In Kendare Blake's Antigoddess, the Greek gods of myth are alive and, well, dying. While some scamper to survive and turn cannibal, Athena and her brother Hermes seek out answers and a means of protecting themselves from the war soon in coming. This was my first Blake read and, while there were elements I disliked, I enjoyed the overall story and its one MC, Athena. She was my favorite Greek character during my Greek myth phase in middle school, and I liked seeing this older, modern-world version of her.
What I liked:
- The modern twist on Greek mythology. It's not the new original character "children of gods" or (more than one) god in high school, but the actual Greek gods, complete with the grudges of the past.
- Athena. I'm not sure this story would have worked as well with any other goddess. She's a strange, dangerous mix of wise, but inexperienced; caring, but harshly realistic and practical; weak and tired, yet angry and strong. She refuses to die. She cannot imagine giving up and wasting away. She is determined to overcome or die trying.
- Oddly enough, the romance. It wasn't overbearing and took backseat when more important matters arose. Aidan and Cassandra fit well without being lovesick teenagers. And using romance, or the threat thereof, to develop the character of the goddess of battle and wisdom (and make her uncomfortable)? Yes. :D
- Characters die! Seriously, part of the synopsis is that the gods are dying. Somebody had to die or I would have felt jipped.
What I didn't like:
- The characters seem to be focusing too much on what I what I would call the symptoms. I want to know the root cause of the gods dying! Which, I know, is probably being saved for later, but still. I want to know now.
- A lot of "coincidences." I'm reserving judgment as I get the feeling this is part of a bigger picture and will be explained in the next book(s).
- We're a little too removed from the main villains. We don't see them up close much and they don't play a really active role. It didn't bother me a ton as this is an interesting character driven story, but a little more direct involvement from the main baddies would have helped make the fear of them more understandable.
- It's a small thing, but I was thrown when the author threw in that "his tastes rarely ran toward women" line. It doesn't match any of the character's behavior/dialogue in the story (or his original mythology, I think). It comes out of nowhere, like the author was filling her politically correct quota for the day and/or tossed it in to ensure readers don't suspect/look for any romance between Athena and Hermes. These are the Greek gods, after all.
- Language. It was all going pretty smoothly, nothing major, nothing much; then a certain Brit says the f-word once and the floodgates opened. You're thousands of years old! Why don't you have larger vocabularies?
I am definitely willing to read the next book and see where the author takes this story...and which desperate, dying gods she'll bring into play next. If you're interested in Greek mythology with a modern twist, you'll probably enjoy Antigoddess. It's not the most unbelievably awesome book in the world, but it's an easy, fun read.