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Series: Goddess War #1
Rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
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.
Aaaaaaaghghghghgghhhhh – y’all, reading this book was the most frustrating thing I’ve done since ever, second only to my experience with Throne of Glass. First of all, if there’s any ounce of enjoyment to be had in the first two-thirds of this book, I urge anyone interested in this book NOT – I say again, NOT – to read the synopsis. It gives anyway literally anything that’s worth reading for in the first half of the book.
Let me back up. In essence, this book has all the crazy and cool elements of a bad ass read: dying gods? That’s all I needed to hear. But the way Kendare Blake tackled the structure really drained any possibility of enjoyment from the process. We first meet Athena, goddess of war, and Hermes, god of thieves, trekking across the desert to seek answers as to why they are dying these slow godly deaths, in Chapter 1. Then we meet Cassandra, Aidan, Andie and Henry, seemingly normal high school kids – with the exception of Cassandra who can predict the future – in Chapter 2. Athena narrates her chapters, and Cassandra narrates hers.
And then, a few chapters in, that changes, and I can’t tell you how many books have done that to me recently which just kills any merits the book may have gained up to that point. It’s structurally unsound and sloppy as hell, especially when all the head-hopping didn’t only happen within chapters; soon, it also took place between scenes or even paragraphs. Seriously, I was almost every time the pronoun “she” was utilized after Cassandra and Athena crossed paths. So we have a head-hopping nightmare to contend with, but there are italicized thoughts scattered throughout that should help, right? Non. Mostly, it backed up my “bad writing” theory. I quote:
Some of the serenity drained out of Celine’s large brown eyes. Her warm smile faltered and became brittle.
She’s afraid. She’s known all along the danger we brought with us.
It must’ve killed her to put on a demure face and play the polite hostess.
Now, I flipped to a random page and found that quote, but they’re literally everywhere in the book. Something will happen, someone will have a thought (as shown, in italics) and the show goes on. How hard is it to stay in the third person omniscient? Because this book is somewhat limited, but not in any true sense. The head-hopping goes to show. There was one scene where Athena, Odysseus, Hermes, Cassandra, Andie, Apollo/Aidan (not a spoiler) and Henry are all in one room, and by the light of day I could not figure out who was doing or thinking what most of the time.
And then, because we are following so many people at once who are all trying to figure out the same things, we as the reader have to re-learn information from another character when other characters find it out first. It’s one of the things that is almost never executed well, as was the case with Pivot Point, which I didn’t like at all (see the pattern here?). The same problem viewed from 3-4 or even 5 different angles makes you wanna scream at the characters after so long to just figure it the hell out already! Catch up to me, damn it!
But like I said before, this book’s one saving grace are indeed its characters, and my absolutely favorite was Hermes. He’s made out to seem pretty flaky and undependable, but he’s actually the bravest and strongest of them all, I think. He stays at Athena’s side even when she berates and questions him, as well as Apollo/Aidan and even Cassandra. The guy’s a fuckin’ hero! Which is probably why he was my favorite – the underdog, the guy pushed to the wayside. He was just there for Athena to lean on, it seemed like, before Odysseus entered the picture. He was okay, I guess. Kinda meh. Athena was kind of unlikeable at first – awfully whiny to be thousands of years old – but she grew on me SPOILER »
especially when she choked Cassandra to death. Apollo was selfish. Henry was cool. Andie was annoying but okay, I guess. Cassandra as well. She left me feeling a whole lot of “meh” for such an important character.
Actually, another one of my favorite characters was Artemis. Heheh. She only appears in a vision, but something tells me she would’ve been a great addition to the ensemble.
If you’re gonna read this book, do it for the story, and don’t expect to be wowed. It could’ve been handled much better. Not to mention, the writing was just not strong enough to carry the weight of the plot. I walked away unimpressed, but what can I say? I’ll definitely be reading the sequel. I wanna see where the story goes.