Thursday, January 16, 2014

Book Review: Antigoddess by Kendare Blake

Title: Antigoddess
Author: Kendare Blake
Publisher: Tor (Macmillan)
Release Date: September 10, 2013
Rating: 3/5

Cover Impressions: 
I really like this cover, though it doesn't quite have the impact of Blake's last two books.  The feather got me curious and I was glad to see how prominently it featured in the book - I wonder if this theme will continue with the next book.

The Gist:
The old gods are dying and that is something Athena simply cannot abide by.  With the help of her brother Hermes, she sets out on a mission to discover the meaning behind their affliction and a way to cheat death.  This path leads her to Cassandra, a young girl with visions of the future, and no idea that she is the famous prophetess of mythology - nor that she is not the only reincarnated soul in her small town.  But Athena is not the only Goddess searching for Cassandra.  There are other Gods, darker Gods who would like to use her for their own purposes - the question is, can she trust any of them?


I really enjoyed Blake's first two books and even chose Anna Dressed in Blood as one of my student bookclub books this year.  This one, however is missing the gore of her other books.  It is pretty tame by comparison.  Although, I will admit several moments of cringing whenever Athena had to remove a feather. 

It was also missing the unstoppable power that Anna held as a character.  In Antigoddess, I didn't quite love any of the characters.  I liked them, but they were a little bland and missed some of the quirks that make for really interesting and compelling characters.  I also felt like I spent most of my time, early on in the book, trying to figure out if the peripheral characters (like Cassandra's brother and friend) would turn out to be important characters from mythology.  That being said, I did really like the worldbuilding and the unique take on a fairly common theme (the death of the gods).   

While the premise was interesting, the pacing suffered from moments of lag.  There was a little too much talking for my liking.  It seemed like whenever a group of characters got together we were treated to lengthy discussions in which they hashed out issues from a millennial ago.  When we did get to the action scenes, these were quite well done.  The villains were true villains in their terrifying and damaged glory and we did have a few very effective death scenes.

I was a little disappointed that none of the big questions were answered.  I never found out why the Gods were dying or why they were dying in the manner in which they were.  Nor was it revealed why some Gods were spared or why the big baddies thought that they could save themselves by killing their kin.  I realize that this is the first book in a series, but I normally appreciate a little more information to be revealed. 

I did like this one enough to give the series another shot.  I am hoping that the second book will be a bit more compelling now that the initial getting to know the characters bit is behind us.

Teaching/Parental Notes:

13 and up
Gender: Both
Sex: Kissing
Violence: Hand to hand combat, explosions (buildings being blown up), near drowning
Inappropriate Language: Bitch, Whore, Asshole, Bastard, Shit, Fuck, Prick
Substance Use/Abuse: Underage drinking


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