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Monday, September 2, 2013

ANTIGODDESS by Kendare Blake | Review

Antigoddess by Kendare Blake
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Contemporary/Mythology, 336 pages
Expected publication: September 10th 2013 by Tor Teen
The Goddess War begins in Antigoddess, the first installment of the new series by acclaimed author of Anna Dressed in Blood, 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.

I loved the Anna Dressed in Blood duology.
I have more than a tiny obsession with mythology.
I harbor a bit of a girlcrush on Kendare Blake.*
Kendare Blake wrote a modern mythology retelling.

Sounds like a recipe for a book I could love, which generally means I won't, because the world is funny like that ha ha ha. But fortunately, this was one of those cases of me loving a book just as much as I was hoping to. I absolutely loved Blake's modern take on Greek mythology, the Trojan war and the Twilight of the Gods. All the petty jealousies, rivalries and cavalier attitudes of these familiar dying gods translated well to a modern setting, and Athena's growing shame over who they've all been - and whether they deserve their fates and afflictions - brings a much-needed humanness. Yes, it's missing some of the humor and lightness - and surprisingly, some of the gore - that characterized Anna, but honestly, I respected that. I want a tone and style that suits the story, not the same thing rehashed a million times with a different title and characters. Blake gave us two voices, Athena's and Cassandra's, and stayed true to those voices, and it works.

The alternating points of view worked for me, which is something that's always really dicey. I love the idea of alternating POVs, but I often don't like the execution. Even when it's pulled off admirably, I don't always think it's the right choice for the story, but in this case, I do. I can't really picture not getting both Athena's and Cassandra's stories in this way; I loved each and thought each was needed, both for contrast and for creating the whole picture. Cassandra is strong as a modern girl, and their two stories, hers and Athena's, act in tandem - as one becomes a little more human, one becomes a little more cold and god-like. And you know how normally when there are multiple POVs in a story, you sort of pick a favorite and can't wait to get back to it every time it switches? I actually had that feeling with both, which was interesting. It's "I can't wait to see what happens next" x 2. But it wasn't just Athena and Cassandra that drew me in; I liked seeing how other characters from the myths have changed and grown - and how they've stayed the same.

Some may think Antigoddess feels longish or repetitive, but I actually thought everything was needed and fit the story, and gave us time to get to know Athena and the gods. Even when it's circling the same ground, it feels like it's building towards something big - and Blake is not one to shy away from ripping the reader's heart out and then showing it to them, bloody and barely beating. [I both really respect her for this, btw, and want to shake her for it. She makes the same decisions I would make, but look, I'm used to my cruelty. I'm not used to having it turned back on me...] All told, I can't wait for book 2 and seeing more gods crop up, more betrayals and weaknesses exploited, more getting in touch with human side and fortifying the godly side, etc. If you liked Anna (or thought you'd probably like Anna, but were afraid of the gore...), or like mythology or retellings, I'd definitely recommend you pick this up.

*But the restraining order hasn't gone into effect yet, so it's cool.

Want a taste of the style? Here's an excerpt I recorded a little while back, 'cause the beginning was awesome and I had to share it. =D


  1. Yay!! Super glad that you liked it. I'm glad that Kendare Blake STILL has not disappointed.

    1. And SHE WON'T, if she knows what's good for her... ;)

      Seriously, though, I love her/this. I was thinking about it long after I'd finished. Can't wait for the next one. =D

  2. Tee hee. I am so very glad. This has been on pre-order for the LONGEST time. So, glad it's September when a streak of books I've been dying for finally come out.

    1. Seriously. There are SO MANY BOOKS coming out right now!

  3. I have had Kendare Blake's Anna books on my wishlist for a long time, but haven't taken the plunge yet. Truthfully, this sounds more my thing.

    Enjoyable review, thanks!

    1. Ooh, you definitely should. She creates very memorable characters, and her style just pulls you along.

  4. I came across this book not that long ago while browsing and on a Greek Mythology kick...I have been wanting to give it a read.

    1. Pretty much anything Greek mythology ends up on my TBR, but this is one of the better, more interesting ones I've ever read. Really excited for where it's going.

  5. Oh this sounds good, I've always been intrigued by mythology but recently discovered that I LOVE when the old gods meet the new world. Definitely adding this one to my TBR!

    1. Oooh, you'll like this, then! Definitely let me know what you think when you read it. =D

  6. So I've loved mythology since I was a kid and I've been on a bit of a mythology binge. I just bought both of Rick Riordan's series that are after Percy Jackson. These are on a different end of the spectrum but still! Mythology! I need to get this!

  7. A very fast paced, fun read. Another great book from a talented author. Much in the vein of Anna Dressed in Blood and Girl of Nightmares, Antigoddess will inspire and cause he reader to think.


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