Monday, April 20, 2015

Review: Antigoddess - Kendare Blake

Antigoddess by Kendare Blake
Series: The Goddess War #1
Genre: YA, fantasy
Published on September 10, 2013
Published by Tor Teen
Pages: 333
Read From: 3.28.15 - 3.29.15

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 way that is only just beginning. 
Because Hera, the queen of the gods, has aligned herself with others of the ancient Olympians, who are killing off rivals in an attempt to prolong their own lives. But these antigods 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. Other become monsters. All of them rage against their last breath. 
The Goddess War is about to begin.


Dear Antigoddess,

From the moment I saw your synopsis, I've been wanting to read you. The mixed reviews you have been receiving only made me want to pick you up even more. Finally, I did. And my suspicion was 100% correct.

It is the 21st century, and Athena and Hermes - in the guise of nineteen-year-olds - are on a mission: to discover why the dogs are dying - and how to stop it. Their hope lies in Kincade, New York, with Cassandra, who is the Cassandra of Troy reincarnate. But Cassandra doesn't know who she is, and she has no idea that she's suddenly being hunted by gods.

I'll be honest, Antigoddess - you could have been so much more. You have a cool concept and you are written with the dark sense of humor I have come to expect from Kendare Blake. And I realize that a lot of questions went unanswered because you are the beginning of a trilogy.

But there was something that fell a little flat. For the most part, I was cool with your portrayal of the gods. Athena, Hermes, Apollo - they are not what they used to be. They are less - hardly gods - because they have been forgotten; are no longer needed. I thought this was very effectively reflected in the gods' behavior, moods, and even actions and way of thinking. They're dying and they're no longer important to mortals; they're tired and a little depressed about it. We readers are not seeing them in their full glory; we're seeing them at the end of it.

It's a new take on the gods - and I approved.

There were, however, nigglies. At times, it felt like the plot was running in place: stuff was happening, but it wasn't really going anywhere. I was not entirely pleased with your portrayal of Odysseus - my favorite hero (except Hector). Honorable, clever Odysseus who spent ten years trying to get back to his wife - reduced to a womanizing, hormonal teen. His time with Calypso and Circe wasn't his fault - and I am not entirely certain The Odyssey says he shared their beds (a logical assumption, I suppose, but hello - he was bewitched!).

Perhaps the biggest niggly was Cassandra - who can still see the future and is apparently cursed so no one will believe her except Apollo. It is never made clear whether or not Cassandra's brother Henry and best friend Andie are just humoring her. But they never say they don't believe her, either, and they certainly act like they do. Why? If the curse remains, how can they believe her?

For a relatively short book, Antigoddess, I did find you an enjoyable, distracting read. You have holes - many of which I hope your sequels answer. And you had lots of blood and weird stuff. You have potential that was only halfway realized, but maybe will be fulfilled.

Feeling optimistic,
Mara A.

Others in The Goddess War Trilogy:
2)Mortal Gods


  1. What a neat synopsis I agree, but thanks for sharing your thoughts though good or bad! I hope to see you around my blog


    1. I've heard the series gets better with the next book.

  2. I agree that the book had a few slow points and definitely could have been more, but it was fun for what it was. The second book didn't work nearly as well for me, but you'll have to let me know what you think. Nice review!

    1. I really enjoyed the fact that unlike a lot of authors writing mythology retellings, Kendare Blake chose to present the gods in a vulnerable light. It was very different. I've been hearing mixed things about the second book, so I'm really curious to delve into it.


Thank you for visiting The Reading Hedgehog! The hedgie and I love hearing from our readers, so please feel free to leave a comment or question! I always try to reply within a day or two. Please keep all comments civil and clean.