DNF. Was too cheesy and cutesy without much to balance it out for me. I guess I just prefer the used🩹 band🩹 aid 🩹retelling.
Book review: Warriors, Witches, Women: Mythology’s Fiercest Females by Kate Hodges (Author), Harriet Lee Merrion (Illustrator)
I learned a little. Very introductory but a good global smattering. Would be a good buy for a teen in your life. The art was sometimes too basic and stiff to be a point of interest for me.
Book Review: Paternus by Dyrk Ashton
Unfortunately, I was forming too many questions that weren’t getting answers so I started skimming this grimdark, mythpunk novel. What I found did not make up for the more cringey aspects of the writing and character development. I was willing to hang in there for the plot but so much of the exposition wasn’t logical to me (the ontology of the gods, etc.). This is a DNF for me, but if you have answers to some of the problematic examples I have below, let me know. I’m willing to listen but I wasn’t willing to keep reading. This book is potentially offensive to those who still practice religions whose “characters” become caricatures (especially Hindu gods mentioned) and there’s some glib references to things like the first and second “Holocaust” of mortals, which could be triggering. There’s a lot more showing than telling in the writing, as other reviewers on goodreads have pointed out, but the story becomes a thesis of another white man trying make all religions one which I rolled my eyes at. I get that other authors (below) have done the same thing, but this was just a really shallow and dude-bro version of it. A lot of the male reviewers giving this so many positive reviews confirmed this for me.
First, I liked the idea that this book was indie and that the updated cover to this novel reminded me of Percy Jackson (not that I like that series, it just seemed like a response to it/like that is what it was selling). The cover looks like one of the opening scenes in Percy Jackson with the minotaur, but it might actually be a buffalo on the cover? But the gods in this novel feel more cartoony – like in Thundercats or Gargoyles. Humanoid beings that seem to be a statement on Egyptian depictions over the real reasons Egyptians put animal heads on their gods. Like that seems to be what I can make out based on other reviewers, but correct me if I’m wrong. It also seems silly to depict them like this in light of the fact not all Egyptian gods were depicted with animal heads. But I’ll move on.
Where I really get hung up, and why I held out for as long as I did, was the mythos. The ontology and cosmology of gods. To its benefit, it doesn’t seem to hinge on the same “Gods need prayer badly” trope that American Gods does. Apparently there is a “Father” character (thus the title?) that is the creator/head of all gods in all mythologies. This reminded me of Father in The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins, who creates the next generation of gods from mortals but different in that Mount Char’s Father can create his replacements and step down (a Demiurge?) and he never claims to be the creator of all of the other gods of all past religions, I don’t think. There’s more complexity left open in that book (that I really really recommend!).
In Jo Walton’s Thessaly series there’s a similar thread, where Apollo explains that Zeus is really the head of all of these different circles of mythical deities (ie goes by many names, whatever). There’s really only one supreme being and all religions are connected and answer to Him. It feels very monotheistic to some degree — like no, no these little gods really answer to one transcendent father figure, thus implying there is a big-g God like in Christianity. I think even Jesus is brought up in that part of the book and later in the series there’s this bastardization of Christianity that forms from a child who was taken from a specific timeline but was never really well educated on his religion so it’s this warped interpretation. It’s…interesting. But it’s not the most interesting part of the book to me. It’s funny looking back on how The Just City tried to suppress a Christian monotheistic view in some sense (within its characters censoring some texts, I think?) yet its own cosmic gods seemed to answer to a monotheism. I think that’s the irony of Neoplatonism in general? I don’t know. I’m not a philosopher. Anyways, my point is this isn’t a new thing Dyrk Ashton is doing, and there’s a few who did it better. The Automation by anonymous is another one that does something syncretic, yet it doesn’t make overt claims on what is/who is The One or big-g God, but it’s implied there is a system that functionally could include reasons why all religions/myths exist. It just doesn’t waste it’s time listing its reasons and it certainly doesn’t try to make other religions fit into a box for a novel. Things are left open to interpretation and belief, as they should be.
This is my biggest beef with a novel like Paternus. I think it’s fine to say that all religions are true, but it’s another to rewrite how they are true or say “they are one.”
