Antigoddess by Kendare Blake

AntigoddessTitle: Antigoddess

Author: Kendare Blake (Anna Dressed in Blood and Girl of Nightmares)

Genre: Mythology/Paranormal

Publisher: Tor Teen

Pages: 333

Rating: 4/5

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.

This book was a bit of a roller coaster for me before I even picked it up. I was initially very excited about it because I had really enjoyed Kendare Blake’s Anna duology and this new book involved mythology. Then, the longer in between reading Anna and getting my hands on this book, and the fact that I wasn’t too impressed with the cover (I feel differently about it now because the feather has meaning after reading the book) made me less impressed. Then, I started hearing some good reviews and I was excited again. So I didn’t have any idea how this book would turn out after feeling so differently about it before it even came out. Luckily for me, it turned out just fine.

I love mythology, so I knew this book would either make me really, really happy or frustrated with its twists on mythology. This book had a bit of both for me – sometimes I had a bit of a hipster attitude and was frustrated that the book could throwing in these bits of mythology and changing them slightly because obviously I love mythology and therefore have supreme power over these deities that existed centuries and centuries before my grandparents were even alive. For the most part, though, I liked the twists on mythology, especially the fact that the gods still seemed pretty screwed up and twisted but were more accessible at the same time.

I do have one issue that is more with YA books about mythology at large than this particular book: what’s with all the Hera hate? Many of these mythology books have different gods as the villains and heroes, but Hera is one of the few who never really changes. Sometimes she’s annoying but harmless, other times, like in this book, she’s practically evil incarnate. Hera in mythology was not always a nice woman, that’s for sure, but she was mainly cruel when she was attacking the many women her husband slept with. No, I’m not saying that she should have done that, but why is she so villainized and Zeus is mostly left alone when he’s much more responsible for the mess? Stop trashing on poor Hera for once and make her the nice Queen of the goddesses with a bit of a jealous streak. I just want something different, like this book with its supporting godly antagonists.

Back to the book, though. There were dual points of view – Cassandra and Athena – and sometimes I liked that while other times I just wanted to go straight back to one character rather than switching points of views every chapter. They were also very long chapters, which I suppose was a good thing because it forced me to read longer if I just read a chapter or two a day, but was a problem when I kind of forgot what was happening with one character because I spent so long in the other character’s head.

If you thought Blake’s Anna duology was gory and violent, this book is pretty similar. From hearing about the feathers growing inside Athena to the destructive battles between gods, there were some pretty bad images you had to read about. I don’t like gore at all, but as long as I tried to move beyond those scenes and focused less on the gory descriptions, I was fine, so I think most other readers will probably be fine with that. And I did appreciate it, just because you’re talking about immortal gods, so violence, especially over the top, is kind of expected unless you want a really watered-down book about Greek gods.

The ending reminded me of another mythology series (Wildefire) that had a pretty sad, deadly, but realistic (well, realistic for a book about gods) ending. It’s not a very happy ending, but at the same time, it’s the right ending, and it does end slightly hopeful. It definitely made me want to get my hands on the second book, which unfortunately doesn’t come out until 2014. So, in the meantime, I’ll calmly wat and reread all my mythology books!

4stars

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