Title: Antigoddess (Goddess War #1)
Author: Kendare Blake
Year Published: 2013
Synopsis: The Goddess War begins in Antigoddess, the first installment of the new series by acclaimed author of Anna Dressed in Blood, Kendare Blake.
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.
This book felt like it was a lot of setup, and I didn't think the plot moved along very quickly. It took me a few chapters to get into, but once I finally did I really didn't want to put it down. There's a lot of character introduction, and background information on each of the characters. I did like how famous humans from mythology were incorporated, since I think they're overlooked much too often. I don't know much about Cassandra, Hector, or Andromache (past reading The Illiad and The Odyssey a really long time ago), so it was nice to have some of their background included as a refresher. I also really enjoyed how the relationship between Cassandra of Troy and Apollo plays out in this book.
I didn't really connect with Athena for most of this book - sure she's dying, but so is every other god and goddess. Why should she be the heroine of the story? I eventually began to understand why Athena and Hermes were the better team to root for (Poseidon is ridiculously creepy, Aphrodite has lost her mind, and Hera doesn't care at all about the human population), and it was interesting to learn more about Aphrodite and Hermes and their opinions of each other. I think there's a lot more to learn about them, and I'm looking forward to meeting more of the gods and goddesses as the series progresses.
Although the plot doesn't race along at a breakneck speed, I really enjoyed how the pacing matched up with the two interwoven story lines (one follows Athena and the other follow Cassandra). They run pretty parallel for a while, and then eventually converge into one crazy story. I think it will be really interesting to see how far Cassandra is willing to go after the end of the book, and what Athena might have to do to rein her in.
Overall, I think this was a really great start to what will be an excellent series! If you like books that have Greek mythology, you should definitely check out Antigoddess. While it's definitely different from Anna Dressed in Blood, this book is still filled to the brim with Kendare's beautiful writing and incredible characters. I can't wait to get my hands on the next book! 4/5.