I also think this erases the arguments religions have with themselves. Christianity is perhaps a response to how Judaism was “wrong” or needed to “change” in its view. Islam was formed out of similar “arguments,” you could argue. The fact there are so many religions based on a single conversation is interesting, but to pick a side in a novel can invalidate an entire population. It also doesn’t always feel right to butt one conversation into another conversation happening when you don’t have much to add. I don’t know. This is something I’ve struggled with as well as other writers. I think it comes down to something like the “Elvis” argument I’ve heard for Black Music recently. Are you paying dues to the culture you’re taking from or are you like Elvis and stealing to make your brand? With this book, are we rebranding literal religions? But let me make another point.
Take this quote from Paternus for example:
“Though the name given to The Rhino by his father is Arges, the one early clan of watoto took to calling him Hephaestus, a name later appropriated by one of the insolent petit gods he’d trained as a smith. The peoples of Asgard called him Völundr, then Dvalinn for a time, and their descendants on this world, Wayland the Smith. The Romans knew him from stories passed down for generation as Vulcan. To the proto-Hungarians he was Hadúr, god of fires and war, and in cosmologies of Africa he is remembered as Gu, Vodun of iron.” p.120
So, there’s a lot going on here but I’m lead to wonder why there’s no mention of Prometheus, since actually Hephaestus would have been a “petit” god after him and their mythologies largely blended at times (Who made Pandora? Who released Athena from Zeus’s head? Depends on who you ask). You can’t say the same of Arges and Hephaestus at all. Their myths don’t overlap so it’s hard to know where Ashton is coming from, comparing a cyclops to an Olympian. Likewise, the Egyptian equivalent of Hephaestus would have been Ptah, but another character in the novel is said bear that persona. This incongruity just really made me sigh when I found it.
On a positive note, Ashton really tried with the female character. You can tell his heart was in the right place, never mind some of the awkward things he chose to focus on. Fi really takes center stage as the MC. But the corny dialog was just too much to make it count for me. Dyrk Ashton seems like a very interesting and nice guy who has lived an interesting life. I’m glad he’s writing and has been able to get so much attention as an indie author but I think I’ll just wait for what comes next from him rather than continue this series. I feel like there’s something better that can come from him.
Other reviews I agree with:
– 80% through the book and still there is no indication of what first borns are, where their power is coming from and what they are up to! When the reader does not know about basic rules of the world, then everything that happens seems like divine interventions and when everything feels like that, it is hard to stay engaged as you cannot expect what comes next and whatever comes next does not make any sense. The book looks like a movie with tons of CGI which you cannot enjoy as there is no explanation for them….Shoving tons of mythical characters in a book does not make it cool! This is not an action movie that the more CGI you put into it the better it gets! The story should make sense. Those mythical characters should fit into the story.
It’s not enough for the book to explain that a character is one god in a Pantheon but it then has to spell out all the gods they are in all pantheons, who their mother is, and how they feel about life. This can go on for pages and is often right in the middle of impactful events. Funnily enough, the main characters constantly ask for an explanation and don’t get a full one until like 60% and 80% into the book.
One scene this hit me the hardest was when we have a relatively minor character who is dying, and as they are dying they reflect for a solid page or two on how they feel about humanity.
The pacing/explaining is hurt further by the constant POV swaps, literally between paragraphs, and the LOL random moments that occur.
On the bright side, I really like Fi. The Fi/Edgar relationship was super great. Would have loved to see more of that. Zeke, on the other hand, was insufferable. Zeke reads like hardcore wish fulfillment.
Myth and Mythpunk Books:
A list of fiction and nonfiction books and book reviews that fit in this “genre.” However, just because they are on this list does not mean I recommend them. See the link to more info and this goodreads list for comparison. I will update this list as I cover more books that fit here. They are only books that I have read or, in some cases, extensively researched and decided not to read.
Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes
The Automation / The Circo del Herrero Series
The Odyssey translated by Emily Wilson
The Odyssey of Sergeant Jack Brennan
God and myths of the Viking age
The Wicked + The Divine Vol. 1.,Vol. 2. , Vol. 3, Vol.4.
Book Review: Lore by Alexandra Braken
<<So, a few chapters of this book were released as preview copies and people on goodreads then flooded the book’s page with 4 and 5 star reviews for only the partial book. I can only give one star based on that unfairness. In reality, it might be a 2 on the goodreads scale. >>
The cover is, yes, the best thing about this book. It actually hits on a major theme in the book too (one that I actually respect): where the main character confronts Athena for turning Medusa into a “monster” but, it turns out, history has it a bit wrong. The main character, Lore, must learn to embrace her monsterous side to save the world.
