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by Kendare Blake
Tor Teen Book, 2013, $17.99, 333pp
Release Date: September 10, 2013
Antigoddess is fantastic horror, or horrific fantasy, I’m not sure which, but either way it is wonderfully good.

A couple of thousand years after their heyday, the gods of Greek mythology are still immortal, and still have some of their signature powers, but they are not what they were. In fact, they are dying.

Alliances and allegiances between gods were ever precarious; only a few friendships never became their opposite. On the other hand, some enmities never faded. So when Hermes and Athena, still friends and companions of many ways, set out to find the truth about what is happening, they quickly find that other gods are their greatest peril. Athena, the goddess of wisdom and justice, guesses who their enemies are, but even she is caught off guard by Demeter’s advice to find the reincarnation of a certain mortal, one with the gift – or curse – of prophesy. Wouldn’t a fellow god be more helpful? But the gods themselves are in dire need of help. Maybe, just maybe, a teen-ager with an unusual boyfriend, and a few other reincarnated souls who retail their predilections for meddling in the affairs of gods and monsters, can make all the difference in the world. If not, it’s going to get even uglier. Now gods ARE monsters.

I loved this book. It’s vivid and gripping and tantalizing: Blake kept me wondering who would be revealed as god or hero, and how. There are jokes and puns and allusions, and even as I mourned for my favorites – Blake and I have the same favorites, it seems, and for the same reasons – I savored the power of the storytelling.

One of my favorite passages starts on page 87:

Celene smiled. “Those who have the most power are the most inclined to believe in more power, in endless power. They are also the most desperate, the most fearful of losing everything. And so they pay us .…”

And that is just a sample of the author at her somber best. The light-hearted moments are just as deft.

The cover announces that this is Book One of The Goddess Wars. I hope the sequels are already in the works, because I just found my next author to follow. ~~ Chris R. Paige

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