It's taken me a bit to get my thoughts together on this one. The first time I tried my hand at Kendare Blake's newest book, I ended up setting it aside. Antigoddess holds within it a story that assumes you have some knowledge of Greek Mythology. That you're at least familiar with Athena, Hermes, Aphrodite, and all the rest of the Gods and Goddesses mentioned throughout the course of this read. If you aren't, or if you haven't brushed up in a while, it might seem a little daunting at first. However, when my book club picked this as a monthly read, I decided to give it another shot. I brushed up my memory and, this time around, fell into the story.
Blake takes us into a world where the Old Gods still live. Or, at least, they are trying to. Imagine if, in the midst of our normal comings and goings, there were reincarnated Gods, Goddesses, and mythical heroes just wandering about in secret. That's what I was treated to in Antigoddess, and it didn't take long for it to completely immerse me in its depths. I loved the concept of battling against the inevitable. Of defying fate, despite the fact that it seems like accepting death is the only course of action. If the only way to cheat death was to kill your own, would you do it? That's the burning question that runs through this whole story.
I absolutely adored Athena as a main character. By all rights, as the Goddess of War and Justice, she should have been fierce. That's why I loved the way that she was portrayed in this story. Athena has her fierce side, but she also has a conscience. Watching her look back on what she'd done in the past, and begin to learn what it means to truly care about someone else, was amazing. I'll grant you the fact that I loved her kick-ass attitude. Still, watching her solid wall of unfeeling slowly melt away in the fact of possible love? Awesome. Truly awesome. Hermes is her counterpart here and, although I didn't love him as much, I did enjoy his personality. He's sweet, mischievous, and everything that "The Messenger" should be. He balances out Athena perfectly, and these two make a great pair.
The only thing that kept this from being a five star read for me was that it really does take for granted the fact that the reader knows who these characters are. I had to go back a few times and brush up on my Gods/Goddesses facts. I had forgotten that Hera's main calling card is a peacock feather. Or that Athena was a favorite daughter of Zeus. All of these things hold some importance in the story, and I would have missed them if I hadn't been paying attention. So, if you aren't a mythology buff, you might want to give this one a little bit of patience! I promise that the story as a whole is worth your time. After that ending? I'm glad I gave this one another shot, and eager for more!