“There are far worse things to become than a monster,” Athena said.
Let’s dive in.
Synopsis in my own words: So there’s these houses like Harry Potter houses except they are major families – basically like crime families – and they each descended from some hero in myth. 9 gods are being punished by Zeus for some reason that doesn’t make a lot of sense and once every seven years those gods become killable. It’s like the Hunger Games but with gods. It’s totally not ripping off the setup in The Wicked + Divine or The Automation and The Pre-programming. Nope, not at all (btw, both of those series started the same year so my point is this take is already trodden). Never mind there are 9 automatons just like there’s 9 gods (for some reason?) being punished in Lore and there’s even an LGBTQ+ character who specifically maims himself like Dorian in The Automation. No, no, it’s nothing like the game Vulcan creates at the end off The Pre-programming. This one is made by Zeus! The hero families are more like mafias who try to murder these gods to collect their power like pokemon. Except not like pokemon, because you can only absorb the power of one god per person. Which makes it a huge bummer when the new version of Ares (of course it would be Ares, right?) starts to kill gods off for the fun of it. In comes Lore, a mortal who is the last of her family who doesn’t want to participate in the game (called the Agon) anymore but too bad, honeybun. Apparently only descendants of your family can touch the Aegis. Which, oh yeah, is a thing that all the gods want because of course just hunting gods and trying to survive is not enough of a plot. We have to throw toys into the mix.
Despite the monotonous amounts of info-dumping, characters are introduced as if you should already know who they are and usually appear at just the right time. Only after they have saved the day do you learn why only they could have done it. And then you forget about them. There’s 466 pages to let you forget over the course of things. Despite all the dumps, I’m still not even sure what the main character’s hair color is or what Miles looks like. I think he has tattoos?
And let me address the plot holes. Apparently the gods, when the Agon is not going on, live lives and can still kill mortals. Why they didn’t just wipe out all the humans who knew they existed in their diminished state in between the Agons is beyond me:
“The new gods, brimming with power, manifested physical forms and lived lavishly, manipulating the worksing sof the world to fill the vaults of their mortal bloodlines. But the old gods, with their owner ever-waning, usually chose to remain incorporeal. It made them untraceable as they set about the world, trying to plan for contingencies for the next hunt or seeking retribution against thow who had tried to kill them. The threat of that venganance was the reason hunters always wore masks.” pg 44
Sure, maybe if they’re new versions of the gods they won’t kill their own families, but they literally could do so to the other families. Keeping the bloodlines alive just to be able to touch the hero toys is not worth it. Only the Aegis is ever talked about as something worthwhile, honestly. Also, the reason the gods are being punished is slightly ridiculous and is it’s own gaping plot hole:
“The way the hunters told it, they had attempted to force their worshippers back into submission by stoking chaoes at the fall of Rome, by having Apollo create deadly plagues, including the Plague of Justinian, which allone killed tens of millions of people. All in the hopes that mortals would beg them for protection and refuge.” pg 52
Nevermind that Zeus is literally known for flooding the earth to kill off a bout of humans. Also, Apollo caused plagues all the time. Why is that suddenly bad?
It also doesn’t make sense that:
- Zeus would do this to his children and brother (Poseidon – arguably more of an asshole than Ares ever was in myth).
- Athena is some kind of Thor figure with super strength, literally saying at one point, “This vessel requires sustenance.” pg 57
- Though they are being punished for working together in a way that displeased Zeus, the original gods sure didn’t know how to work together to stay alive. FFS.
- For all the mentions of rape and pedophilia, the book still feels very YA and the two love interests never go all the way. Why can we show one and not the other?
- Despite Zeus seeming to have evolved with the times (bad children!), the mortals sure as hell haven’t! They’re willing to still do child bride stuff???
- Apparently Medusa’s head on the aegis no longer turns people to stone? Maybe I missed something in the book or in myth but they keep looking at her!!! Medusa is literally said to “watch her” (Lore) on page 362. WTF.
- I find it weird that Ares was one of the first original gods to go. He’s a god of war. At least Athena could last it out.
- If Athena can kill a whole family then why not kill ALL the families?
- It seems a bit odd that Athena would kill children (the two little girls). Especially since she knows Zeus hates human sacrifices. Artemis, on the other hand….
