3.5 The good: the heroine actually has to work at getting her powers working, is tested and it's not the kind of tests like in the awful The goddess Te...more3.5 The good: the heroine actually has to work at getting her powers working, is tested and it's not the kind of tests like in the awful The goddess Test. She's likable, she's smart. The plot moves fast. The action scenes are good. The premise is great. I love time travel, mythology and seeing how someone from our times would fare in the past. And Zeus- it's hard to write a romance with Zeus, so I was curious.
The not so good: some language struck me as too modern. While the ancient folks in the book didn't know stuff about iPhones and Facebook, they shouldn't have been using modern methaphors and american teenager speech patterns. I suppose I could try to explain this as Zoe's mind translating things to sound more modern...
The gods - ok, they are powerful, spiteful and selfish - I can buy them acting a bit like teenagers, but they lacked some more nuance, depth. the cliques and the typical high school, popular couples behavior as seen in american films was a bit much. Not subtle at all. I get that we're ment to find out that history has changed some things about them, but I'd have thought there'd be some more similarities - basis for why Zeus is known for his cheating ways, etc. No Demeter and Hermes as a woman... ok. Why not a gay couple? This Zeus as the leader of gods - I'm not sure I buy. Perhaps if they were much younger... I guess it's the problem of having readers who already have some idea what to expect of the mythological figures. I kind of liked the character of Zeus in this book, as long as I stopped reminding myself he was supposed to be the mythological Zeus. And so the Romance while being ok overall, just didn't work for me for Zeus. I guess I hoped for more conflict stemming from what we know of him from mythology.
For teens. For someone without much knowledge of greek myths, or less conservative about them ;) this would be a good book, though. Light, romantic, entertaining. This would make a great teen movie, actually.(less)
I'll definitely be checking out this new series. Feels a little similar to Vampire Academy, which is not bad, but its not a calque so far. The story d...moreI'll definitely be checking out this new series. Feels a little similar to Vampire Academy, which is not bad, but its not a calque so far. The story doesn't quite have a 'completed' feel but as an intro to this world and the main character it's alright. And it deals with Greek mythology- always a plus for me.(less)
How many times can you mention the words 'Gypsy gift' or 'Gypsy magic' in a short story? Well, this story manages to do it far too much. I'm bafled by...moreHow many times can you mention the words 'Gypsy gift' or 'Gypsy magic' in a short story? Well, this story manages to do it far too much. I'm bafled by the use of the word 'Gypsy' as if it was some mythical race and it takes me out of the story every time. It's an ethic group in reality. One branch of my family has Gypsy roots. You can't disasociate that word from reality for your novel.
It's a pretty pointless story, imo. Nothing new to learn that isn't mentioned in the first book. (less)
3.5 It's a good YA retelling but feels a little underdone. I'd have liked a little more depth to other characters. Persephone is pretty well described...more3.5 It's a good YA retelling but feels a little underdone. I'd have liked a little more depth to other characters. Persephone is pretty well described and goes through some changes but the others are barely there. I'd have liked a little more about Hades and his relationship with Persephone. Once she's in the Underworld their relationship changes very little. Mythology wise, it's not bad, though I was surprised that the Kore/Persephone aspect wasn't mentioned (her changing her name along with her status). The author sidesteps the question of who Persephone's father is and never mentions the relation between Demeter and Hades either - which isn't bad, at least it's not whitewashing it by insisting no gods were related like some other retellings do. The governing of Underwolrd felt very modern, as did some turn of phrases here and there. The style of writing is rather simple and, well, I suppose Persephone does sound like a teenager. I liked the first part more than the rest, overall it was OK.(less)
Gods don't have to be omnipotent and omniscient. They certainly weren't in many mythologies. Greek gods, especiallly were much more human-like than th...moreGods don't have to be omnipotent and omniscient. They certainly weren't in many mythologies. Greek gods, especiallly were much more human-like than the Christian god. So the whole point (subplot) in the book of underlining how Dionysus and his fellow Greek gods aren't truly 'gods' was, well, pointless imho. They have powers, they are not human, worshiped, other. Capable of seeing beyond the mortal world. I'd have liked less emphasis on the Mother - sure, there were strong cults like that in that area but they did not figure prominently in Greek myth. though I guess Crete did have somewhat different culture.
