Author: Gwenda Bond
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Description: 384 pages, Young Adult Fiction
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.
A Powerful Insignia
I have long since been a fan of Greek Mythology, at least since Rick Riordan introduced Percy Jackson to the world, and most fittingly so. The premise behind The Woken Gods thus invoked an enthusiasm within me, and one that sprang me quickly to attention. I was no less than outright dazzled by the concept of unifying various cultural beliefs on deities– Greek, Egyptian, Norse, Aztec, Sumerian, West African, and Native American– marrying them into one, leviathan array of divinities that promenade on in the streets of D.C. While I wasn’t all that impressed with how the book explained the notion of both the Society and The Awakening (and most certainly didn’t think the gods were as fearsome and imposing as I should have), I did happen to hold in esteem how the author held my interest by incorporating the idea of relics and oracles, both of which worked quite well to explain the thought behind the book, as well as add drama and furor to the story itself. Despite various plot holes, inconsistencies, and world-building issues that cannot be coherently explained without the use of a potential spoiler or two, I found myself loving most of the characters (coupled with the fact that the book was conveniently told from multiple POVs). In addition, I came up with a paltry number of scenes that dragged and compelled me to lose interest, making this book a certain page-turner, and the first ARC that’s managed to impress me significantly.
Decision And Sacrifice
Kyra Locke was the protagonist I never expected to like as much as I did. Though she had a personality of arguably no great shakes in the very beginning, I grew increasingly fond of her as she turned slowly into a quick-witted and tactical leader, one with an open mind and a burning passion, and one who wouldn’t take no for answer. As a matter of fact, I found it (and still do find it) hard to identify significant fault in her character. She was in the middle of predicament involving death and ritual sacrifice, yet she never found the need to end it all (but not really) by attempting at martyrdom like a vast plethora of other young adult heroines. What was more, her relationship with Oz was wholesome, tender, and just so damn pure, that even while the book covered a time frame of roughly a week, it didn’t seem much like insta-love because the scenes between Oz and Kyra were romantic to an extent, yet perfectly reasonable. Though the book lacked for adequate explanation, certainly not enough to leave me free of doubt and bewilderment (much to my chagrin), it certainly met me halfway by introducing a protagonist that for once, flawlessly acted the part.
Knight In Shining Armor
Kyra, however, was not the only appealing character. Oz was an operative for the Society, and one so devilishly attractive at that. True to his niche, he remained loyal not only to his friends, but to his duty, and he remained levelheaded in the face of betrayal and duplicity. Justin was a reader, and as such I found it easy to relate to his character, though I doubt that I could have remained as calm as he did in the midst of raging battle. Bree and Tam, Kyra’s best friends, were both supportive and stubborn. The fact that the relation[ship] between the three of them didn’t always sail on smooth waters made it easier to come to a compromise with the fact that much of the book was convenience– I would have liked it with a little more tumult and disquietude, as that would have served to engage me even better. The antagonists and gods themselves were agreeable to an extent, and I liked how the villain was sympathetic enough for me to question my allegiance. Though the book was far from perfect in terms of the storytelling in essence, I wasn’t complaining with the characterization, which was fortunate because the book was quite internal.
The Prophecy Of An Apocalypse
Overall, the book was far from ideal in terms of the plot progression, and the way the basic premise was reasoned and handled. There were plot holes and times of momentary confusion, yes, but I do believe that The Woken Gods redeemed itself through excellent characterization, spunk, and refined prose. However, the story itself was filled with mystery and suspense, and though the plot twists were predictable, I was able to appreciate the rationale behind them. Though the ending left me a little frazzled due to how abrupt it came (and how it left me somehow wishing for a sequel), I was glad that the book at least, wasn’t too flowery and saccharine. the action scenes were hard to visualize and were quite mediocre, so to speak, and on that front I can now say that I am eternally grateful the dialogues were interesting.
If you are then looking for a good book that puts into context multiple mythologies, and that involves a conspiracy to end the world as we know it, and an entire city of woken gods that roam the earth freely after a millennial slumber, then I definitely urge you to give this book a try.