Honest and lively YA book reviews
“For the record I don't believe in Fate. I believe that the pieces have been placed. The ending hasn't been written yet.”
There's something about Greek mythology that I love. I don't know if it's all the freaky shit that goes down. I don't know if it's the relationships between the different characters which tend to be equal parts intriguing, fantastical and absurd. I don't know if it's the interesting, imaginative and creative way which these stories were told and used in an attempt to explain the way the world around us works in a time when scientific knowledge was limited. Or maybe it's just the fact that anything can happen, no matter how bizarre. Either way I think it's awesome and fascinating and I feel like Kendare Blake does a great job in Antigoddess bringing this mythology into the present day, adding a modern spin to the idea of the gods while maintaining each character's traditional traits and roles.
I actually love this book. I love it. It's speaks to me. It's sings the song of it's people to me - a little tune named Greek mythology.
It's an awesome portrayal of the well known characters of the Greek gods and their colleagues embarking on a kickass, cross country adventure of awesomeness:
Cassandra is a prophetess. She has terrifying visions of a bleak future which she struggles to make sense of, as well as being able to call the outcome of a coin toss every freaking time. She's living her life, chilling in her high school completely unaware of her own and her boyfriend, Aiden's importance in a changing world. Meanwhile, Athena and Hermes supposedly immortal gods, are dying - dying fast, along with the other gods of Greek lore in a host of freakishly delightful ways and are running out of time to find a cure for their deadly problem. When all their lives collide can Cassandra's powers win out over thousands of years of fate? Ooh - Shit. Just. Got. Interesting.
I adore the characters in this book. Sure, there's some two dimensional aspects but really, in traditional Greek mythology the characters are incredibly two dimensional each with their own specific roles to play and predictable overreaction to situations they encounter. So when you think about it, Kendare Blake was just sticking closely to the mythology. Athena is my favourite. She's smart, she's sassy and she's badass. She's dying a hideous death - consumed by feathers from the inside out and she drives the quest to find answers to this whole debacle. I like the modernisation of Athena's character with the tattoos and the piercings and all that jazz. And I like her ruthless nature. Athena is always the polar opposite of the well known and loved goddess, Aphrodite. She has little time for emotions and romance, being the god of war and justice and all. The idea is introduced in Antigoddess that perhaps Athena finds herself falling for the loveable Odysseus. This was a little bizarre, and I thought unnecessary but at least Athena's legs never once melted at the sight of Odysseus' golden locks. I can't handle this shit. Throw that overly-sentimental, drippy bullshit at me and I will throw up. Thankfully, Antigoddess was pretty much devoid of any mushy crap, so I'll let this inexplicable relationship slide.
Despite this, all the gods and goddesses stayed very true to form, and Kendare Blake keeps all the characters very close to their original personalities. The only thing that left me kinda confused is how did all this happen? And actually - what exactly is going on now? There's no explanation as to why the gods are dying. Is seems they just are. And Athena and the rest of the gang, decide that the best solution to this rather sticky situation is to make the whole debacle a helluva lot worse by going to war. So Athena and Hermes, with the shaky and somewhat reluctant support of Cassandra and Aiden, pit themselves against the strength of Hera, a mental Aphrodite and Poseidon. I loved the creativity poured into bringing these gods to life - some of the imagery is deliciously gruesome. But .... There's very little in the way of reasoning. All this shit seems to be going down simply becuz. That was often the way of Greek mythology though. Things seem to happen because they can, no logic required today please. To enjoy Antigoddess I think you have to be prepared to just roll with the story and enjoy the journey, without expecting too much sense and depth of plot line. Keep in mind what this story is based on and it becomes easier to swallow.
Despite her pouting I'm rather fond of the character of Cassandra. Her abrupt and undeserved forgiveness of Aiden bugged me however. I mean, that boy has pulled some wicked nasty shit on her. I'm trying (and, let's face it, probably gonna fail) to keep spoilers to a minimum, but tell me my friends, how would you feel if say, this real jerk of a guy rocked up and claimed to be in love with you, but at the drop of a hat, had no qualms about, oh I don't know - slapping a curse on you simply because you refuse to fall at his feet in adoration?!
"He was in love with her. He was the one who gave her the gift of prophecy to begin with. But then she pissed him off, somehow, so he cursed her. He made it so she’d always see [the future], but no one would ever believe her."
Aiden is revealed to be Apollo in teenaged boy form. And to be fair, the Greek gods were known well for their grandiose gestures, overreactions and damnable pride. So although by my regular life standards, Aiden has behaved like a real shit, particularly as he goes on to then lie repeatedly to Cassandra and make irritatingly cryptic remarks, this is all par for the course where Greek mythology is concerned, and in comparison to some of the other shit that goes down in the these myths, actually Aiden seems like a real stand-up guy.
But, despite her questionable choices, I like Cassandra. And I like the depiction of her and Aiden's relationship which is entirely without insta-love or any kind of triangle situation. There's nothing worse than a book descending into the triangle-of-lurve, never to be seen taking a breath or even doing anything remotely lively again. Antigoddess, though, I felt, never got itself bogged down and maintained a decent pace. Sure, there were some periods of the dreaded wilderness-survival as Athena and Hermes travelled across country to track down Cassandra, but because the story is told in the medium of dual POV, it never felt tedious. The switching between Cassandra and Athena's stories mixed things up and felt logical and smooth. I was never bored and desperate to get back to the alternate POV, which I often find is the case with books with this narration style. It's usually difficult not to pick sides, but in fact during Antigoddess, I enjoyed both viewpoints. Score!!!
The ending - aah the ending. It was fine. It was kinda abrupt but it was alright. It wasn't all sunshine and rainbows which I enjoyed immensely. I hate happily-ever-after which tends always to feel forced and fake. But I also kinda got the feeling that the intention of the whole book had simply been a set-up for the rest of this series as the conclusion wasn't very satisfying, which is a bit irritating. But despite the issues I felt with this book, I adored it. I love Kendare Blake's style. I like the world she has created here and I love these characters so I am super excited to see what the rest of the series develops into.
Ciao for now my friends!!