Other than that it is a very good book. Among the ones I've read that tried to retell the myths this one is pretty close to perfection. It's not too cleaned up, christianized or modernized. There's still plenty of bloodshed and humans and gods acting like idiots and playing with fate and lives. It also makes the myth of Ariadne and the god Dionysus far more interesting than they ever seemed to me before. It delves into what life on Crete could have been like and how the court and life of a priestess could have looked like. It's fantastical but with mentions of enough things that seem real enough that it rings true to the myths. The only other thing that I didn't care for was the 'obstacle' between Dionysus and Ariadne that doesn't get resolved until the end. I found it too unbealievable. (too reminiscent of bad romance novels, I guess...)(less)
It's not bad, an overview that doesn't really go very deep but tries to cover everything. So for an introduction to myths, it's probably ok.
The chapt...moreIt's not bad, an overview that doesn't really go very deep but tries to cover everything. So for an introduction to myths, it's probably ok.
The chapter about Slavic myth - the ones I'm most familiar with, is based on three books (or so the bibiliography shows) two of which are about Russian tales and myths and one is from 1956. It isn't quite what I hoped for. Too little about other Slavic countries than Russia, and some mentions of the errounous old mistakes - like mixing Lithuanian and Polish gods and not mentioning the controversy over Byelobog (did he even exist?) and wether there was such strong duality in Slavic myths or not.(less)
2.5 the second book might be better but I'm not sure I'll read it.
I liked the prequel a lot but the more and more I read this book the more dissapoint...more2.5 the second book might be better but I'm not sure I'll read it.
I liked the prequel a lot but the more and more I read this book the more dissapointed I got. You just can't ignore how damn similar it is to Vampire Academy.
Secondly, at times the dialogue was rather painful. Alex was supposed to be so clever and insightful at times (psychoanalyzing Aiden) and was so blind in her judgement of others (Lea, Marcus). She felt inconsistent - one moment aware of the seriousness of the situation - training, dealing with grief, the next -partying, mouthing off and doing her best to fail at her goals, apparently. So I found it hard to emphasize with her.
The first half of the book -there is barely any plot. Parties and high school dealings and pseudo deep talk between Alex and her love interest. Then things speed up a little and it becomes more original. But too little too late.
You could substitute the Greeks for any other pantheon and it would not be much different. It's just that thinly presented. A shame, as I love mythology and Greek myths in particular are so easy to research too, but here it's just a couple of words here and there, exclamations like 'gods' and that's about it. Very americanized.
There were times were I felt some more description was needed. It felt very bare. Alex makes a big deal of wanting to wear a uniform when she meets her step father but it's not at all described other than color.
The way Alex obsesses over Lea and vice versa I was half expecting them to have a fling or something. At least that would have been a nice change from the 'vampire academy' feeling of this book.(less)
I think what bugs me in these books is how diminished and almost down to earth the gods and myths are. I'd rather they be a little more larger than li...moreI think what bugs me in these books is how diminished and almost down to earth the gods and myths are. I'd rather they be a little more larger than life. Everything is so modern and kiddified that it doesn't quite feel grand enough for the genre - good vs evil, titan, olimpians, demigods, and yet I don't quite feel the grandeur, the epicness. Somehow JKR managed that better. the Camp still doesn't quite have the presence that Hogwarts and the wizard world do. Perhaps it's the briefness of descriptions. This magic world feels smaller, less populated, beacsue it relies on modern objects as substitutes for the mythical it feels less mystical/fantastical too, to me.
I don't like the idea that to be Artemis' huntress a girl has to remain a child. I think a better message would be that a girl can chose at whatever age to forsake romance (and being dependant of a man - as was the case in Ancient times) and remain unattached / selfsufficient. If we're adapting the myths to modern times then Artemis could have easily led a bunch of buisness woman too.
It's like taking the myth about world creation and making it tell about the creation of a town. The hero too seems downsized. OK, he's young, but he doesn't feel like a demigod at all. Rather dense, impulsive average boy, not particularly likable. I like my heroes a little more special, a little more heroic (in the classical sense). Still, I'm sure children will love these books. I realize most of my negative comments come from being a mythology enthusiast and most kids probably know very little about it, so the things that annoy me wont bug them.(less)
Read half of it and skimmed the rest. Technically it's not badly written, but my interest fizzled out. It starts off alright but the main plot slows d...moreRead half of it and skimmed the rest. Technically it's not badly written, but my interest fizzled out. It starts off alright but the main plot slows down and drags. The characters ok at first, got on my nerves later on. I did not like Dean at all nor the romance bits. It's very dialogue heavy and there's a lot of snarky talking, it just didn't work for me at all, not really my style of humor. The chapters felt somewhat disconnected. What were the greek gods for? Sure, I liked that bit, but it felt random. The idea seemed interesting: A supernatural hotel, kind of, with vampires, werewolves, ghosts, talking cats, retired gods, portal to Hell. And yet... boring, somehow. (less)