Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Release Day Review of Antigoddess (Goddess War #1) by Kendare Blake
Immortals are supposed to live forever or are they? The Gods of old are dying, falling victims to different fates all serving out a rather poetic style of justice in rather morbid ways. Athena, Goddess of wisdom and war, is being suffocated by feathers. Hermes' (God of Thieves and Messenger of the Gods) own body is eating itself. Demeter, goddess of harvest and the fertility of the earth, is being stretched across the earth to the point of ripping, and the list goes on and on. With such dire times you'd think the gods and goddesses would unite to find the cause of what is happening to them and put an end to it. Instead some are using it as a time to do what was once impossible--kill other immortals. It's a God eat God world, literally. Only the strongest will survive and ironically the keys to ending all the madness and death may be in the hands of the very individuals the gods once toyed with and used as their pawns. Humans who played important roles years ago when the Gods were at their most powerful have been reincarnated. They'll have to remember who they are and what happened before they'll be of any use, but the real question is can those who were once betrayed by the very Gods and Goddesses who need their help be counted on to save them?
This was a rather interesting twist on an old genre and quite different from Blake's other books. Athena and Hermes are desperately seeking answers as to why they are dying. Demeter seems to have some idea, but she's literally been stretched to inches of her limits and, therefore, is of little help. Cassandra, the human who was cursed by Apollo to have the gift of foresight but never to be believed, is the person whom Demeter points to as possibly holding the key to their salvation. Athena, however, sided against the Trojans in the war and is as much to blame for Cassandra's family's demise as any other God. Will she side with them or some of the other Gods who had no hand in the Trojan tragedy?
If you aren't up-to-date with Greek mythology you are probably going to feel a little lost going into this one. The majority of what is happening among the Gods seems to be rooted in the personal vendettas and grudges the Gods and Goddesses have held against one another through the ages. While some of these are revealed as the story progresses, I would have preferred the mythology to have been revealed a little sooner and more in depth.
As a person who can usually dive right in at any point in a series with little to no problem, I just felt a little lost and not because I don't know my Greek mythology. I took a class or two in college because I've always had a soft spot for it. The fact we don't know why immortals are slowly dying had me feeling clueless as to what was truly going on. Now, this may have been a ploy by the author to make us feel aligned with what the characters are feeling so that we can sympathize with their plight, but by not revealing the reason before the end, it did the exact opposite. I had hoped there would be some prophecy or curse divulged which would explain things, but none were to be found. The only explanation I could find was a vague reference to the 'Twilight of the Gods' which was never explained. That, by the way, is a crossover into Norse Mythology which talks of a huge battle among the Gods which leaves many dead, some being reborn, with the majority of humanity being destroyed in the process. A type of cleansing of everything--the earth, the Gods and man. I'm hoping that is not the 'Twilight of the Gods' reference Blake was going for, but with no clear definition as to what the phrase referred to, there is no telling. By the way, the term 'Twilight of the Gods', was the result of a famous mistranslation of the word Ragnarok in the Norse native language. It literally means Doom of the Powers, or Destruction of the Powers, where Powers means Gods.*
Besides the lack of in depth mythological background, the switching focus between the pair of Athena and Hermes and Cassandra, who knows nothing of her being the Cassandra of myth, was a little too choppy for my taste at the beginning. I wish the author had spent more time on each before starting to alternate between the two. Granted, this was an ARC which I got fairly early on, so hopefully some of the choppiness will be smoothed out before the final publication, but I doubt the mystery of it all will be revealed. Plus, war usually means there are two sides, and while it appeared that sides were beginning to be taken, nothing seemed to be clearly defined by the end. Everything was left fairly sketchy. Additionally, Hermes and Athena had no clue about there being a war prior to Demeter stating that a war was being waged. Yet later Hera said she was glad to find Athena had chosen the other side. Huh?
Again, I hope these are all issues that are ironed out by the final version. Things did get more interesting and the pace picked up midway through the book. While I liked the story, sadly I can only give it a 2 1/2 out of 5 roses. I just didn't feel things flowed together as smoothly as it should.