Series: Goddess War #1 Genre: Young Adult, Mythology, Fantasy Publication.Date: September 10, 2013 Pages: 333 (hardcover) Published By: Tor Teen Website: Kendare Blake Antigoddess on Goodreads My review copy: Bought/Personal Library
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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. (Goodreads)
She swallowed again, and the pin of the feather poked her. She took another drink of water. In the old days, she would have been able to wish the feather right out of existence, to burn it up with a though, into nothing but a hiss and a curl of smoke. It was still hard to believe that this would be her end, that it would be so quiet and slow, her lungs filling up with feathers. It would be like breathing through a pillow. She wouldn't even be able to scream.
Hermes snorted. "Rarely. And never front and center. Face it, sis, I was always the Geen Lantern to your Iron Man." "Don't be such a nerd. Besides, you're mixing up Marvel and DC." "Who's the nerd?"
The tables had turned. Allies had shifted. Two thousand years ago, the three of them had made the world burn. Now it seemed they would do it again.
The Greek gods are dying and they are not going quietly into the night. I am a huge fan of Greek mythology and I absolutely love what Kendare has done with her version of the mythology. These are not the high and mighty, bad ass Gods I've read about before. These are pitiful creatures dying in horrific ways. Athena is chocking on feathers, Hermes's body shutting down, Demeter is slowing being stretched across the Earth for miles. Not pretty.
The narratives from Athena and Hermes point of view help the reader to understand the dire situation the gods are facing. Things don't look too hopeful and they aren't going to have much luck on their side when it comes to stopping their slow deaths, if there is a chance to stop it a tall. Athena is especially struggling with their situation as she was the Goddess of Wisdom and War, she shouldn't be losing, especially not slowly and painfully. I love her inner thoughts that "in the old days" she could have brought mortals to their knees, but now she can't even give them a migraine.
Interwoven through Athena and Hermes narrative is the story of Cassandra, a high school psychic, and her boyfriend Aidan. Cassandra and Aidan know nothing about the dying gods, but soon find out that there is more to this world then they know. I wasn't a huge fan of Cassandra in the beginning as she seemed flat and one dimensional, which is no good for a main character, but once she gets truly involved in the war, she gets all sorts of dimension and moved up the ranks in my mind. She also gets a resolve that I've seen in few characters and I know she's going to be so bad ass in Mortal Gods.
The two narratives help to speed the novel along as well as they are basically set in two distinctly different worlds (Athena and Hermes story is filled with all kind of Greek myth, while Cassandra and Aidan are in the "real world") but collide in a way that is nothing short of brilliant and masterful.
Antigoddess is definitely a page turner and a wonderful reflection of Kendare's talent. If you've read her Anna series, you know this woman in not shy when it comes to horrific and grotesque scenes, along with truly evil characters. And not just evil-bad-guy-evil, but the kind that will rip your heart out and eat it while you die and then dance on your dead body evil. I have a pretty high tolerance for horror, blood, guts, and all that but some of her descriptions made even me shutter.
I can't even talk about the ending. I mean, I can, but I won't. I'll just tell you that the ending is masterfully done and you will be turning pages like a crazy person. At least, that's what Joe said I looked like while I sat on the couch, hunched over the book, and freaking out when this or that happened. Whether it's a ghost girl being sucked into a hell dimension or Greek gods battling it out in the middle of the street, this woman knows how to end books to make you hunger for more.
A fresh take on a well known mythology, Antigoddess is filled with vivid imagery, creepy vibes, kick ass women, dark undertones, and twists that even the most well versed twist figure outers (it's a thing) will never see coming.
Side note, Joe went to New York Comic Con last year and I had him take my copy of Antigodess for Kendare to sign. So I didn't get to meet her personally, which is a bummer, but this is a pretty close second.
He didn't get the reference and just thought she was being mean or something. I had to explain it's from one of the best movies ever.
Welcome back, Kendare! I'm so glad to have you back on Bookish, this time for your wonderful novel Antigoddess, which you must now describe in tweet form (a 140 characters or less).
