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The Immortal Fire by Anne Ursu

The Immortal Fire

by Anne Ursu

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Great book thats full of adventure and suspense. Stories of the mythological gods. ( )
  tanya.pappas | Aug 12, 2013 |
I love, love, love this series. Ursu's writing is funny and charming, her characters are wonderful and believable. I learn more about Greek myths with every novel.

This one had a wonderful surprise - there's a passage near the end that is so beautiful I read it three times before I could go on, and it had me in tears. Some of the loveliest, sweetest writing I've come across in a long time.

( )
  periwinklejane | Mar 29, 2013 |
This book follows on from book 2 where Charlotte and Zee escape and survive the murderous Poseidon. The cousins Charlotte and Zee know better than to expect their lives to return to normal. After all, vengeful gods do not like to be foiled by mere mortals...especially when those mortals are thirteen.
So when a fire-breathing Chimera descends on their middle school, Charlotte and Zee are determined to fight -- not only for their lives, but for humankind. With nothing but a mysterious map and hints of a powerful weapon (Prometheus' flame) to guide them, the cousins journey to Mount Olympus, home of Zeus himself. But they're not alone. Their arch-nemesis Philonecron dreams of taking Zeus's place at the throne of the universe -- and now he has Poseidon's trident to help him do it as well as Zeus' mortal son Steve (Zeus does not know he exists and Steve hates his father because of his infidelities). The prophecy reads that the son will overthrow the ruler of the universe; Zeus overthrew his dad Cronus and so will Steve overthrow his dad, but Zeus promises to kill Steve before Steve can fulfil the prophecy (not that Steve is capable of taking on the great ruler). The climax of the story predictably sees Philonecron zap Zeus with the trident making him armless (limbless) and trussed up he is then ousted by harpies and in the confusion Zee becomes the holder of the trident, thus leaving the cousins prepared to deal to Zeus. Zee makes Zeus promise that he will do Steve no harm and when Zeus readily agrees making an oath on the River Styx, because he thinks that by saving his son, he can still wipe out humankind with Prometheus's flame. Zee uses the trident to give Zeus back his arms and releases him. Zeus impassively asks Zee as to the whereabouts of the flame, Zee responds by producing the lighter. Zeus immediately zaps it with his thunderbolt, to no effect, zapping it again and again. Persephone appears and announces that Zeus cannot destroy it as ' only it's mortal bearer can'. Zeus demands Zee to destroy the flame or he'll destroy both him and Charlotte. "If you kill us then who can destroy the flame?' responds Zee. Zeus begins to negotiate a deal with Zee and Charlotte to destroy the flame because it it is not destroyed there will be eternal life for humankind and this is not sustainable. Charlotte and Zee negotiate a better deal for the dead in the Underworld that allows them a easier crossing of the River Styx and allows them to rest in peace (this relates back to the first book where Zee's Grandma Winter passes away and when Zee and Charlotte are in the underworld they are distressed to see the dead wandering around unable to cross the River Styx therefore unable to rest peacfully and have a better afterlife. Zee stomps on the lighter and the flame is extinguished. Zeus, Charlotte and Steve are free to go and are flown to on the back of a beautiful bird (Persephone) back to Earth. I realised most of the way through this book that i'm just not into long stories, i kept struggling to pick it up to read and only continued because i had read the other two. This is not too say that i didn't not like the storyline, as i feel that Ursu writes in and engaging way, just that i struggle to stay engaged for too long. ( )
  rata | Oct 31, 2012 |
Ursu, A. The Immortal Fire. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

510 pages (Yikes!).

Appetizer: In the final Cronus Chronicles novel, Charlotte is still recovering from the adventures in the last novel, The Siren Song. She and Zee are back at school, but all is not right in the world. They watch the news, knowing that the world is unravelling as the Greek gods stop hiding their existence from humanity.

Philonecron is keeping busy too, more certain than ever that he is going to become the ruler of the universe, he visits an Oracle and receives some disturbing news.

Zeus, the current ruler of the universe, is not a fan of all the new chaos. In fact, he thinks it might be time to be done with the silly humans for once and for all.

I have to say, I am sad that this series has ended. The narration of this series is so fun. I absolutely love Charlotte and the themes (sacrificing one for the many, the continuation of life after death, etc.). I just wish I wasn't reading these thick books under a dissertation related time frame. It puts a bit of a dampener on the enjoyment factor.)