- Like, Athena raised Hephaestus’s child and it wasn’t even hers! She’s not a kid killer. And, let’s be honest, the bronze bull was topped at The Library at Mount Char….
- Gil being Hermes was a good twist.
- All these fires and explosions and bodies everywhere… it’s a risky way to draw attention to the game. What if the rest of the world found out? Can we not? make this? less? believable?
- Lore literally calls out how stupid the motivation of the new Ares (Wrath) is, reminding them they’re literally being punished for hurting humans so they should probably…not do that
- Did they, um, kill themselves/sacrifice themselves at the end but somehow get to live? What actually, um, happened? You can’t tell me that prayer is all it took, godsdamn it.
At least this book doesn’t suffer from American God’s The Gods Need Prayer Badly trope.
Other review points I agree with:
My only bone to pick with this is that I needed more of a definitive answer as to the point of the Agon. In the concluding events, what was the fate of the gods, and what was Zeus’s plan all along? These are questions that needed to be answered for me to really feel like the book had concluded in a finite way. VIA
You know what else is flat? The villains. These are some of the worst, one dimensional villains I have ever read. It’s like the author thought: “you know how we make sure everyone knows villain bad? Make him a pedophile rapist.” It’s such lazy writing. And he’s not even the only rapist! Not only that, but the lack of adults in the world is apparent and yet the author doesn’t even try to explain that away. The only adults present are other gods who are all bad, and we just have these teens running around with not even a mention of adults who would be involved somewhere in the lower structure of hunter society.
So we have all these bad, one dimensional villains and then have the audacity for Zeus to be depicted as neutral good?! Excuse me?! Ancient Greece nerds disagree on a lot and we love a good interpretation but we all can agree that Zeus was shit. VIA
This book is so plot heavy. There is SO MUCH going on that it’s impossible to follow. You have nine Greek gods that come to walk the Earth as mortals, but they are not really mortals because they have powers for some reason, and then there are houses of mortals but only some people can kill the gods and if certain people do it then they don’t get anything…. I don’t know about you but confusion is not something I enjoy in a book.. If plot is your favorite thing about a book then I would say go ahead and read this, it’s the only thing holding up this novel. Personally, you’re better off reading the synopsis and creating your own imaginary scenario for how the plot progresses from here. VIA
Long story short, Athena decides to give up her immortality to Lore. We find out that Apollo gave his up to Castor. (Despite the fact that Castor couldnt remember how he got Apollo’s power throughout the entire book… Castor just “has a dream” at the very end of the book and “remembers” that Apollo was sick of all the fighting and felt bad for Castor bc he had cancer and was a child and was dying and had Castor kill him so he would get his power. Worst. Ass. Fucking. Reveal. Ever.😂) Athena somehow “redeems” herself by killing Ares EVEN THOUGH WE HAD JUST FOUND OUT ATHENA WAS ACTUALLY THE ONE WHO SLAUGHTERED LORE’S ENTIRE ASS FAMILY, and at the end of the 7 days of the Agon, Lore and Castor stand around and beg someone (Zeus??) to take their power away because they dont want to just go .. wherever tf it is gods go in between cycles.. because theyre “so in love,” and of course Zeus grants their request and they live happily ever after because this story sucked. VIA
First, the Agon in this book can Not be described as “Games” they’re Just a Lot of killing – and No Rap Battle (very disappointing). Second, new York (why). This is Just a Personal pet peeve, but why new York. Third, the Feminist Monologe in the middle was fun but Like, the ancient greeks were Not Feminist? No Shit. And can you guess who the Antagonist is? Yes, its “Ares”….. At least its Not Hades… Also Artemis was very unhinged. Dont Know how to feel about that. VIA
Book Review: Wake, Siren: Ovid Resung by Nina MacLaughlin
Other reviews I agree with:
Some of the reworking are fun in terms of humor and eroticism, but I didn’t really feel like these offered new insights or changed the relevance of the stories. There’s a lot of justifiable anger in the stories, but little in the way of new reckonings or new angles…
The stories would be more distressing if they weren’t so overdone. By the second half of Wake, Siren, the themes grew more interesting and complex. MacLaughlin started branching (*wink wink*) into new, unique female perspectives: motherhood (these were especially enlightening and eloquent), gender, eating disorders/food, and sexual shame (memorable to say the least).
Some of the stories were brilliant, but too many were a little too vague or lacking in purpose outside the retelling.
