Cronus, God of Gods, whose inheritance is the world. Among his possessions: women, imprisoned and fated to serve. The strong-minded Althea Lambros controls her own fate and lives to honor her dying mother’s plea to protect her two sisters at all costs. Althea’s journey toward crushing the tyranny has begun. It is a destiny foretold by the Fates. And she is following their visions.
On the southern isle of Crete, hidden among mortal women who have fled the Titans, is the Boy God, son of Cronus and believed dead. He shares Althea’s destiny to vanquish the Almighty—fate willing. Because Cronus has caught wind of the plot. He’s amassing his own forces against Althea’s righteous rebellion and all those who will no longer surrender or run. There will be war. If she’s to survive to write their history, the indomitable Althea must soar higher than any god.
Thanks much to the folks at Wunderkind PR and 47North for providing a copy of this for review purposes. This did not affect the content of my review in any way.
I didn’t really know what to expect with this one but I was very pleasantly surprised! The marketing bills this as fun for fans of Circe and the new Wonder Woman movies and…that’s pretty accurate. I had a lot of fun with this book and the mythology was fairly on point, with some liberties taken of course. Overall, a very engaging book–I read it in a day.
The thing that attracted me most to this story was the Greek mythology. I’m a fan of Greek mythology and it’s always interesting to see what writers do with those familiar stories. I have to say, this is one of the first times I’m encountering a story where Cronus is the current ruler. Most authors like to focus on the Olympian gods so this made for a nice change. We’re going back a little further in the history and I really appreciated that. The world building hinges a lot on the mythology but also the ancient Mediterranean. Since this is mythology I’m not sure how the history worked out but things seemed like they kept to the period for the most part. I was also intrigued with some things such as how the world was such a dangerous place for women under Cronus’ rule. Women feared being taken either by the titan or some soldier that they went about daily lives with face masks and the practice of scarring one’s face suddenly became popular. It also gives this novel a feminist edge as what the main characters are fighting for is to end a rule over society that allows women to live in such fear. There are other feminist things explored such as women not being allowed to own property, women having little recourse to escape abuseful marriages, etc. It highlights these things but it doesn’t have a clear message as these aspects get a bit lost in the shuffle of the rest of the story. Of course it also glosses over other things like the slavery that was so prevalent in the ancient world–this is just accepted as the way of life so much so that in the very beginning of the book when slaves are mentioned it’s in passing. Later we see women being forced into slavery and even of the main characters trying to free his mother from such bondage. But there’s no real thought from the characters about the systemic problem of slavery itself. Of course, our characters have a whole lot of other things on their plates to worry about.
The book centers around Althea, the youngest of three sisters. Their parents both died (their mother in childbirth after being forced to bear Cronus’ half-titan child) and they were brought up in a religious sect of Gaia worshipers. They’re now adults and the world is more precarious for them as they’re now young women and have to decide what role they will play in the future–there’s not many options. Of course they also live in fear of being taken to Cronus as their mother and many others have been. Althea is determined to protect her sisters even though she’s the youngest of them, and the most impetuous. She has a plan but before it can be enacted things go wrong and fate intervenes, literally. One thing about mythology is that you can’t really fight fate. Oracles are going to show up and prophesize and you’re going to be bound by that. You’re also going to be bound by your vows so you have to take them seriously. Althea was an interesting character to follow. She’s loyal to her sisters, she cares about women, she’s a bit lusty at times, and she’s a problem solver. I loved getting to know her especially in light of later events of the book and realizing that there’s more to her character than we first know. My other favorite character in this is Zeus. Teenaged Zeus is kind of hilarious. He’s over indulged and spoiled and of course full of lust (he is Zeus after all) but deep down he’s also a bit scared that he’ll never be able to live up to expectations and overthrow his powerful father.
There are some twists in this one and although I eventually figured out what was coming it wasn’t until closer to the reveal and I feel like it was very obvious by them which was fine. I love a good twist and I don’t know why I wasn’t picking up the hints all along because a) I know the mythology so while I wondered why certain things were happening instead of the obvious I didn’t question it because this is not a straight retelling and b) there are hints from the very beginning when I looked back at the start of the book–they’re subtle but they’re there! Anyway, when things come to light I was like ‘oh yeah, of course, this all makes sense now’ so I was a pretty happy camper even though it does take a bit of artistic license. That being said, even in the original myths there are different versions of the same events. Greek religion didn’t have a ‘cannon’ and different gods were worshipped for different aspects in different communities and these communities often had their own versions of events so while a lot of things do match up there are certainly variants.
One thing this story does, which a lot of stories do with gods like this, is that it humanizes them a little too much. The gods are capricious and care not for mortals. Yes they like to interfere in human lives, but humans are nothing more than playthings to them. You’re never on equal footing with a god. Still, this is a personal pet peeve of mine and since it’s done so very often it didn’t affect my overall enjoyment of the story all that much and, in fact, it made for some fun character developments. I mean, need I say again how fun teenage Zeus is?
Overall, I had a lot of fun with this book. I’m really looking forward to the next one because I want to see how these characters get on from here. And also now that I know certain things, I’m really curious to know how the femist aspects will play out in the next part of this story. 4/5 stars.