Ah, the dreaded elevator pitch. I suck at these. Let's see. The Greek gods are dying. Athena and Hermes want answers. Along the way they'll fight a war and ruin some mortal lives for old times sake.
I think that about sums it up! :) I am so in love with your take on the Greek gods. I'm a huge fan of the mythology in general and completely geek out whenever I can talk about them. I taught a high school mythology class once and I'm pretty sure the students thought I was nuts, but that's okay. Where did you get your inspiration and ideas for this series?
I find its always better when the students think you're nuts. They can probably relate. Also, cool! I wish I'd had the opportunity for a mythology class in high school. I had to wait for college, and then it was all serious. Some of the inspiration from this series came from reading a lot of Angela Carter. She's so visual, and mythical, and fantastic. I had this vision of dying goddesses. Athena with feathers in her throat, punk purple hair. Demeter stretched flat against the earth. And of course, I loved the Iliad and the Odyssey growing up. Hector was my first ever bookish crush.
Is that why you focus on the myth of Troy and the Trojan War? Because of the cute boy? Why did you decide to focus on this myth among all the others? I notice you acknowledged Homer, "or the multiple people who actually wrote" the Iliad and the Odyssey, so how much research did you have to do?
They are my favorites and I've always been a little obsessed with them. So I didn't have to do much. I was worried though, about taking liberties with them in the fiction...which I did, but I feared the backlash from readers who had strong identities carved out for the gods and heroes already. It was daunting to play with characters who aren't mine.
I can imagine that, but you do these characters justice. I think even then readers who have rather concrete imagines of the Greek gods can stand behind your interpretations, even if they are dying in extremely creepy and spine tingling ways. How did you come up with each individuals unique slow and untimely end?
It's almost like I didn't. A god would show up and I would see their wounds or their ailments. I didn't sit around pondering what might be happening to them. They arrived, said this is what's wrong, and I said 'huh. Sucks to be you." Apollo though, he was the tricky one. He wouldn't tell me. I didn't know, for the longest time. That's a frustrating thing about these quest stories, but it's also kind of fun. Like I get to quest right along with them. Some things I know from the start, sure, but a lot of it...I was just there for the ride.
Okay, I just had a fabulous image of you cooking spaghetti in your kitchen, Athena showing up and pulling a feather from the roof of her mouth, and shouting "This is not okay, Kendare! You need to fix this!"
Now, I know Mortal Gods teases Ares and that you cannot give away all your secrets (though you can always email them to me later), but will we being encountering other Greek gods and heroes in the upcoming books? Can you give us a hint as to who they might be?
The flap copy for Mortal Gods says that Ares shows up, and hints at Achilles. So I can tell you that they'll be there without giving away anything. But yes. There will be other gods. Other creatures. Achilles is it for the heroes though. We've got our mortal posse.
Let's pretend the Twilight isn't happening and never will. Which Greek god would you like to be?
Be? Athena. Or hang on...I think Hermes or Apollo might have more fun. As long as I'm not Zeus. That shit always seemed like a major headache.
Agreed. Can I have infinite power with the responsibility of keeping everybody in line? Thanks. For a bit more fun, finish these sentences:
If I was magically transported back in time to the Dark Ages, I'd . . . Die of some kind of pox disease almost immediately.
One time I spontaneously . . . combusted?
If I could tell the world just one thing, it'd be . . . That the world don't move, to the beat of just one drum. What might be right for you, may not be right for some! A man is born, he's a man of means, then along come two, ain't nothing what it seems cause it takes, different strokes, it takes, different strokes, it takes, different strokes to rule the world.
Just kidding. That's the theme song from the 80's sitcom, Different Strokes. But what the hell. It's a decent message.
Last book I bought was . . . Karen Russell's Vampires in the Lemon Grove and Marcus Sedgwick's Midwinterblood.
The favorite place I have traveled to is . . . That's a tough one. Well, hands down, London is my favorite city. I miss it. The only place I think of as a second home.
Thanks for stopping by Kendare! It was great chatting again! :)
Thanks for having me by for Mermaids & Myths Month, Bookish!
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