Author: Kendare Blake
Overview from Goodreads:
The Goddess War begins in Antigoddess, the first installment of the new series by acclaimed author of Anna Dressed in Blood, Kendare Blake.
Old Gods never die…
Or so Athena thought. But then the feathers started sprouting beneath her skin, invading her lungs like a strange cancer, and Hermes showed up with a fever eating away his flesh. So much for living a quiet eternity in perpetual health.
Desperately seeking the cause of their slow, miserable deaths, Athena and Hermes travel the world, gathering allies and discovering enemies both new and old. Their search leads them to Cassandra—an ordinary girl who was once an extraordinary prophetess, protected and loved by a god.
These days, Cassandra doesn’t involve herself in the business of gods—in fact, she doesn’t even know they exist. But she could be the key in a war that is only just beginning.
Because Hera, the queen of the gods, has aligned herself with other of the ancient Olympians, who are killing off rivals in an attempt to prolong their own lives. But these anti-gods have become corrupted in their desperation to survive, horrific caricatures of their former glory. Athena will need every advantage she can get, because immortals don’t just flicker out.
Every one of them dies in their own way. Some choke on feathers. Others become monsters. All of them rage against their last breath.
The Goddess War is about to begin.
I decided to give this book a try for two reasons: (1) this author is well-known for her well-written works and (2) I love any story featuring mythology (especially Greek Mythology). This is my first novel by this author so I went in without having another of her books to compare this too like some other reviews I read before purchasing.
The characters in the story stem from the events in the Trojan War, although you can follow along without remembering the details. The immortal gods/goddesses have fallen from Olympus and are now scattered among mortals. They are also each dying in a way that correlates with their being. Some of them have given in to this fate, while others have decided to find a solution. One problem is that some of them believe that they need to kill each other in order to survive. Thus the god/goddess war has begun with them divided amongst each opposing side.
The novel starts off featuring two of our gods/goddesses – Athena and Hermes – as they wander around the desert in search of answers. Hermes is wasting away while Athena is being destroyed from the inside by feathers. You then switch over to Cassandra and Aiden who are students in high school – they are going about their everyday “normal” lives. With seemingly disconnected plots, the story is hard to keep track of what’s going on with the other pair while you’re reading on one. It’s not that the plot is difficult to understand; it’s more that it originally seems like two stories that don’t have anything to do with each other. The story starts to make sense once the two pairs meet and the two plots merge to become one.
One thing the author gets right is that the gods and goddesses were believed to have feelings just like humans. They can be happy, sad, angry, jealous, feel love, etc. Although they originally are written as adults, in this version they are reincarnated and “awakened” as teenagers. Athena and Hermes have their memories and thousands of year old memories, but they are in the bodies of teenagers. I enjoyed the fact that random personality traits that we are more familiar with in mythology translated to their respective characters with additional mannerisms to round out each of their characters.
The book does A LOT of set-up for the next part of the series as the author spends time setting up her main characters and gives some back story about what is actually going on in this war. If you like novels that skip over this or shorten it considerably, then this might not be the series for you. There is a romance aspect in the story, but it’s not what takes center stage as our central plot features the war (well the start of it at least). There are two other novels in the series that I hope explore the actual war aspect more and possibly give it a satisfying conclusion.
This novel won’t mean much to you as a standalone as it ends setting itself up for the next novel in the series. It has a semi-conclusion, but it’s nothing that will satisfy a reader completely. Although it feels like a very long introduction, you can’t help but continue reading as you get engrossed in every scene once the battles start to appear. I admit that the long set up is not for everyone, but I greatly enjoyed it knowing that most of the action would be pushed into future books in the series. I might change my mind once I read the next one and if it doesn’t live up to my expectations, I might lower my opinions of this one a little.
If you have any interest in reading a compelling take on Greek Mythology, then I would highly recommend giving this book a chance.