Review: Kendare Blake brings a fresh, suspense-filled take on the ancient Greek gods in ‘Antigoddess’

Kendare Blake has a lot of fans, thanks to her awesome book Anna Dressed in Blood. She’s starting a new series with Antigoddess, which brings the greek gods roaring into today’s age in a wonderfully fresh way. What’s the book about? Here’s the summary:

Blake_antigoddessThe Goddess War begins in Antigoddess, the first installment of the new series by acclaimed author ofAnna 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 heard Kendare speak on a panel at SDCC, and I fell in love with her. This girl is freaking hilarious. And witty. And has some really poignant things to say. And all of these things are present in spades in Antigoddess. I laughed out loud frequently (it’s pretty funny hearing ancient immortals using current colloquialisms and pop-culture references with sarcasm, distain, and humor). I also really enjoyed the alternation of chapters between the main female protagonist, Cassandra (the reincarnation of an ancient prophetess, which is very cool), and some of the gods. It helps to see where they are coming from regarding the conflict that Cassandra gets pulled into the middle of, and it adds a lot of depth to the backstory, which helps me feel a lot more for the well-being of the characters.

There’s an interesting romance angle, but it isn’t front and center. There are nice little make-out bits shoved in here and there, but that’s not the point of this story. However, it adds a lot to the progression of the tale, and it rounds out the characters nicely. Plus, hey, who doesn’t want to make out with a hot golden god who can literally warm you with his touch? It’s pretty fun watching Cassandra experience all of these things.

There are a bit of f-bombs dropped, and some honest, real teen language (i.e. a bit crude sometimes), so if you’re put off by that be warned, it’s there. But it didn’t bother me, if anything it made what the teens (and ancient immortal gods) say feel more realistic.

If you’re a fan of mythology, this is a must-read. Also, there’s some great suspense and tension, as the book always has you wondering what’s around the next corner. This is another one that I fell asleep to reading, a sign that it’s impossible for me to put down. I can’t wait to see what happens as this series progresses.

Antigoddess is out today, September 10th, 2013, by Tor Teen.

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