by Kendare Blake
To be published by Tor Teen
on September 10, 2013
Source: ARC from the publisher for review
Connect with Kendare Blake: website | Twitter | Facebook.
Summary from Goodreads: 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.My take: I loved Kendare Blake's Anna Dressed in Blood and Girl of Nightmares and could not wait to get my hands on this book!
I've read both the Odyssey and the Iliad, the latter recently as part of a great free program called Reading Odyssey, and I think that having a familiarity with the Iliad really helped me understand Antigoddess and its characters. (Note: I have never seen the movie Troy, but watching that would probably work too, and you'd get to look at shirtless guys for two hours.)
We are more monsters than gods now. But some are worse than others.The book begins with Athena and her brother Hermes crossing the desert on a desperate quest for answers. The gods are dying and can't figure out why or what to do, but Athena and Hermes are told by Demeter that they must find an oracle. Meanwhile, in upstate New York, a teenage girl called Cassandra amazes her friends with her psychic parlor tricks. Hmmmm… I'm not psychic, but I can guess what girl Athena and Hermes might be looking for. The story shifts between their perspective and Cassandra's until their paths finally cross.
I loved Kendare Blake's writing style in the Anna duology and I also love it here. But for me, the great pleasure of Antigoddess was its creativity and sly wit. Kendare Blake has taken each god and goddess (or mortal Trojan war character) and updated them to the present day. Athena and Hermes are on Cassandra's trail and end up at an escort service. There they find this guy in a private room hanging out with three beautiful women and it's …. nah, I'm not going to tell you. But I laughed. There was one character that I was positive was a Trojan war hero and … yep, I was right. I loved the fact that the book featured Greek gods who wear jeans and watch Robert Rodriguez movies. And are kind of living in a Robert Rodriguez movie. There are explosions, car chases, fight scenes, and epic showdowns. It's pretty fun. And, on another level, sad and pointless. As I was reading the Iliad last year, I was struck by a) the futility and bloodshed of war and b) how all the gods kept butting in to change the course of the war in a way that didn't really seem fair. In Antigoddess, some of the the alliances and betrayals of the Trojan War are revisited, rehashed, and reenacted. The characters also debate whether their fates are predestined, or whether they might be able to escape them.
For the record, I don't believe in Fate. I believe the pieces have been placed. The ending hasn't been written yet.My only tiny gripe about Antigoddess is that I expected, at some point, to find out why the gods are dying. I mean, maybe not the whole reason, but just a hint? A clue? I'm that kind of person who wants all the information. Now that I've finished reading, it's clear to me that Antigoddess is just the first installment in a longer story. The ending was one of those "wait… what?" endings, so I'm very curious to see what happens next. If you haven't yet read this book, I recommend that you forget about getting all the answers and just sit back and enjoy the ride.