Author: Kendare Blake
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: September 2013
Genre: Young Adult Fiction/Fantasy Retelling
Series or Stand Alone: Series, Book One
Synopsis can be found here.
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Cassandra doesn’t know anything about the goddess war- a war that has started between the goddesses of old. She doesn’t know she has power. She doesn’t know she is the most sought after weapon at the moment. But all of that changes when secrets are revealed and she has no choice but to choose a side.
I like to be excited. So when the reading gods smiled down to me with a copy of Antigoddess, I was stupid excited. I mean, I might have posted a picture of me holding the book, with a crazy face, on Instagram. Yeah, that happened. I like Kendare Blake’s previous books so I had a pretty good feeling that I would enjoy Antigoddess. But also because I love a good re-telling. I know, I know. There have been a lot of Greek retellings recently, especially of the Persephone and Hades storyline. Therefore, I was thrilled that this one is about Cassanda, the doomed prophet who was never believed.
The gods are dying, in very creative and grotesque ways. Athena sets out to find the prophet, Cassandra. But Cassandra’s memory of the past is gone, leaving behind a normal teenage girl who loves her boyfriend, loves her parents, and yeah, maybe is a little clairvoyant, but nothing to be too worried about. That is, until Athena drops the bomb that Cassandra is actually the Cassandra, from the stories. And the gods are dying. And they need her help. Oh, and you know, that boyfriend of yours is actually…
No, wait. I won’t tell.
I very much enjoyed the different ways the gods were dying, creative deaths that were reflected from their personalities. I love the bittersweeet romance Cassanda has with her boyfriend Aidan, and how we truly believe they are a real teenage couple. The book flashes back and forth between Cassandra’s real life and Athena and Hermes on their quest- first trying to find information about why they are dying and later searching for Cassandra. In true Blake fashion, there are some very scary, gory, don’t-want-to-see-them-in-real-life evil gods, propelling the urgency of the story forward. I like both plot lines equally. While Athena and Hermes storyline was the most seeped in myth, the Cassandra line was rooted in the real world, bringing the reader in slowly, only to have that perfect normal ripped away from her.
And the ending…
Well, it’s an intriguing start to this new series. I can’t wait to read more.
Welcome back Kendare!
Tell us a little bit about Antigoddess. Where did the idea for a Cassandra book spring from?
Cassandra, Cassandra. She’s my problem child. I love her, and have wanted to write about her for such a long time. The tragedy she went through at Troy pisses me off to no end. To be able to see the future and have no one believe you? To know all your family is toast and not be able to save them because they won’t listen? To be taken as a slave and get an axe to the chest by your captor’s cheezed off wife?
Her. Life. Blew.
But I tell you, this girl wanted to be left alone. I must’ve started three books with her at the center and every time she was uncooperative. She wanted to be left alone, just be ordinary, blend into the background. She’d had enough of this tragedy BS. The only way I could get her to even partially work with me is when I brought Athena in, and realized it wasn’t only Cassandra’s book. It’s Athena’s too, and they shared the load.
How much research did you do for Antigoddess? Did you read Homer?
I read Homer like a crazy person. I have lines from Hector’s speech in book six tattooed on my back in ancient Greek. And I studied him in college. So it was easy to pull events and characters from The Iliad and The Odyssey for Antigoddess. When I got to Aristeia and Fataliste though, it was off the map, and I did have to research the other gods.
There are so many gods and goddesses out there to choose from. Why did you choose Hermes and Athena to be central characters in this war?
Athena was an easy choice. She’s the goddess I most admire, the one I think would be the most interesting in modern times. The tomboy goddess. Hermes was sort of a surprise, but he was the perfect kid brother type. And he’s the most human. Without him, Athena would never get Cassandra and her friends to listen. He’s the godly glue that holds the group together.
But lots of other gods are going to show up along the way.
Who was your favorite character to write?
Athena, Hermes, Odysseus and Andie. I love all of Athena’s hang-ups, all of her defense mechanisms. I love how clueless she is about, well, love, and how she pretends it doesn’t matter. Hermes is a blast, though sometimes a bit hard to control. Odysseus is so much the clever, cocky hero. And Andie…she’s just so damn spunky.
If you were a god or goddess, reincarnated, which one would you choose to be? Why?
Athena. I’ve always liked her best. And…owls are cute. I wouldn’t want her death though, if the death came with it. I’d want Hermes’ death. So I could eat whatever I want. Pig out. 24/7.
What is your favorite kind of cookie?
There’s this warm, fudgey, chocolate cookie at Mrs. Fields. Probably that one.
Where is your favorite place to write?
I have an “only” place to write. I don’t write other places. At my desk is where it’s at. However, lately I’ve been experimenting with having those Music Choice channels on in the background, and that’s sort of fun. I used to have Food Network on all the time.
The downside is, the other day I found myself writing an emotional scene to Bryan Adam’s Everything I Do, I Do it For You, from the Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves soundtrack. I was appalled, and stopped writing until it was over.
However I didn’t change the channel.
All of the gods are dying in very creative, and sometimes grotesque, ways. How do you come up with the clever ways to kill off immortal gods? (I particularly love Athena’s feathers.
Pondering the modern-day deaths of the gods is how the novel came about. I had this vision of Demeter, stretched across the earth like a huge, skin drum. Dried out and flattened and burned by the elements. Their deaths seem to come from an aspect of their personalities or godhoods. Hermes body eating itself, his high, fast metabolism is linked to his speed and his thievery. Aphrodite’s madness and fever is because love is madness and fever, taken to the extreme.
Are you going to see the new Batman and Superman movie, even though Ben Affleck has been cast as Batman?
Affleck is great behind the camera. Or in front of it in thoughtful, subdued roles. I won’t judge him until I see him in the cowl. No wait, yes I will.
This does not seem like a good or an obvious idea. I mean, okay, Batman’s going to be old. Fine. But if you’re going to cast some old piece of In Touch Weekly flash and sass, how about Brad Pitt? He’s super old, but I still feel like he could kick Ben Affleck solidly in the nuts. And he’d do a serviceable Bruce Wayne smug face.
Or why not scrub up Val Kilmer? He’s fat, and ancient, and full of rage. (I’m kidding, I love Val, did you see him in the series finale of Life’s Too Short? Hilarious.)
I’m not serious about this Brad Pitt as Batman thing. I hope Ben Affleck truly becomes the Bat-fleck and treats us to two plus hours of awesome. It could happen. We weren’t really going to be happy with the casting of anyone anyway, were we? And yes, I’m still going to see the Batman/Superman movie. I just never thought I’d be rooting for Superman.
Antigoddess is book one in a trilogy. Can we get a sneak peek of a synopsis for book two?
Bet you’re sorry you asked about that Batman thing, huh? Man, I can go on and on about movies. I apologize.
And now a synopsis of ARISTEIA? You’re killing me. I can tell you that after the events of ANTIGODDESS, both Athena and Cassandra have been knocked off-center. Both girls need to regroup and recover, and they’ll do it in very different ways.
Also, some gods and heroes show up to throw a wrench into a few relationships. There’s another god of war on the prowl, who really pushes both Cassandra and Athena’s buttons. And who could show up to complicate things for Athena and Odysseus? Hint: You’ll find her in the pages of The Odyssey.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on something new. Something drastically different. Character-driven. Literary. So, career suicide. But it’s the thing that wanted to be written. And then after that, I’m going to start a supernatural saga I’m pretty excited about, but it’s way too early to talk about that.
Thank you Kendare for stopping by!