Series: Goddess War, #1
Released: September 10th, 2013
Publisher: Tor Teen
Rating: 4 stars
Fright Scale: 7 out of 10
Reviewed by: Blythe
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 war that is only just beginning.
Because Hera, the queen of the gods, has aligned herself with other of the ancient Olympians, who are killing off rivals in an attempt to prolong their own lives. But these anti-gods 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. Others become monsters. All of them rage against their last breath.
The Goddess War is about to begin.Antigoddess FREAKED ME OUT, you guys. I was not expecting that...which, honestly, I should have, after being freaked out by her previous Anna Dressed in Blood. But one common asset between Anna Dressed in Blood (and likely its sequel, Girl of Nightmares, which I haven't read yet but Mel recently loved) and Antigoddess is that Kendare Blake has this awesome skill of getting under her readers' skin. She pretty much checks all the phobia boxes in this one. And most likely leaves you with odd phobias you didn't know existed.
For example, do you get insanely uncomfortable and freaked out when a book goes into detail regarding eye injuries? Did you cover your eyes during that one LASIK scene in Final Destination 5? Or did you nearly throw up at that one scene in the Evil Dead remake where the guy is repeatedly stabbed in the eye with a needle, and then he takes it out slowly?
Firstly, I'm sorry for sharing those two scenes with you, but I kind of need them to make this point: EYE INJURIES ARE THE WORST, AND KENDARE BLAKE IS GOOD AT DESCRIBING THEM.
What about feathers? Anybody afraid of feathers? No? How about when feathers literally protrude from the inside of your mouth and your skin, to the point where they rip through flesh and you have to tear said feathers out?
Anyway, case in point: Antigoddess has some really freaky business going on throughout, and it's awesome. As well as Kendare Blake's impeccable skill at writing really, really visceral gore (a skill I envy, considering whenever I write gore it's like, "and then the red stuff came out of the skin-parts of her arm-place and then starting going all over the arm-place and the skin-parts were open"), I've learned that Kendare Blake is also really good at taking common plots, and adding a really original and interesting twist on them. With Anna Dressed in Blood, she took the classic haunted house/ghost story and added a fantastic twist to it all, and with Antigoddess, she takes the "Greek gods are at War" plot and adds multiple interesting twists: the gods are each dying in their own unique ways, and, (understandably so) they're pissed off, and other fun things I won't reveal here for obvious spoilery reasons.
But the thing about Antigoddess is that Kendare Blake makes it so that it can be entirely enjoyable, even if you know absolutely nothing about Greek mythology (like myself). Blake offers fresh and alluring world-building chocked full of gods, rivalries, witches, all of which is easily understood if you know nothing about Greek mythology. (But if you know a bit about Greek mythology and the Trojan War, it certainly wouldn't detract from your enjoyment with Antigoddess...)
The only problem I really see with Antigoddess are that I never fully connected with the characters on an emotional level, and while I did find most of them to be dynamic and engaging, since I didn't have an emotional connection with any of them, some of the things to have happened in the latter half bore less of an impact than I would have hoped. Then there's the other problem, that I feel Antigoddess had such a slow-burn for things to come, and that when all of those things did come around, it was already near the very end of the novel, and things had to be wrapped up soon, so it all just felt anticlimactic for me.
I realize this review is long, and really incoherent, but I think I got my point across, and if I didn't, here it is now: Antigoddess is all kinds of delicious creepiness, and although I lacked an emotional connection with the characters, and the ending was a bit anticlimactic, it was still a really great read with an engaging plot and fantastically descriptive writing. If you are squeamish at eye injuries, and having feathers poke through your body in gory ways, and having your skin stretched out across land, and more, then grab your teddy bear, get under the covers, and prepare to squirm at Antigoddess.
Because you will.
Because Kendare Blake is very descriptive when it comes to eye injuries.
There is dangling and I'm leaving it at that.