YA Weekend: Mortal Gods by Kendare Blake

Mortal GodsMortal Gods by Kendare Blake

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Series: Book 2 of Goddess War

Publisher: Tor Teen (October 14, 2014)

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Mogsy’s Rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m a mythology buff, so naturally I became drawn to Kendare Blake’s Goddess War series. The first book introduced us to the concept that the Old Gods of Greek Mythology have always existed, and that well-known deities such as Athena and Hermes have lived among us since time immemorial. But all of a sudden, the gods are losing their immortality, dying slowly in the most bizarre and most horrific ways. All eyes turn to Kincade, New York, home of Cassandra of Troy…or the reincarnated version of her, anyway. As the gods take sides and prepare for war, the psychic teen may hold the key to everything.

After reading the first book, I could say I enjoyed it unequivocally. This second book, however, left me with mixed feelings.

Issue 1: Pacing. It falls on the slower side, especially at the beginning. Looking back, the biggest criticism I had with Antigoddess was that it ended with absolutely nothing resolved, closing with a cliffhanger of sorts. Happily, Mortal Gods picks up right where it left off, but then spends an excessive amount of time just trying to build back up to the level of suspense and excitement that we experienced right at the end of book one.

Issue 2: A book like Mortal Gods that has parts taking place in far flung and exotic locations across the globe should feel vast, epic, HUGE. At times, I sense this vibe struggling to come through in the narrative, but it never quite manages it. I love Kendare Blake’s writing style and she generally does a great job with her world-building, but for some reason the scenes that took place in the jungles of Malaysia or the outback of Australia felt rushed and glossed over.

On the other hand, she seems to do a much better job with fantasy settings. I adored the scenes that took place in Hades’ Underworld or at Mount Olympus, they were amazing.

Issue 3: The character of Cassandra. What happened? Granted, her life has been turned upside down and she’s experienced a lot of terrible things, including the loss of someone she loved deeply. All these events have shaped her, and while she’s a much deeper and well-rounded character now, she has also transformed into a downright bratty kid. Her anger and impulsiveness makes her say and do dumb things, and that makes it really hard to sympathize with her.

The final thing I want to talk about isn’t really an issue, but might be something to consider if you’re thinking of picking up this series. This is a Young Adult novel and it really shows. Most of the main characters are teens, including the incarnations of the Greek Gods, and there’s practically no adult presence. For some readers, this is of little to no importance. For me, it does take away some of the realism and immersion. If you can buy (or don’t care) that a teen can go jetsetting across the world, miss school and disappear for days on end without her parents even getting a tiny bit suspicious – or alternatively, they’re actually okay with it – then you shouldn’t have a problem at all.

I don’t want this review to sound too harsh though, because I did have a good time with Mortal Gods. My favorite part of it is still the unique and interesting take on the Greek Gods, and I really enjoyed how certain snippets of the story would play out like a very loose version of the Iliad, particularly when it involved the relationships between characters.

Bottom line: a pretty good book and sequel, though I still liked the first book better. I’m looking forward to the next one.

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A review copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to Tor Teen!

13 Comments on “YA Weekend: Mortal Gods by Kendare Blake”

  1. Have you read God’s Behaving Badly? It is a humorous adult take on the Greek pantheon in New York. The premise of this one reminded me of that. I may keep an eye out for Antigoddess, I remember it having a bit a buzz when it hit.

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    • No, but maybe I’ll check it out! And yes, I recall Antigoddess getting a bit of buzz as well. Haven’t seen much for this sequel though. Maybe wait til the third book comes out to see if the series goes out with a bang.

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  2. Oh a little difficult for this one. I was really curious about it because like you I’m a sucker for mythology story but well the slow start is complicated. thanks for your review!

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    • I feel that way too, but I don’t know if maybe it’s because I’m just more noticing them more. They’re still not as popular as some of the other supernatural topics.

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  3. Good to know, I do get annoyed when YA just pretends that adults don’t exist, but if I know going in, I’ll probably enjoy it more. I’m glad you liked book one so much! I have yet to start the series, but I have personalized signed copies now so I guess I have to 😉

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    • That is one of my big pet peeves. I get the story is about the teens, but having adults completely out of the picture also makes a whole story feel less realistic.

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  4. Ok seeing as how I’m finally feeling today and yesterday that I might be coming out of the funk I’ll save reading your issues on the book til after I’m done. I’m hoping that I don’t share them! Especially since mythology books are usually harder for me to like.

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  5. I love mythology retellings! This one sounds awesome! I almost read the first one, but figured I’d wait because of the to be continued-ness. She turns into a brat? Ugh not good. And sounds like this is one of those suspend belief reads that I shouldn’t analyze to closely. I think I’ll wait for the third, because there are so many other books I need to read more. Nice review! 🙂

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