Book Review: Necessity (Thessaly 3) by Jo Walton was no necessity
[The title of my post is inspired by another review of this book I read.]
The concept of gods in space and them dealing with robots is not new. C.S. Lewis did the planets thing in Perelandra and gods playing with or making robots is a tale as old as actual myth. Necessity finally couples the two in the most original way I’ve ever seen. That doesn’t mean it’s ultimately satisfying.
While it doesn’t seem like there were many loose threads in the last two books to warrant this story, you do learn a lot more about the gods and their functionality–you get answers to questions you didn’t know you had. They’re unnecessary answers, but still worth knowing— exploring more like. I say exploring because, like most things in this series, the answers are hardly set in stone or actually knowable, and even when they are I don’t tend to agree with Walton’s take.
It’s not that Necessity was unnecessary because of this, though. It’s that the titular subject (as a character) is rendered pointless in the process of the book. “Necessity” as a force is undermined, as I will explain. I also didn’t like that the title broke away from the pattern of the first two books: The Just City, The Philosopher Kings. Why not The Necessity at the very least? It’s jarring and isolating from the flow of the other books. I was turned off instantly, because there is no good reason it branched off as if it was a standalone. It cannot, in fact, stand alone from the other two books. Do not try to read this without first reading the first two. Even though I’ve read all of them, I was forgetting who characters were/had been. There’s too many to actually care about, quite honestly. Don’t let it bog you down, though.
There is much that doesn’t make sense about the new planet they live on. The fact they are given a pre-established planet frustrated me. The planet wasn’t made for them. They took it, nevermind the evolutionary potential and rights of the beings (fish) already there. I’m not sure why Zeus couldn’t have just whipped up a new world without all the undertones of colonization (a theme in the book that seems way too glossed over for my comfort).
The one positive thing about this book was Crocus finally stole the show. The Workers grew on me and were finally made interesting to me in the series; they being the only ones who could ever be truly Platonic (pun intended).
The rest of this is a review for those who have read the book.
Things I didn’t like about the book (spoilers):
The rules that bind the gods are still like arbitrary hoops Walton made her characters jump through in the first book. I still don’t understand how prayer works. Apollo laments on page 110 of my edition “I wished somebody in Bologna would pray for my help so that I could give them something better than this.” Why is prayer necessary for help? Why could Athena only pull those who prayed to her to populate her city in book one? I still don’t understand this. It would have saved them a lot of time if they could have just pulled in Plato himself to ask him what he meant, instead of three books of “what do you think he means by X?!” It seems a ridiculous contrivance sometimes, especially when there is no excuse. The entire book is about revising Plato to perfection, but Plato himself never learns this lesson. It requires his absence to function, meanwhile we can bring Socrates back for a second time? Also contrived is the guest-friends concept, how gods cannot eat unless sacrificed to or invited to share — “ritual purposes” (page 127). Is this some law the gods have given to themselves to not scare or exhaust humans? A curse Zeus put on them? Was that ever explained? This does not affect them in mortal form, it seems. I don’t remember Pythas needing permission to eat. So much is brought up again and again but no real answer is established.
And back to the prayer concept – even when Kebes is forced to pray to Hermes/Jathery to take him into the future, he doesn’t address Hermes by name (calling him “Dear demon that I see before me”). So how important can prayer be? If he had actually prayed to Hermes, I suppose the twist that it was actually Jathery the whole time would have been a plot hole. But why couldn’t Hermes have also been Jathery? If Apollo and Athena can patron Earth and Plato, why can’t Olympians champion alien planets? Apollo even goes into a tangent about Platonic Forms and how he and the gods have several (an idealistic Dolphin form, etc.), so why couldn’t he have a Saeil (spelling?) Form? (Side note: At one point Apollo implies that the emblematic animal of Hephaistus (Hephaestus) is a lion, which is wrong. It is a donkey. Where on earth did Walton get that it was a lion?). I thought that the Forms discussion was where this was headed, that gods can have “alien” Forms. It made no sense to create new gods when there are already gods. In fact, it seemed speciesist (racist?) when all of Necessity was undermined just so that Marsilia didn’t have to have Jathery’s baby. I’m not sure what statement was trying to be made there. Hermes takes one for the team, though. Still not sure why it couldn’t have just been Jathery. Jathery is a god. There’s ways it could have, even if biology was an issue.
