Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Under the Covers: Gods Behaving Badly

TITLE: God's Behaving Badly
AUTHOR: Marie Phillips
GENRE: Fiction/Fantasy/Humor
SUMMARY: The Twelve Greek gods of Olympus are alive and well in the twenty-first century, but they are crammed together in a London town house- and none to happy about it. For Artemis (goddess of hunting, professional dog walker) Aphrodite (goddess of beauty, telephone sex operator) and Apollo (god of sun, TV psychic), there's no way out- until a meek housecleaner, Alice, and her would-be boyfriend, Neil, turn their world upside down.

When what begins as a minor squabble between Aphrodite and Apollo escalates into an epic battle of wills, Alice and Neil must fear not only for their own lives but for the survival of humankind. Nothing less than a true act of heroism is needed- but can these two ordinary people replicate the feats of the mythical heroes and save the world?

ROSE'S REVIEW: The premise of this book is pure genius. I wish i had thought of it myself. The Greek gods are still alive and as well as can be presumed today in a society where no one believes in them and are living in a decrepit house in London. Of course they don't all live there, Poseidon still lives under water and Hades and Persephone still live in the underworld, but all the other major gods make an appearance. Phillips does a fantastic job of writing the gods as they would be today. The ever arrogant Apollo still thinks the world revolved around him and goes on benders when things don't go his way. Aphrodite is needy and has to be the center of attention and gets extremely jealous when people pay attention to anyone else. Level-headed Artemis has the unfortunate job of trying to keep everything together when all it wants to do is fall apart.

Mixed up in the cross fire comes two mortals: Alice and Neil. Alice is a well-meaning, slightly insecure cleaner and Neil is the man secretly in love with her. When Aphrodite gets mad at Apollo she secures the help of her son Eros to get revenge on Apollo. Alice becomes the unlucky method of revenge and it spirals out of control from there.

The premise of the book is really good. The characters are well thought out and entertaining. The first half of the book is brilliant, humorous, sarcastic and a thoroughly enjoyable read. The second half of the book falls flat for me though. Phillips falls back on the tried and true method of a hero's quest and while it has its moments, the second half of the book lacks the acerbic wit that was so enjoyable in the beginning. I ended up rushing through the second half just to get to the end. The ending itself left something to be desired and you wonder what happens when the initial recovery wears off. That being said, I am excited to see what Phillips does for her follow-up book. Her sense of humor and imagination are wonderful in this book and I suspect her next book will be even better.



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