Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “House of Many Gods” as Want to Read:
House of Many Gods
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

House of Many Gods

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  519 Ratings  ·  76 Reviews
From Kiana Davenport, the bestselling author of Song of the Exile and Shark Dialogues, comes another mesmerizing novel about her people and her islands. Told in spellbinding and mythic prose, House of Many Gods is a deeply complex and provocative love story set against the background of Hawaii and Russia. Interwoven throughout with the indelible portrait of a native Hawaii ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published June 26th 2007 by Ballantine Books (first published 2006)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about House of Many Gods, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about House of Many Gods

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Oct 19, 2008 Katie rated it really liked it
Shelves: female-author
this book was beautifully written. it follows two stories that gradually interweave. one about a native hawaiian family struggling with poverty, drugs, and unjust u.s. military practices in hawaii. the other about a boy growing up in post world war two russia.

much of the book was horribly depressing, as it dealt with the effects of nuclear testing on civilian populations. thinking of all the lives lost, genetic mutations, birth defects, and cancers caused by all of the nuclear fallout is really
Larry Dunlap
Nov 03, 2014 Larry Dunlap rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in long wonderful novels
Recommended to Larry by: via Kaui Hart Hemmings
Shelves: literary-fiction
Kiana Davenport's book House of Many Gods is a wonderful generational novel, beginning in the mid-Sixties and running to present day, along the Waianae coast of Oahu, a neighborhood largely unknown to the outside world. It houses the third-largest homeless population in the United States, made up of mostly ghettoized native Hawaiians. In this novel, set in a house shared by many and various mothers, their children and the occasional father, a story about a young girl takes place. Abandoned by he ...more
Jul 03, 2014 Erin rated it it was amazing
Kiana Davenport is at her best when describing the world of Hawaii's native people, and she does it well here. Touched with lyricism and the language of a people unknown to many of us, this novel rings with truth and leaves the sadness and mystery of a real life in its wake.

Ana is raised in her extended family's home and yearns for her absent mother. Redemption, forgiveness, and acceptance must all be taught at a hard price to Ana and her mother in this novel. At times I wanted to shake Ana; th
Nov 01, 2016 Brendon rated it really liked it

See original review here:

House of Many Gods by Kiana Davenport was the only book by a Native Hawaiian author I found at my local library. My library did carry a selection of the “top books about or set in Hawaii,” but unfortunately those books are written by White authors or non-Native Hawaiian authors born or living in Hawaii. Kiana Davenport is biracial, Native Hawaiian and White. Her father came to the islands when he was stationed at Pearl Harbor an
May 13, 2017 Danielle rated it liked it
I found the history in this book interesting but the misery was sort of overdone, even for me, to the point that it stopped losing meaning. I also didn't find the love story believable so I didn't feel invested in it. I would try another one of her novel's, but this one was just so so for me.
Oct 15, 2016 Wendy rated it liked it
Shelves: hawaii
This is a beautifully written book, full of evocative imagery and memorable characters. I feel like I learn something about Hawaiian culture and heritage when I read Davenport's books and this one is no exception. However, as much as I found the passages about Niki's childhood near a Russian gulag captivating, I felt that story line detracted from the main story and felt like 2 stories merged into one. I also felt that the plot events in post Glasnost Russia were a stretch, at times being hard t ...more
May 04, 2014 Stefaniab rated it it was amazing
This was a wonderful book, especially if you have an interest in Hawai'i and the maoli kanaka (local folks). Davenport's story tells how ohana (family) and hoa aloha (friends) can sometimes hurt but ultimately heal. I loved her main characters. They certainly rang true for me. The book's secondary theme--worldwide environmental pollution caused by nuclear waste--I felt was handled in a predictable and sometimes heavy hitting way, though I have the same point of view as Davenport.

Reading others'
Mariabruna Sirabella
Storytelling at its best

I never get tired of Kiana's use of language. She uses words like paint and her scenes are a delight to the senses - then the breeze comes and they come alive. It is a treat to hear the Hawaiian culture honored in her well researched books.
Jul 10, 2010 Ann rated it it was ok
What I liked:
*descriptions of Hawaii, its landscape, people and culture
*learning about how the U.S.government used the Hawaiian Islands as bomb testing grounds, which destroyed the environment and imperiled residents' health
*experiencing a different economic class than is usually portrayed in novels about Hawaii
*the idea of the plot (two people who have been bruised and battered by their circumstances find an unlikely love)
*the cover

