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Fantasy Discussions > Angel Hernandez's "Brandywine Investigations"

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Ulysses Dietz | 1673 comments Brandywine Investigations: Open for Business
By Angel Martinez
Mischief Corner Books, 2016
Cover by Mila May
ASIN: B01EPCX32U
395 pages
Four stars

Imagine that, after thousands of years, Persephone has decided to divorce Hades (who kidnapped her, after all); forcing him to move out of the Underworld and get a job. Hades, feeling lost and disoriented, decides to establish a private detective agency on the Brandywine River in Wilmington, Delaware. He is aided by his boatman on the River Styx, Charon, who takes on the role of sidekick to droll effect.

Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson books built a young adult franchise on the premise that the ancient Greco-Roman gods are still very much alive and involved in the day-to-day affairs of humankind. Angel Martinez’s Brandywine Investigations triad takes this intriguing jumping off point two steps further. First, she posits the notion that ALL the gods of ALL human religions are still alive and active—in varying degrees, based on how well they’re remembered. All of these gods, goddesses and related creatures are still out there, trying to cope in a world that in some cases barely believes in them. On a darker note is the notion that it is the meddling of the less, um, warm-hearted of these beings that causes much of the ugliness in the world today. That’s a little disturbing, but Hernandez plays this out thoughtfully and I give her credit for the attempt.

This hefty book is comprised of three closely-interconnected novellas previously published individually: “Canines, Crosshairs & Corpses,” “No Enemy But Time,” and “Dragons, Diamonds & Discord.” To be honest, each of these books needs the other two to feel complete, and thus bundling them into a single substantial volume was a great idea. Within these three tales of life in modern America (yes!) we find not only Hades, but his nephews Dionysus and Hermes, his nieces Aphrodite and Artemis, his son Zagreus, the dragon Fafnir from Nordic myth, and a fallen angel named Michael, who is Zagreus’s boyfriend.

Which leads to the second step that Martinez has taken: she presumes that the Greco-Roman gods of western antiquity were by-and-large bisexual. Clearly, with a gay-romance audience in mind, this was sort of a no-brainer. Indeed, I wouldn’t have read these without that twist on tradition.

And I’m glad I did. There are all sorts of variant themes of paranormal/human interaction on the e-book shelves these days; but I love what Martinez has done with the premise here. Seeing these mythical beings in the context of the modern world, presented as akin to corporate executives or elected officials, is to be reminded of what a massive soap-opera the world of Olympus was.

I didn’t give this series five stars because Martinez can’t quite resolve all of the complicated issues she raises in a way that has the kind of moral heft I’d like to see. There are some really loose ends that are never resolved by the end of the book, and while I loved the romantic plotlines, I wish the overall premise had been kept a little tighter.


message 2: by Meghan (last edited Jun 17, 2018 11:07AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

 Meghan (mm_reads) | 31 comments Open for Business and Family Matters contain the series of 6 separate books.

I love everything Angel Martinez. Almost all 4-5 stars. This is a good one, not the best of her work, but still quite good and enjoyable. I like the characterizations of the myths and humans and her interpretation of how the myths would blend in with modern society.


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