Jam's Reviews > Gods Behaving Badly

Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips
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's review
Sep 26, 2008

liked it
bookshelves: familiar, thisshelfmightbeaspoiler
Recommended for: people that like fluffier Gaimen
Read in August, 2008 , read count: 1

** spoiler alert ** Holiday reading.

This book's chief feature for me is that it falls under what I'd tag (if it wasn't also a spoiler) of "this is not the happy ending you seem to think it is". The basic plotline is appealing, if not especially groundbreaking*. The Greek gods are stuck in an increasingly run-down house in Primrose Hill, while their powers get weaker. They can't leve, they have just enough power to keep things ticking over, but doing anything other than general maintainance is a huge waste of resources. They more or less all loathe each other, they're utterly bored with ech other.

And they're generally sociopathic. In the opening chapter, Artemis gets angry at Appollo for turning a woman into a tree for rejecting him ("I suppose a blowjob's out of the question."), not so much for the act, but for the way it used power they can't afford to lose. She doesn't approve -Artemis is the closest thing to a nice one- but she understands.

The story kicks off when Aphrodite makes Apollo fall in love with a human, a nice scrabble-playing cleaner, setting off a chain of events that lead to petty revenge, death, a trip to Hades and... well, you know the sort of thing.

The punchline is unsurprising-- power is linked to belief! The drain is fixed when people start to believe in them! Which seems to be pretty much the standard god-power-explanation thing these days. The problem is that it has what seems to be a happy ending, what is in some ways a happy ending, without really getting in to the fact that on the final page, godlike power once again rests with a bunch of sociopaths who are unlikely to get any better, and any lessons they've learnt about humanity will probably be quickly lost when they can once again turn people into gorgans for being raped or killed for accidentally seeing them naked.

It's not a bad book and entirely adequate holiday fare. It's not a novel idea, but it's nicely written, it has some good scenes and nice bits of characterisation, but I can't quite get over the fact that the happy, fluffy endinging leaves the world in care of self-absorbed pyschos. That's not a happy ending in my book, even though it is in this one.

Also, no real mention of gods from other cultures, which is a bit disappointing.

*in terms of urban fantasy/mythology stuff.
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