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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Antigoddess (Goddess War #1) by 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.

Released: Tor Teen                       Pages: 333
Publisher: September 10th 2013    Source: Library

First Look: ****Greek mythology?  Athena and Hermes?  Random feathers?  Sure, why not?  

Setting: ***** 
The setting didn't play a huge role in this book, but a fair amount of it took place in an overly-stereotypical high school.  Yes, high schools don't differ all that much, but I just wished it had a bit more attitude, something to make it seem real.  Other than that, I have no comments.

Characters: ***** Cassandra is an uninteresting protagonist.  She hardly does anything--she just lets the action happen around her.  When her boyfriend, Aidan, reveals his true identity, she doesn't react like a real person.  (spoiler)  Oh, my boyfriend is actually a Greek god?  Sure, why not?  Give me a break.  No one would buy it that easily, and even if they did, they certainly wouldn't be as okay with it as Cassandra is.  She still trusts him, still has the same type of relationship with him as before.  Even though there's a millenia-wide age gap.  And then, when she....erm....comes into her power, it's the same thing.  It has seemingly no effect on her.  She still acts like the exact same person, even though she clearly isn't.

Athena and Hermes are more interesting.  I love the dynamic between the two, getting a small glimpse into an ancient and complex relationship.  Their interaction with all the other ancient, mythological beings is also much more interesting than any of the human characters.  Also, it doesn't work well to have two prominent characters named Aidan and Andie.  Think about it.  They almost even use the same letters, save one.  Andie got on my nerves, anyway.  She's too shallow to seem real.  She's really only there for comic relief, but she's annoying rather than funny.  Can we please stop the level-headed-protagonist-has-to-have-annoyingly-cheerful-and-peppy-best-friend trope please?  

Plot: ***** I never loved the plot, but I didn't hate it, either.  It moves along at a decent pace, but it never truly grabbed my interest, either.  There's a lot of road-tripping and high school party shenanigans.  (When will people in books learn to never, ever go to the Halloween parties?  If someone's going to get killed or otherwise hurt, that's where it'll happen.)  The whole things feels more like a prologue--like it's leading up to something that never comes.  It feels a bit repetitive, but the main reason why I was never invested in the plot itself was that I didn't care about the characters.

Uniqueness: ****It's an interesting and modern take on Greek mythology.

Writing: ***** I feel the same about the writing as I do about the plot.  Maybe some of this is due to the fact that this review has been delayed, so it's been longer than usual since I read the book.  Still, though, I never felt any of Cassandra's feelings through the narration.  The book alternates points of view, with Cassandra and Athena switching off every chapter.  Athena's half of the story interested me more, but her voice hardly differs with Cassandra's.  Wouldn't an ancient goddess tell a story differently than a teenage girl?  Yes.  The narration, however, doesn't reflect these differences.

Likes: N/A

Not-so-great: Why is it called Antigoddess?  The term anti-god is used once in the book's description, but that's the only time it shows up.

Overall: This book had so much potential, but it made me more bored than anything else.  Athena and Hermes have an interesting half of the story and are somewhat fleshed-out characters.  I can't say the same for Cassandra, Aidan, and anybody else.  The plot might've been better with more compelling characters.  The writing style made no distinction between the narration of a teenage girl and an ancient goddess.  Overall, I didn't dislike this, but I doubt I'll read the sequel.

Similar Books: It weaves together mythology and modern life, like Mist, the Percy Jackson series (and their spinoff series), The Red Pyramid, or Loki's Wolves, though those last three are more MG than YA.

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