Saturday, August 29, 2009

Gods Behaving Badly - Marie Phillips

"They looked at each other. Neither blinked. She had sat there, as far as he knew, for over two decades, unmoving, alone except for a brace of peacocks, currently prostrate at her feet. She had hair the colour of blackmail, a spine as straight as a guillotine, and a face that could sink ships. If she was even slightly surprised, after twenty years, to receive her first visitor, she didn't deign to show it."

It's been thousands of year since the Greek gods ruled from Mount Olympus and things had gone considerably downhill in the intervening years. They're currently crammed into a crumbling flat in London, trying to make ends meet. Artemis is a dog walker, Aphrodite is a phone sex operator and no one can remember the last time they saw Zeus. They're all trying to cope in a modern age where few mortals even even know their names. Some pine for the old days when they were openly worshipped, some have even converted to Christianity like Eros. Regardless of how they spend their days, they're running out of time. Their powers diminish with each use and after they're gone it's just a quick trip to Hades. It's going to take a few clueless mortals to set things to right and save these sorry gods.

This book was fantastic. It was funny, easy to get into, entertaining, fast-paced and you don't want to put it down. Phillips clearly knows her Greek mythology as she's incorporated various aspects of the gods into her characters. Ares, the poor man, never has time to relax as there's always some conflict raging in the world. As well, the childish aspect of the gods constantly comes into play. As immortal all powerful beings, there are never any consequences for their actions and as a result, they never mature out of playing to their base emotions. They're somewhat like Cookie Monster; they want what they want when they want it. I also really liked the interpretation of the underworld and how everyone seems to be really bored as there isn't much to do.

There was also some great writing, as in the quote I included in the post that help the reader see the gods as ethereal immortals. You can't really see 'hair the colour of blackmail'. You can only imagine what it might look like. I appreciated how many gods were interlaced into the story as well as the sideplot with mortals Neil and Alice. I would highly recommend the book and even went so far as to imagine how the Greek gods ended up in London of all places and how their decline started.

Rating:4/5

1 comment:

celi.a said...

Several people have recommended this book to me now - can't wait to check it out! Sounds hilarious and maybe a little perilous. Great review!