I have never heard anyone talking about this book but when I read the synopsis, I knew I had to give it a shot. Greek gods fighting against each other in modern times? Check. Trojan War heroes being reincarnated? Check. Gritty urban fantasy courtesy of Kendare Blake? Check. So basically everything I could ever ask for in a book. And let me say, Antigoddess (Goddess War, #1) ended up being just as entertaining as I was hoping for.
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.
Kendare Blake really knows how to write dark stories and it definitely shows in this book. The action is fairly graphic and gritty, painting some not-so pretty pictures in your head. But I love that. It’s a bit more unusual in YA novels and I appreciate that Blake wasn’t afraid to go there in this book. I think that risk really paid off, as it mixes well with the urban fantasy genre. I also really enjoyed the overall plot of the story. It was an interesting twist to your typical story involving mythology. I think what was most surprising to me was that the story almost takes a turn into a retelling of the Trojan War, but this time focusing on the fight between the gods, with the human heroes being relegated to side characters (minus Cassandra).
Speaking of characters, the two main POVs in the book are goddess Athena and prophetess Cassandra. I felt like Athena wasn’t quite what I had always thought her to be – cold, fierce, and calculating. I understand why Blake wrote her to be more worn down and not as brilliantly minded, but I was a little disappointed none the less. I hope that as the series moves along, she will regain back some of that intelligence that she’s always been known for. As for Cassandra, I wasn’t particularly a fan of her character in the beginning. She was quite boring and lacked any interesting personality traits, other than being able to see the future. However, I started to enjoy her more as her character progressed in the story and she began to remember her past life. There were a few different side characters that I don’t want to say too much about without spoiling some surprises, but I will say that Hermes is probably my favorite character. He’s a little sassy and I felt that his overall personality felt true to how he is typically painted in different myths. I mean he is the god of thieves after all!
I think my only issue with the book was that that pacing was a bit off, especially in the beginning. Each chapter switches between Cassandra and Athena which caused a few issues for me, as I found Cassandra’s chapters to be fairly boring. I was much more interested in the adventure Athena and Hermes were having as they traveled cross-country seeking help from other mythical beings. However, this was remedied once all of the characters finally got together midway through the story. Once they get together, things begin ramping up really quickly and I found myself unable to put the book down.
Overall, this was a really fun and unique story. It is a bit graphic and dark, but I thought that made it mesh really well with the Greek myths that we already know. It ended on a bit of a cliffhanger and I cannot wait to pick up the final two books in the series to see how it all ends. I foresee quite a bit of ass-kicking occurring and I am so ready for it.
Final Verdict: 4/5 Stars
Have you read Antigoddess? How would you compare it to Kendare Blake’s other novels? What did you think of Cassandra’s character?