Antigoddess by Kendare Blake

Posted December 12, 2019 by Amber in Reviews / 2 Comments

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Antigoddess

Antigoddess

by Kendare Blake

Series: Goddess War #1
Publisher: Tor Books on September 10, 2013
Genre: Fantasy, Greek Mythology, Mythology, Paranormal
Target Age Group: New Adult, Young Adult

Rating: ★★★

Check out this book on Goodreads

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 had a lot of hopes for this book, especially with the way it started out.  I really liked the atmosphere at the beginning, and I remember feeling similarly about Anna Dressed in Blood at the beginning as well, but like her other novel, Antigoddess is a lot of conversation and cheesy love story, and less excellent aesthetics.

The beginning, like I said, is great.  We start in a desert with Athena and Hermes, searching for Demeter.  We know that the gods are dying, each in their own way.  It’s creative and the atmosphere is spot on.  It’s slow moving, but it’s the beginning of the book.  After that opening sequence, I feel like that excellent, gritty feel to the story never returned.  The horror-aspects of the novel are fantastic, but they are few and far between, and the setting settles in upstate New York with very little focus on the world and a lot more focus on the characters.

These character talk a lot.  About their feelings, about what they’re going to do, about what they aren’t  going to do, about what they believe or don’t believe.  Kendare Blake set us up with a ticking clock at the beginning of the novel, one the characters are aware of, so the amount of time they spend driving around or talking to people and not really taking action is super frustrating.  Instead of having a tense story while the characters struggling to beat the clock, it dragged.  The story built up to a cumulation at the end that was generally unsatisfying and was still interrupted with a lot of conversation and reflection.

Ultimately, I think the two main story elements – romance and mythology – didn’t mesh together well.  Not to say that they couldn’t, but I didn’t believe any of it.  Antigoddess reads like a paranormal romance and it’s easy to forget the characters are all teens, because they don’t act much like teens, they do whatever they want, and there are no real world consequences to their actions.  The only difference between Antigoddess and an adult paranormal romance is the love story – puppy dog eyes instead of steamy sex scenes.  Otherwise, it is spot on.

And because of that, my opinion in skewed.

I don’t typically enjoy paranormal romance because I find I like the paranormal, and the romance utterly gets in the way of what could be a really cool plot.  Gods dying?  That’s awesome!  A reincarnated Greek figure in love with a God who jilted her and now they are talking about their feelings instead of figuring out a way to stop (or speed up?) the slow death of the gods?  Decidedly less interesting for me.

Additionally, everything was so convenient.  Cassandra’s character has evolved in just the right way that she can stop everything, but not in the way you may think with her character.  Plus we run into all sorts of conveniently placed heroes.  Odysseus, introduced early on, serves absolutely no purpose other than to be a distracting love interest for Athena.  Also, and this is just a personal pet peeve and runs into Percy Jackson as well – why are all the gods, goddesses, children, and reincarnations in the US?  No.

I spent a lot of this book being frustrated or annoyed.  Because, liked Anna Dressed in Blood, I think Kendare Blake has some real skill in world building… but she’s not using it to its full effect.  I want more of the story she started with, most deserts and wasted goddesses and deep struggle mixed with driven desperation.  Does anyone know of one of her books where the love story isn’t front and center?  I want to read that book.

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Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★★★
Plot: ★★
Characters: ★★ 1/2
Writing: ★★★★
Pacing: ★★
Narrator: ★★★
Personal Enjoyment: ★★★
Overall: ★★★

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Do you have a favorite Greek god or goddess?  As I mentioned, I have always liked Artemis!  Who is your favorite?

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2 responses to “Antigoddess by Kendare Blake

    • Amber

      We’d make a good pair, then! Each supporting one of the twins. 🙂 I think they’re both good – other greek gods like Athena, Zeus, and Hades steal all the spotlight. 🙂