Massive, Massive Disappointment

Antigoddess - Kendare Blake

The gods and goddesses are dying. Hermes is withering away; Athena has feathers growing inside of her. What is happening to them? And what does a young woman named Cassandra have anything to do with this?

To say I am disappointed with "Antigoddess" would be an understatement. I just finished this book, and I'm crushed with disappointment. Because, I really like Kendare Blake's work. I thought "Anna Dressed in Blood" with deliciously creepy. Even "Girl of Nightmares" wasn't half bad. Sure, not as good as "Anna", but then, when are sequels (especially ones that the author was pressured to write) ever as good as the original?

 

NOTE: I received this book as a part of the Amazon Vine program.

I did not request this review expecting to trash it, to hate it, to say a lot of horrible things about it. When I first heard about the concept of "Antigoddess", I was excited. Giddy excited. Blake is one of the most unconventional young adult authors in the genre. She is gritty and coarse, and while most YA authors stick to the status quo (blank heroine, prerequisite two love interests, and a faux-topia), Blake does her own thing. It's what made "Anna" the joy to read that it was; it's why I follow her works.

What "Antigoddess" has going for it is its unique concept. Many YA books about the Greek deities spend more time trying to get the hero and heroine hook up. They tend to tame down the gods and goddesses to make them more salient to modern sensibilities. But Blake doesn't do that. She's blunt about Poseidon's love of the ladyfolk, how Hera is a jealous wife, etc. Blake has also come up with an interesting concept: the gods and goddesses are dying and have no idea why.

Where this concept fails is in execution. Questions abound with no answers (even at the end!). So much time is spent with characters running all over the United States with little purpose. When characters aren't running around like chickens with their heads cut off, they are thinking about things or talking about things over and over and over again. Athena's desire for Odysseus and the conflict it has with her being the virgin goddess. How Hermes and Athena are dying. How they need to stay ahead of Hera but find Cassandra. And then everyone wondering what the hell it is that Cassandra can do anyway (this is never clear, even at the end).

Even with some great characters (there are a whopping FIVE female characters, TWO major female viewpoint characters, THREE female "good guys" - numbers that are almost UNHEARD OF in YA), it's mindnumbingly dull to hop from one meandering scene to another meandering scene. Interspersing it with some decent action scenes just makes it painfully obvious how good this COULD be with a little less conversation, a little more action (and a lot more answers to questions).

A part of me wants to rate this 3 stars because I do like Kendare Blake and think she has amazing potential. But at the end of finishing this book, I was left with nearly the same questions I had when I started. What does Cassandra DO? How are the gods and goddesses going keep from dying? What is going on? I don't expect the first book in a series/trilogy to answer all the questions, but I expect to at least have something to draw me to book 2 besides answering the questions book 1 should have.

With this in mind, I won't be tuning into book 2. I won't be purchasing the hardcover for this, even though I like and admire Kendare as an author. It's a shame, because I had high hopes for this series, but if book 1 can't provide even a few answers to questions, I'm not waiting around for book 2 to get them.

Many apologies, Kendare. I'll wait around for your next series and see if that works out better for me.