What I disliked:
*few of the characters were believable
*I found
Sep 13, 2014 Naomi rated it it was amazing
Silloo and I read this aloud together. We both loved it. It is a love story between a native Hawaiian woman, abandoned by her mother and growing up in poverty on the dusty, unforgiving Wai'anae Coast of Oahu, and a charming, damaged Russian who was born in a gulag during communism's horrors. The story is anchored in the deep, earthy tribal spirituality of the indigenous Hawaiians, their tradition of story and family. This is counterbalanced with a hair raising visit to post Glasnost Russian wher ...more
Jun 23, 2011 Kristina rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
This was a nice book about both Hawaii and Russia. I have to admit that I didn't find this to be exactly a page turner. It took me about three weeks to get through it and while I was interested in the characters, I wouldn't say it was riveting. I guess I felt this way because I found the main character a little standoffish. She spent half the book hating her mother then the next half ignoring her family. She couldn't get over the events that happened to her and actually live. At times I just wan ...more
Missy Sherriff
Feb 25, 2013 Missy Sherriff rated it liked it
A 3.5 for me. Beautifully written at times, but I felt the author tried to do too much. The book would have improved dramatically if it had been more focused. There was definitely one central character, but other characters and their stories were ALMOST as central, and although these characters were integral to the main character, their stories should have been presented more as background and less as equivalent story lines. It almost felt like 3 separate but related novels should have been writ ...more
Feb 16, 2013 Sandy rated it really liked it
For fans of Kiana Davenport, this book does not disappoint. It again explores history - this time that of Hawaii and Russia. It again challenges the reader to explore current day issues - this time the potential consequences of environmental pollution. And, again, she draws us into the lives of people damaged by drugs, war, poverty, stubbornness and despair. Kiana Davenport has a gift for describing Hawaii and its people while weaving in several detailed, and sometimes odd, story lines. Whether ...more
Aug 22, 2009 Susan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rated-five-stars
I read this when it was first publishes, the third of Davenport's novels set in Hawaii. This story extends from Nanakuli, on the island of Oahu, to Archangel'sk, in Russia. Usually I devour good stories, but this one floored me. I would read a little and begin crying, pretty soon sobbing, and I couldn't read the words, so I would have to put it down and come back later to the story. And the story, oh my, love, loss and redemption in abundance. I couldn't pick up another book for days after finis ...more
Val Wilkerson
Feb 15, 2011 Val Wilkerson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012-books-read
Another great book by Kiana Davenport. Her two main characters are Ana, native hawaiian
girl, raised by her aunties & uncles after her mother left her when she was only 4 to
move to San Francisco. It seemed like a cruel thing for Anahola, her mother to have done,
but you fall in love with the aunties and uncles. Makes you think about your own aunts
and uncles and what a truly important role they play in our lives. The other main character
is Niki, born in Russia into poverty and cold. Ana & N
Mar 31, 2008 Holly rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people interested in Hawaiian and Russian Cultures.
Shelves: cultural-novels
As a transplant to Hawaii, I am always interested in learning more about the Hawaiian people and their culture. This story takes place on the Waianae coast of Oahu, a largely poor Hawaiian area. It is a story that weaves together themes of Ohana (family), especially mothers and daughters, the politics of marginalization of cultures, the detrimental effects of military bombing and toxic waste and a love story! The lead male character is from Russia, and the book describes the harsh conditions mos ...more
Nov 14, 2013 Roxanne rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
This was a beautifully written book, and I loved the scenery from both the islands and Russia, but the book as a whole didn't really come together for me. I wasn't feeling the passion between the two main characters that led to the dramatic ending. I think that was actually the author's intention, since these characters were pretty messed up and incapable of normal emotion due to their unusual upbringings, but it just didn't gel for me, especially with Ana. I look forward to reading more by this ...more
Dec 13, 2009 Janet rated it liked it
Shelves: novels
This was a difficult book to get through because of the amount of pain in it. In fact, I returned it to the library about two-thirds of the way through, thinking I didn't want to keep experiencing it -- but the characters continued to haunt me, so I checked it out again to finish it. I'm glad I did. The story is ultimately a redemptive one, asserting the power of love and family.

This story opened up a previously unknown-to-me world of native Hawaiians and the cultural and ecological impact of ou
May 29, 2008 Margot rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, hawaiiana
In House of Many Gods, Davenport brings together the disparate cultures of Hawaii and Russia in this novel of cultural history, personal longing, political activism and government control. The most obvious connection Davenport makes in the book between the two places are the military bombing of the Hawaiian islands, specifically Makua Valley, and the Soviet nuclear fallout and testing on her own people and land. This book filled me with a strong sense of melancholy every time I picked it up, so ...more
Mirah W
Jul 22, 2011 Mirah W rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed the historical backdrop of this book...the Hawaiian and Russian cultures, languages, and histories. And also to see the parallels between the lives of Ana and Niki. I like that the characters were flawed but even in their flaws they had positive aspects. Sometimes Ana would bring me down. She seemed to think her life had been harder than anyone else's. She didn't really step out of her comfort zone and recognize she wasn't the only one suffering until towards the end of the book ...more
Al Canary
Jun 07, 2012 Al Canary rated it really liked it
As with some of this Author's previous work, I had to remind myself that it was fiction. I found myself weeping at the the storyline which (I found) beautifully written. And really had to strain my credibily thru some of chapters. EX; 1. Nikolai's birth circumstances. 2. His adult scarring explained as the marks of wolves gnawing at him, while in a semi-frozen state. 3. Ana's baby arrives 2 Mths early, but presents at a very healthy 8+ pounds.

