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.
It’s normal and completely expected to see novels and films that feature mythology, gods, and goddesses set in places and time periods that fit the stories and legends on which they are assumed to have taken place. Blake departs from this expected and well-established pattern, instead putting the gods and goddesses of myth into the modern world. A world in which they clearly do not fit in and where their meddling and use of humans garners very different reactions than during the historical periods in which they flourished. In one passage, Hera wreaks destruction on Chicago. The attack is speculated to be terrorist related; there isn’t even the smallest mention of the wrath of a goddess as a potential cause of leveled buildings and multiple deaths.
I’ve always had an interest in mythology, but, at the same time, gods and goddesses have always seemed rather one-dimensional. They were motivated by simple desires and their personalities were very straight forward. They didn’t have the complexity of, for example, human heroes featured in their stories. In Antigoddess, Blake gives these characters more malleable shapes and complex personalities, in a way, humanizing them. They are still very much set apart from humans, having living countless years and experiencing the invincibility of eternal life, but Blake creates a situation in which they are brought down from the throne of godliness. Suddenly, these timeless beings are forced to face the possibility of an end… of death. Death not only humanizes them, it makes them feel small… vulnerable… emotional… accountable. Through this unique premise, Blake’s novel says something very important about the nature of humanity.
Even a reader who knows very little about mythology will enjoy and be able to understand the importance of the gods and goddesses featured in Antigoddess. Blake weaves a significant amount of detail, leading the reader to bits of information and background deatil without becoming overwhelming or falling into the habit of dropping large amounts of overwhelming information on the reader.
I highly recommend this first installment in The Goddess War series. With Antigoddess, Blake sets the scene for the series to reach epic proportions and I can’t wait to see where she takes readers next.