What is strange about this book was Walton’s need to create new alien gods instead of having them share ones that are already ours. It made Earth-gods seem less potent and limited to human form, which I think they should be beyond. Like in previous books, there is acknowledgement of other earth pantheons but that really just means Jesus (Yayzu), and how they don’t mingle with each other, which gets incredibly too complicated to think about when the alien gods are introduced. There’s no overt acknowledgment of Norse or Hindu or other gods. Only Christianity and Egyptian (Toth). This is likely, yes, because so many Neoplatonists also dabbled with Christian theology. I’m sure it was something she was forced to address because we really couldn’t have modern Christianity without Plato. But what doesn’t seem fair is that she introduced alien gods over explaining the different pantheons we already have and how those intersect well. Maybe she did it well enough in book one.
Kebe’s Christianity still rubs me the wrong way even using something like Ikaros/Pico’s view of “gods are angels/demons.” Maybe someday I’ll put my finger on it. Even if you think the gods are demons, they become part of the Christian pantheon and vice versa — part of the same mythos. This is essentially what Walton is promoting, yet how is it that Apollo has never met Yayzu yet, saying he should meet up with him sometime to talk about incarnation (page 101)? Apollo also has never met Thoth either, apparently, which I just find hard to believe especially since so many of their gods overlapped or morphed into the same being in real life (page 169).
I’m also confused as to why Pico/Ikaros continually gets credit for coming up with the “angels are gods” thing when there were philosophers who did it earlier? Was this addressed in earlier books? I may have missed something, but there seems to be a huge lack of St. Augustine and other earlier philosophers. Especially since he seems like someone Kebes would want to emulate.
I also don’t believe that the gods can’t be in the same place twice. What is to stop them? Apollo is said to have “had no power while he was incarnate,” which means he has no ability to perform miracles. The fact “Yayzu” has power (according to his mythos) while incarnate is no matter for Walton. I also find it hard to believe Apollo had no power because his children became gods. He clearly doesn’t have mortal sperm, ahem. There’s so many big ideas crammed in that it makes it feel rushed or it seems insensitive/careless. Walton needed more time for certain things–things like the fact the Workers create a city of their own and exclude non-Workers from being citizens seems like positive reinforcement for nationalism. I’m not sure I like where it landed.
Also, I don’t understand how they have honey (page 253) on a planet inhospitable to bees!
The second book is still my least favorite of the series. I’m sad it’s over. I bought this book back when it originally came out and let it sit on the shelf. It was my hope and I didn’t want to let it go.
Other reviews I agree with:
It’s a shame that we got the “Athene is lost but no one seems all that worried or pressed for time” storyline when we COULD have gotten more about Marsilia dealing with Hermes/Jathery and Crocus setting up a FREAKING CITY OF WORKERS/ROBOTS, I care about that way more than Ikaros who doesn’t do anything at all in this book! Seriously, he lifts right out. I must be missing something about this character. I found him a lot interesting in the first two books as a person who did terrible things and was slowly coming to the realization that he had some serious repenting to do… despite digging himself further into his own theories… that… could be interesting? It doesn’t help that he never really shares is theories and we only hear them second-hand from other characters who don’t understand or agree with them. So… Yes, more Marsilia, Crocus, Thetis, and Socrates, please.
[Athene’s disappearance in Necessity seemed to be random, the journey to finding her was unnecessarily repetitive and complicated, the climax of that plotline happened mostly off-screen, and the reason why Athene disappeared and what she gained in the process can be condensed into a couple of trite axioms. I would much rather spend more time with the human characters, learn more about the alien races of Saeli and the Amarathi (which is a species of SESSILE organism!), meet more alien gods, and read more about the Just Cities’ reintroduction to the greater human interstellar dispora (which was teased at the end of book 2). I feel like the Thessaly trilogy needs a 4th book just to cover all these, and I sincerely hope Walton would consider writing it]
I had hoped this 3rd book would go more into the potential for strained relations between natives and immigrants—when they all barged into Hilfa’s house I was waiting for a debate on immigration raids—but everyone seems to get along mostly fine, apart from language barriers. I wish we’d gotten to see these philosopher kings struggle with human nature a bit more!
Or there are all these plot contrivances to bring the characters to a point where creating a pod (basically an alien form of family that is made of exactly 5 people) is the logical solution, so they do so despite being 2 god-descendants, a normal human, an alien and Sokrates reborn, which shocks everyone. Yet…this new configuration doesn’t seem to mean anything. It doesn’t actually feel like a poly arrangement of 5 adults, it feels like random people thrown together who are kinda fine with it all and just like raising children together.
