Antigoddess by Kendare Blake

January 3, 2014 Reviews 2 ★★★★★

Antigoddess by Kendare BlakeAntigoddess (The Goddess War #1) by Kendare Blake
Published: September 10th 2013 by HachetteAU
Format: Paperback, 384 pages
Genres: Fantasy
Source: Publisher
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5 Stars

He was Apollo, the sun, and he'd burn down anything that tried to hurt her ...

Cassandra and Aidan are just your average high-school couple. Or so Cassandra believes. Blissfully unaware that she was once a powerful prophetess, Cassandra doesn't even know thats god exist ...

Until now.

Because the gods are dying - and Cassandra could hold the answer to their survival. But Aidan has a secret of his own. He is really Apollo, god of the sun, and he will do anything to protect the girl he loves from the danger that's coming for her. Even if it means war against his immortal family ...

Antigoddess is a masterfully told story about Greek Gods and heroes living, or reincarnating, into the modern world. I enjoyed it immensely, and can’t wait for the sequel, Aristea, which comes out in 2014.

Cassandra’s always known more about the future than those around her. She can predict a coin toss, she knows when her brother’s car is going to break down on the way to school, and which couple is going to break up at a party over the weekend. No one really believes her, but that’s the way she likes it. I like her character because she’s not as naïve as other YA protagonists I’ve read about and she cares deeply for her family and friends. When her visions change, and become more vivid and terrifying than ever, she freaks out but doesn’t become catatonic with worry or anything. She tries to adapt the best she can to every situation thrown at her, and gosh, does she witness some weird stuff in this book. I admire and like her a lot!

Cassandra’s best friend Andie (whose name always made me think she was a boy) and brother Henry are the best secondary characters, in my opinion, because they are refreshingly real. They’re both utterly supportive of Cassandra, and neither make fun of her premonitions nor believe them at face value. They’re pragmatic, and exactly the type of people she needs around her when her world is falling apart. Her boyfriend Aidan, however — actually, he’s the Greek God Apollo — isn’t really helpful at all. He’s supportive in his own way but always has other motivations and I feel like he had so many opportunities to do right by Cassandra and he never did. Although I acknowledge that if he’d turned on his family too quickly, I would have disliked that as well, so perhaps he was truly in a no-win situation. I didn’t really warm up tp Aidan at all.

The plot of Antigoddess took me by surprise in many ways. Firstly, Cassandra’s life is fully established before we meet her: her friends are amazing, her family life is great, and she’s been seeing Aidan for a year. We’ve missed all that awkward setting-the-scene crap, and skipped straight to what matters: that Athene and Hermes are coming to find Cassandra. I like this because Blake allows readers to meet and understand Cassandra before the action truly begins. Things happen to Cassandra, like finding out who her boyfriend really is, but it’s a long time before the danger really sets in. I think this is a superior way to tell a story, because I got to know Cassandra and then was able to predict her reactions and motives more accurately. Telling the dual stories of Cassandra and Athena in alternating chapters is also a stroke of genius — it feels like a clock ticking down as the two groups find their way to one another.

The world-building is tricky to comment on for a number of reasons: ancient Greek mythology has already laid the foundations for this book, and the author’s job is to imagine and recreate their relationships in a modern setting. I think she succeeded very well with Athena and Odysseus, but largely failed with Apollo and Hermes. Something about the way those two are doesn’t quite gel with what I know about them. On the other hand, the unique ways each deity was dying are brilliant: I think they are all extremely fitting and have a certain poetry to them. One problem I did have with the story is that neither Cassandra, nor Andie or Henry, knew a single thing about Greek mythology. I was appalled. How can they have gone through an education system without learning about it? They didn’t even have moments where they almost remembered their lessons in Greek myth – it was like they’d heard of any gods or goddesses, not to mention legendary monsters and human heroes. It’s quite a tragedy and I find it difficult to believe there are teens out there who haven’t imbibed an iota of Greek mythology (although Andie had seen the movie Troy).

Antigoddess is an exciting, engaging read, and I am really glad to have finally read it. It’s the first book by Kendare Blake I have read, but I own the unrelated books Anna Dressed in Blood and Girl of Nightmares, and am looking forward to reading to them soon. I highly recommend Antigoddess to any fans of Greek mythology, as I think it admirably brings Greek mythology to the contemporary world.

2 Responses to “Antigoddess by Kendare Blake”

  1. Tien

    Totally agree about the “clock ticking” bit!

    I found the Cassandra POV so uninteresting in comparison the the Athena ones. I actually wanted to skip those chapters to get to Athena’s, LOL

    Love the ending!

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