All in all a very riviting read... Well done & I
Mary Ann
Jul 16, 2011 Mary Ann rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: People who like Hawaiian or Russian culture.
Recommended to Mary Ann by: review
What I enjoyed most about this book were the vivid descriptions of Hawaii and Russia. What I didn't like was the way they were morphed together in the same book. There were some vauge similarities, but generally these are two completely opposite cultures that would be very difficult to weave together. As separate stories I would have enjoyed them much better! All that said, the book was well written and I enjoyed the author's style. I will look for other books by her in the future.
Aug 03, 2012 Gini rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hawaii-polynesia
LOVED this book and I highly recommend it, whether yoga re a lover of all things Hawaiian or not. It is a well-crafted tale of two cultures, Hawaiian and Russian - fairly odd bed-fellows but with more in common than one might think. Loved all of the ancient Hawaiian customs and language, and the huge family dynamic. Highly recommend this.
Nov 21, 2008 Casey rated it liked it
Kiana Davenport write prose like it's poetry. I loved seeing Hawaii from her eyes. Oh, and books with maps always light my fire a little bit. This one has two! And a Hawaiian phrase glossary in the back. You don't need it to understand the book. My interest leveled off toward the end. I still need to skim the conclusion...
Doranne Long
Mar 21, 2013 Doranne Long rated it it was amazing
Kiana Davenport is one of my favorite authors. She writes with gritty truth. She helps me to understand life is not easy for many and there are many layers to our lives, some of them not pretty but they form us to be who we are. I have more respect for others' lives and cultures; it is not my place to stomp all over someone's life, culture, or land!
Oct 26, 2010 Stacie rated it it was ok
Shelves: group-read, borrowed
This book was OK - I never felt the need to abandon reading it, but it didn't really pull me in either. I was not drawn to the writing - I felt it jumped around too much, and really didn't lend itself to truly great character development. It had good moments that had the potential of being great, but just fell short to me.
Cat Jenkins
Dec 26, 2016 Cat Jenkins rated it really liked it
Such strong, poetic imagery is applied to such depressing subjects that, even though you may not want to read about cancer, poverty, can't stop. I'm not entirely on board with the story...particularly the ending with its unlikely connections and unexplained subterfuges, but I do love how this author writes.

Sep 27, 2015 Tori rated it it was amazing
Lush culture and prose. I especially loved the chapters in Nanakuli. As a Hawaiian of blood and upbringing, I found Kiana Davenport's portrayal of our culture and recent issues to be poignant and relevant. The Russian stories were equally emotional. The POVs waver a bit with what felt to me a careless use of pronouns, but that was a small annoyance for such profound reward.
JR Foster
Dec 20, 2014 JR Foster rated it really liked it
Excellent book, I felt so engaged and engulfed in the whole story! Very descriptive as far as the backdrop, & backgrounds of the characters and just the overall emotions of character narrative detail provided individually in every chapter. KD's a great story teller indeed! I'm looking forward to reading her other books! This book definitely met my expectations!
The story of a native hawaiian girl meeting a russian man. I like how the author compares and contrasts the people/culture/landscape/values. Mostly I enjoyed reading about Oahu and its people and natual beauty. Gotta love escapism
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Last Aloha
  • Hawaii's Story by Hawaii's Queen
  • Broken Trust: Greed, Mismanagement, & Political Manipulation at America's Largest Charitable Trust
  • Calligraphy of the Witch
  • Honor Killing: How the Infamous "Massie Affair" Transformed Hawai'i
  • Bird of Another Heaven
  • All I Asking for Is My Body
  • Name Me Nobody
  • East Wind, Rain
  • Obake Files: Ghostly Encounters in Supernatural Hawaii
  • Sons for the Return Home
  • This Is Paradise: Stories
  • Aloha Betrayed: Native Hawaiian Resistance to American Colonialism
  • Every Fixed Star (Tender Ties Historical, #2)
  • The Betrayal of Liliuokalani: Last Queen of Hawaii 1838-1917
  • God Lives in St. Petersburg and Other Stories
  • Voodoo Dreams: A Novel of Marie Laveau
  • Queen of America
KIANA DAVENPORT is descended from a full-blooded Native Hawaiian mother, and a Caucasian father from Talladega, Alabama. Her father, Braxton Bragg Davenport, was a sailor in the U.S. Navy, stationed at Pearl Harbor, when he fell in love with her mother, Emma Kealoha Awaawa Kanoho Houghtailing. On her mother's side, Kiana traces her ancestry back to the first Polynesian settlers to the Hawaiian Isl ...more
More about Kiana Davenport...

Share This Book