Friday, August 23, 2013

The Woken Gods by Gwenda Bond - Ashley's Review

*I received this book as an eARC from Angry Robot/Strange Chemistry on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

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Title: The Woken Gods
Author: Gwenda Bond
Year Published: 2013

My Pre-Reading

The more things change…

Five years ago, the gods of ancient mythology awoke all around the world.

The more things stay the same…

This morning, Kyra Locke is late for school because of an argument with her father.

Seventeen-year-old Kyra lives in a transformed Washington, D.C., dominated by the embassies of divine pantheons and watched over by the mysterious Society of the Sun that governs mankind’s relations with the gods. But when rebellious Kyra encounters two trickster gods on her way home, one offering a threat and the other a warning, it turns out her life isn't what it seems. She escapes with the aid of Osborne "Oz" Spencer, a young Society field operative, only to discover that her scholar father has disappeared with a dangerous Egyptian relic. The Society needs the item back, and they aren't interested in her protests that she knows nothing about it or her father's secrets.

Now Kyra must depend on her wits and the suspect help of scary Sumerian gods, her estranged oracle mother, and, of course, Oz--whose first allegiance is to the Society. She has no choice if she’s going to recover the missing relic and save her father. And if she doesn't? Well, that may just mean the end of the world as she knows it. From the author of Blackwood comes a fresh, thrilling urban fantasy that will appeal to fans of Neil Gaiman, Cassandra Clare, and Rick Riordan.


Review: You would think that taking pretty much every god and goddess ever, minor an major, and cramming them all into one book would make for one extremely convoluted story, right? Well, you'd be surprised at how well Gwenda Bond manages to do exactly that! Throw in a headstrong determined girl fighting against fate and time, a mystery that runs deeper than anyone knows, and a little bit of romance, and you've got an excellent, imaginative story that will hold your attention well past the last page. 

Since the world is very similar to ours, only with the gods taking over DC, the world building doesn't require much. A few explanations here and there about how this god-inhabited world is different from the current one, and some descriptions of how things like school materials have changed is really all it takes for the reader to become completely immersed in this new world. I do wish we knew a little bit more about the Society of the Sun and the Tricksters, but the little bit of information we're given kind of fits in with the whole secret society thing I guess. I just felt like there were some holes that could have been filled with more back story. 

I really enjoyed that this book was written mostly from Kyra's perspective, but every so often jumps into a third person chapter or too. This is mostly Kyra's story, so we definitely see a lot of her emotions and actions and back story. Those other chapters though allow us to see more of her friends and accomplices. Without them, how would we know what visions the Sages have given everyone? Or what they feel about these situations? Although the first few are unexpected, I definitely think they help move the characters along and help us get to know even the minor characters almost as if they were Kyra. We see how all of them grow and change and mature over the course of a few days without having to have one character dictate what they're doing.

I definitely didn't think any part of this book was slow. We're thrown in right in the middle of things happening, and it almost gives the feel of a second book in a series. As Kyra and her friends start to run out of time, it's almost like the pacing speeds up. Hours become minutes, minutes become seconds, and all of a sudden we're at the end of the conflict. But wait, there's more! Just when you think there's going to be a happily ever after... Bond throws you another curve ball! It's enough to keep you on your toes the whole time, even if you think you know what's going to happen next. Some parts are a little slow, but it's all relevant information that shouldn't be left at the wayside. Tthe romance seems a little unnecessary most of the time, but since it's a pretty minor subplot it wasn't terrible.

I'm always looking for a book where ancient mythologies are blended with contemporary settings. Take the Percy Jackson series. I loved those books, and I was kind of really excited to see that this was a book for fans of them. But honestly, I think Bond does it so much better. So I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for something along the lines of Percy Jackson, but maybe a little more complex and a lot darker. Also, for anyone interested in mythology of any kind. A 4/5 for this wonderful book! I really hope there's a sequel because as much as I can see this being left where it is, I want to know what happens next!


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