And speaking of Sokrates, he’s back and I’m pissed about it. About half this book feels like characters explaining things to Sokrates, and him saying wise or rebellious things back to them. It’s time for other characters to get to be interesting and philosophical!
As a whole, the trilogy is a work to remember though. Walton takes on complex subjects and ideas in these books and yet manages to keep them very accessible. I would not be surprised to see a few people pick up some of Plato’s works (note that Walton does not recommend starting with The Republic). Walton pushes herself in these books but she also pushes speculative fiction as a whole in a new direction. There are not many authors that can claim to have done that. Maybe she falters slightly on the home stretch but it is still a noteworthy work of fiction.
Book Review: Esemtu Vol. 1 by Karin Springer, Raphaela Springer (Illustartor)
This was a really delightful graphic novel and a great way to learn about Sumerian gods. I’ve read the Epic of Gilgamesh in the past, but have not necessarily understood the pantheon of gods mentioned. This story made me want to learn more and drew off the myths in surprising ways. The artwork is fantastic and the pace of the story is never dull.
Throughout the pages you learn that there are ancient statues and the guardians of those statues, who have touched them, can see the demons who influence the universe.
There is a surprise at the end, though not necessarily a twist. I think the target audience is probably more young adult.
The creators have a website where you can learn more about the mythology and take a quiz to find out who your patron god is! Mine is Inanna.
You can learn more on Twitter.
I was given this in exchange for an honest review. See my review policy above.
TBR: Esemtu Vol. 1 by Karin Springer, Raphaela Springer (Illustartor)
Three university students get tangled up in a mystery murder. However, they realize that they’ll have to open their minds to the supernatural to solve this case. Soon, they find themselves dragged into a magic world of fantastic creatures, gods, demons and immortals, that will change their lives forever.
Join them in their thrilling adventure to uncover the ancient secrets!
I do find the Epic of Gilgamesh very fascinating.
TBR: LifeShift by Michael Kott
Was Zeus a Greek God or merely a space explorer?
Following his mission to bring civilization to Earth, Zeus vanished on a newly discovered planet in the system Wolf 1061. Before he left, he set up a follow-on mission to come for him 35,000 years in the future. LifeShift tells the story of how, at a small high school in the Midwestern United States, in the Earth year 1957, that quest came to light.
That year, when sixteen-year-old Alex Monroe escaped death in an Illinois train yard, he learned that it was no accident. The same night, he dreamt he was with a beautiful girl in a strange world. The next day, he found the details of the dream not only don’t go away, but the girl in his dream is a new student at his high school. Which life, he wonders, is his?
Circe, the girl, tells him she is the reincarnation of Lachesis, one of the Moirae, or Fates, of Greek Mythology. An original offspring of Nyx and Zeus, she is an Eternal, from an advanced race of humans. He learns he may also be an Eternal, whose memories have been blocked, and he has some prescribed destiny. He discovers other girls at his high school are also Eternals, the reincarnation of various Greek figures, including Susan, who is Iris, the Goddess of the Rainbow; Irene, who is Atropos, the oldest of the Moirae; and Patty, who is Celaeno, one of the Seven Sisters of the Pleiades.
While not knowing that Alex has been picked to lead a quest to join Zeus, Circe (Lachesis) and Irene (Atropos), take him under their protection, as Eris, the goddess of Strife, and various not-so-nice Eternals attempt to rectify the mistake of his escaping death in the railroad yard. Irene is able to trace back his memories to his last life, as a German Luftwaffe pilot prior to the Second World War, and finds his future as an Eternal is tied to the recovery of the Moire’s youngest sister, Clotho, the details of whose rebirth have been hidden.
Alex, in his journeys with Irene and others, eventually discovers that thousands of years ago, he was selected for the mission to join Zeus, who disappeared while exploring another planetary system eons ago. To do that, he must first find Clotho. Alex’s only clue is he can find her somewhere in California’s Sequoia National Park. Clotho was born at the same time he was, and he must be with her at the exact moment of their seventeenth birthdays for her to regain the knowledge of her past.
When he finds her, he discovers that his quest has only just begun.
So, kinda Thor-ish plus Percy Jackson?