The immortal Greek gods aren’t so immortal after all. Never a pleasant lot to begin with, the idiosyncratic ways in which they are dying have made them more than a bit testy . . . and not above destroying the earth and each other in a desperate bid to stay alive.
On one side of this fray are Athena and Hermes, sent by Demeter to find the reincarnated prophetess, Cassandra, who’s now living as a teenager in upstate New York, completely unaware of her past life and baffled by her latest round of disturbing premonitions. On the boo hiss side are Hera, Aphrodite and Poseidon, looking for a couple of reincarnated Trojan heroes, and eager to get their hands on Cassandra as well. As each group races to New York, carving out a swath of death and mayhem along the way, neither fully realizes Cassandra’s pivotal role in this oncoming war, not the fact that she is protected by a god.
Kendare Blake’s Antigoddess does for the Greek gods what Anna Dressed in Blood did for ghosts–confirm their dark and gruesome abilities while also revealing a hint of humanity in these inhuman beings. Readers unfamiliar with the Greek gods and their mythology may get a little lost because a fair amount of background information is assumed. But like the Percy Jackson series, this could entice new interest in Zeus’ family, and what a family it is. . . .
Liberal references to the Trojan War and the journey of Odysseus clearly recall the cruel and inconsequential ways the Greek gods bandied about mere mortals, even their favored heroes. Luckily, several centuries later, at least a few of the gods are regretting their past behavior and trying to make amends. But real angst and emotional depth was never something the gods displayed in the past and that, unfortunately, is still in short supply now. They did, however, excel at springing into action and wreaking havoc, which go a long way toward propelling the story’s pace and suspense. While this is not a character-driven book, as the first of a trilogy Antigoddess does introduce an interesting mix of gods and mortals who will, hopefully, continue to evolve as the storyline progresses. Until then, readers can root for Athena.
Slowly suffocating from the owl feathers that are sprouting inside her, Athena, the goddess of wisdom and the leading opponent to Hera, fears she’s fighting a losing battle, yet determined to find answers before death takes her. Athena’s the equivalent of a sarcastic Princess Leia without Hans Solo, and the most engaging character in the story. She shares equal page time with Cassandra, who spends half the book unaware of her reincarnated self and, despite her clairvoyance, living a rather uneventful life. Clearly, Cassandra will play a greater role in future installments as her awakening power progresses.
Fans of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series or Anne Ursu’s Cronus Chronicles will find Antigoddess reveals a darker, grim side to the gods, but for a different twist, this is one book well worth checking out.