I enjoyed The Immortal Fire immensely. The jumps back and forth in time made more sense with this book than with the second one. The voices of the gods were incredibly engaging. I also loved Philonecron's realization that Charlotte and he should be "frenemies."

Part of the reason I wish there were more books in this series is that the ending of The Immortal Fire did seem a little rushed. There are all these wonderful tensions about how the humans may have to rebel against the lazy-slacker Greek gods and I felt like that key conflict was dismissed too easily. Plus, I felt like I wasn't left with a clear picture of what Charlotte and Zee's life would be like after the events of the story. It was a little dissatisfying. (But also, since I'd hit page 500, I was also pretty ready to JUST BE DONE WITH THE BOOK!!!!)

Dinner Conversation:

"At the cradle of civilization, close to the belly button of the world, there is a sea like no other on Earth. This sea is unique for many reasons--the particular wine-dark color of its water, the fact that it is at the nexus of three continents, and of course because of the vast population of Immortals who call it home. Up until about an hour ago, it was also unique because on it there sailed a yacht like no other--but there is not much of that yacht left anymore, thanks to the ministrations of a rather vengeful, extremely giant, giant squid" (p. ix).

"A few days later, half a world away, one ordinary eighth-grader girl was lying on the couch in her den, stroking her cat and feeling sick. There was nothing too extraordinary about this situation; this girl stayed home from school, and if you looked at her you would not be surprised. For Charlotte Mielswetzski (you know how to pronounce that by now, right? Meals-wet-ski?) was covered in gross yellow bruises and small cuts and wore her wrist in a splint and generally looked as if she had had an unfortunate encounter with a very large falling piano" (p. 3).

"The gods had retreated because Zeus didn't want to deal with humanity anymore. And they kept it so humanity didn't know they existed. That didn't mean they didn't interfere--some gods used the mortal realm as their playground, and people as their playthings. The policy seemed to be that they could do whatever they wanted as long as no one noticed them.
Well, people were noticing them now" (p. 11).

"This was the way of things. [Philonecron] was a hero, this was a hero's journey, an epic for the ages--the saga of a humble demon's long journey from Underworld garbage collector to Supreme Lord of All Creation. He never wanted an enemy--he was peace loving, not prone to conflict--but every hero had a nemesis, one as terrible as he was great. It was only literary. It was the conquest of the Universe, after all. One did expect it to be literary" (p. 57).

"Yes, [Zeus] had made a decision, but circumstances change and a good leader changes with them. The children had caused all of this, and maybe humanity needed to be punished for it. Zeus hated to give Hera the satisfaction of doing what she wanted, but if those children did one more thing it would be time to make another decision. It would be a terrible bother, of course, and his world would be a little more empty without humans, but sometimes you have to suffer for justice.
They had one more chance" (p. 125).

"[Mr. Metos] paused and gazed at the cousins. "Though now I find I have a new [purpose]."
"What's that?" Charlotte asked.
"Keeping the two of you alive."
"Oh," said Zee.
"And apparently I cannot do that by myself, and I cannot do that while you two lead your daily lives in the open. I have made every attempt to shield you from danger, and with every attempt the danger seems only to grow. There's only one option that I can see."
Charlotte and Zee looked at each other. "What?" Charlotte asked, her voice shaking a little.
"You are coming with me. We are going to the Prometheans" (pp. 158-159). ( )
  SJKessel | May 28, 2012 |
I imagine it's bit a letdown to be treated like children when at 13 cousins Charlotte and Zee have survived the Underworld and narrowly escaped Posiedon's wrath. Charlotte and Zee start this final installment of the Cronus Chronicles a bit out of sorts. Parents, teachers and mentors like Mr. Metos are acting very careful around the kids, making for a lot of HP-like teen angst about being babies. The action really picked up in the last third of the story. Our old buddy Philonecron is back, attempting to take control of Olympus from Zeus in his wish to rule all. Charlotte and Zee head out on their quest to save both humans and the dead from the likes of Phil, with help from an unexpected source, a little girl in a dream. ( )
  ethel55 | Aug 3, 2009 |
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For Dziwe Ntaba,
my cousin
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At the cradle of civilization, close to the belly button of the world, there is a sea like no other on Earth.
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As Philonecron plots to destroy the gods, transform the Underworld, destroy humanity, and remodel Olympus, Mr. Metos takes thirteen-year-old cousins Charlotte and Zee to join the Prometheans, who have an age-old weapon that may help protect them.

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