after serving his country in World War II. After seeing the most horrible of human acts, Steven only wishes to prolong his life in order to gain back the years of happiness and joy stolen by the war. On the contrary, Buddhist immortals teach that extending one’s life is actually a form of punishment. Throughout the novel, Steven internally struggles to understand the meaning of immortality and questions if everlasting life is actually a good thing. This ongoing battle results in Steven being a strong, well developed and empathetic character.

The most fascinating aspect of the novel is that the author delves into the dichotomy between the Buddhist and American cultures. In the Buddhist religion, the act of killing another being is not allowed. However, Chang Sou, an immortal Buddhist and the story’s antagonist, wants to use his powers to wreak havoc on the inhabitants of Earth. Chow Li, a rival immortal, cannot kill Chang Sou himself because of his Buddhist principals and thus relies on Steven to rid the world of the evil Chang Sou. These differing cultural stances make the reader question character motives as well as the premise of immortality.

Although I greatly enjoyed the author’s play on good versus evil, at times it felt a little over done and predictable. Similarly, there were certain religious elements thrown into the narrative, namely that Jesus Christ may not be from this planet, that did not seem relevant and that some readers may have trouble accepting.

The Diary of an Immortal (1945-1959) is an inventive fantasy story that is not only well written, but truly engrossing as well. The author superbly creates a fantastical story based on exciting historical events and also introduces interesting characters all while engaging the reader with thought provoking material. Though I had some minor criticisms of this book, I rate it 4 out of 4 stars and recommend it to fans of alternative history books as well as fans of the fantasy genre.

******
The Diary Of An Immortal (1945-1959)
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Re: Official Review: The Diary Of An Immortal (1945-1959)

Post Number:#2 by Silvermoon
» 30 Dec 2016, 14:57

This book seems to have an interesting premise, although the religious aspects of is seem a little off. I'm okay with Jesus not being from earth, but am a little confused by the Buddhist aggression. Your review is thorough and helpful. Great job!
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Re: Official Review: The Diary Of An Immortal (1945-1959)

Post Number:#3 by MarisaRose
» 30 Dec 2016, 18:09

Silvermoon wrote:This book seems to have an interesting premise, although the religious aspects of is seem a little off. I'm okay with Jesus not being from earth, but am a little confused by the Buddhist aggression. Your review is thorough and helpful. Great job!


Thank you for taking the time to read my review! The religious aspects were definitely different but also helped make the story unique.
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Re: Official Review: The Diary Of An Immortal (1945-1959)

Post Number:#4 by Silvermoon
» 30 Dec 2016, 19:13

MarisaRose wrote:
Silvermoon wrote:This book seems to have an interesting premise, although the religious aspects of is seem a little off. I'm okay with Jesus not being from earth, but am a little confused by the Buddhist aggression. Your review is thorough and helpful. Great job!


Thank you for taking the time to read my review! The religious aspects were definitely different but also helped make the story unique.


Sometimes unique is good. I will be interested to find out when I have the chance to read it. I was happy to read your review, it made choosing a book to read easier.
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Re: Official Review: The Diary Of An Immortal (1945-1959)

Post Number:#5 by gali
» 03 Jan 2017, 06:53

Interesting premise! It is intriguing that the plot is based on truth historical events and that the author "delves into the dichotomy between the Buddhist and American cultures".

Good job on the review!
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)
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Re: Official Review: The Diary Of An Immortal (1945-1959)

Post Number:#6 by hsimone
» 03 Jan 2017, 06:58

Great review! I love when I can learn something from a fictional/fantasy point of view. Though I don't know much about the Buddhist culture, this story seems like a very interesting read. Congratulations to the author for receiving such a positive review!
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Re: Official Review: The Diary Of An Immortal (1945-1959)

Post Number:#7 by MarisaRose
» 03 Jan 2017, 07:08

gali wrote:Interesting premise! It is intriguing that the plot is based on truth historical events and that the author "delves into the dichotomy between the Buddhist and American cultures".

Good job on the review!


Thank you! I agree, it was interesting and mostly unique which was a pleasant surprise :)

-- 03 Jan 2017, 07:09 --

hsimone wrote:Great review! I love when I can learn something from a fictional/fantasy point of view. Though I don't know much about the Buddhist culture, this story seems like a very interesting read. Congratulations to the author for receiving such a positive review!


Thank you for the kind words! I also was not very familiar with Buddhist cultural norms and I found the book enlightening. It gave the story a unique twist :)
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Re: Official Review: The Diary Of An Immortal (1945-1959)

Post Number:#8 by Gravy
» 03 Jan 2017, 07:23

Immortality as punishment sounds very interesting. Not sure this is for me, but it sounds very interesting, and a lovely review :)
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Re: Official Review: The Diary Of An Immortal (1945-1959)

Post Number:#9 by MarisaRose
» 03 Jan 2017, 07:25

Gravy wrote:Immortality as punishment sounds very interesting. Not sure this is for me, but it sounds very interesting, and a lovely review :)


Thank you for the kind words! :) I agree that this may not be the book for everyone, but it is insightful and unique nonetheless.
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Re: Official Review: The Diary Of An Immortal (1945-1959)

Post Number:#10 by uk8971
» 03 Jan 2017, 07:32

I am in love with the stories spun around the Nazi era. This #HistoricalFantasy looks like a winner. Eager to read it ASAP. :) Congrats on being the BOTD. Well deserved.
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Re: Official Review: The Diary Of An Immortal (1945-1959)

Post Number:#11 by MarisaRose
» 03 Jan 2017, 07:51

uk8971 wrote:I am in love with the stories spun around the Nazi era. This #HistoricalFantasy looks like a winner. Eager to read it ASAP. :) Congrats on being the BOTD. Well deserved.


Yes! The twist on the World War 2 era is really what drew me to this book! I also find that period in history fascinating. Although the focus moves on from that era, it still made for a fascinating premise.
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Re: Official Review: The Diary Of An Immortal (1945-1959)

Post Number:#12 by Celticlady
» 03 Jan 2017, 11:14

Thanks for your review, who knows if in the future whether this is a possibility, pills to prolong life, but at what age would this happen. Interesting.
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Re: Official Review: The Diary Of An Immortal (1945-1959)

Post Number:#13 by jamesabr
» 03 Jan 2017, 12:18

You had me at mentioning the very different Buddhist and American cultures. This book sounds like it draws on the differences between them as well as offers an interest take on the quest for immortality. Thanks for the review!
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Re: Official Review: The Diary Of An Immortal (1945-1959)

Post Number:#14 by bookowlie
» 03 Jan 2017, 12:34

Great review! You gave me a good idea of the plot without giving too much away. Unfortunately, the genres and themes are not my cup of tea - alternative history, fantasy, and the Nazis. Glad you enjoyed the book.
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Re: Official Review: The Diary Of An Immortal (1945-1959)

Post Number:#15 by greenstripedgiraffe
» 03 Jan 2017, 12:44

Wow, from the first few pages of the sample read, I would have never guessed the main part of the book went into Buddhism! Thanks for the review! The sample was very well written, the author made good use of descriptive language, somewhat of a rarity in modern literature.
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