Book Review 37: Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips

17 Jun

This book was delightful in many ways, and disappointing in others. My issue with this book is more an issue with the back cover summary, which induced me to pick it up. The back cover implied that this was going to be “Real World: London,” where 12 or so gods move into a London townhouse, “stop being polite, and start getting real.” I was expecting trashy reality television, with Greek gods.

This book is not that. I took Latin when I was younger, and most of our class was spent learning about the analogous Roman gods and learning very little about actual Latin. The stories are fascinating. This felt like a modern update of a classic story.

Aphrodite and Apollo are engaged in an epic battle of wills. Thousands of years of living among mortals has induced incredible boredom in most of the gods. Their powers are waning as people’s belief in the gods falls. The infighting between Aphrodite and Apollo eventually draws two innocent humans, Neil and Alice, into the world of the gods.

What I didn’t like was the fairly standard “innocent girl dragged into conflict, heroic man rescues her” plot line of Neil and Alice. It was boring in a book that had an otherwise interesting premise and set of characters. While Neil is a reluctant, nerdy hero, he’s still a hero nonetheless. His journey to rescue Alice is fun, and interesting, but it’s still such a cliche and I’ve read a thousand books and seen a thousand movies about these kinds of rescues. It’s not that I wanted Alice to rescue him, necessarily.It just that their plot line was boring.

And the fighting, sibling rivalry and romance gone bad among the gods was far more interesting. Definitely the stand out of the book. There could have been significantly more page time dedicated to the strife among the gods. Or how they integrate into society. Or their longstanding conflicts with humans. Or anything about how these gods are living on earth, working as phone sex operators and DJs. Basically, I loved the anecdotes about the gods and wished there were more of them.

If you like stories about the ancient gods, you’ll probably get a kick out of this quick beach read. But if you’re looking for Real World: Greek Gods, you are sadly in the wrong  place.

P.S. The supposed cast for this movie is insane. Sharon Stone as Aphrodite, Alicia Silverstone as Alice, Christopher Walken as Zeus, Edie Falco as Aphrodite, John Turturro as Hades. Interesting to see if it ever gets made.

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One Response to “Book Review 37: Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. HelloKatieO’s #CBR5 Review #37: Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips | Cannonball Read V - June 18, 2013

    […] What I didn’t like was the fairly standard “innocent girl dragged into conflict, heroic man rescues her” plot line of Neil and Alice. It was boring in a book that had an otherwise interesting premise and set of characters. […]

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