Review: Antigoddess by Kendare Blake

Series: Goddess War #1
Publication Date: September 10, 2013
Publisher: Tor Teen
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 333 (ARC)
Source: BEA 2013
Old Gods never die…

Or so Athena thought. But then the feathers started sprouting beneath her skin, invading her lungs like a strange cancer, and Hermes showed up with a fever eating away his flesh. So much for living a quiet eternity in perpetual health.

Desperately seeking the cause of their slow, miserable deaths, Athena and Hermes travel the world, gathering allies and discovering enemies both new and old. Their search leads them to Cassandra—an ordinary girl who was once an extraordinary prophetess, protected and loved by a god.

These days, Cassandra doesn’t involve herself in the business of gods—in fact, she doesn’t even know they exist. But she could be the key in a war that is only just beginning.

Because Hera, the queen of the gods, has aligned herself with other of the ancient Olympians, who are killing off rivals in an attempt to prolong their own lives. But these anti-gods have become corrupted in their desperation to survive, horrific caricatures of their former glory. Athena will need every advantage she can get, because immortals don’t just flicker out.

Every one of them dies in their own way. Some choke on feathers. Others become monsters. All of them rage against their last breath.

The Goddess War is about to begin.
 ~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

This book can be described using one simple term: scary delicious. Hard to put down due to its attention-grabbing freakishness, I could not get enough and simultaneously could not wait for the end because I simply had to know what was going to happen.

This being my first Kendare Blake book ever, I was extremely excited to jump in. I have heard nothing but immense praise towards her debut, ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD, but I will be the first person to admit that I hate horror and I will lose sleep over it. A lot. For weeks. So, I decided to skip over her debut and favor this story knowing that her fanbase was well-earned. And while I adored this book, I can say that her natural talent as a horror writer shines through in scenes that'll saturate her regular readers' hunger while simultaneously making me not want to crawl under a blanket and die. Automatic thumbs up for all types of readers! Woohoo!

I also love mythology and I can never get enough of the Trojan War. When I found out how much the fates of certain people involved in this war would effect the present of this novel, I about jumped for joy. If you want to be sure of sides and the tales, though, I'd recommend going online and searching up a summary of some sort. My prior knowledge made the experience all the more enjoyable to me and while Blake has the ability to easily reference past events through her characters unique thought processes, it can be slightly confusing because the past will always differ somewhat from the present. Plus, she does Athena and Hermes well! I absolutely adored them in this, alongside Odysseus. They simultaneously harnessed the power of eternal wisdom all while feeling the strain of dying and the exhaustion of being a human teenager (even though they were only in punked-out teenage bodies). But, truly, two gods and a crew of reincarnated humans? Sign me up! Hera turning to rock, Poseidon getting eaten by his own sea plants, Athena's lovely owls inadvertently turning on her? Admittedly gruesome, but endlessly fascinating with such a unique spin on your typical gods and goddesses that you'll be left at a loss for words.

Although, while Blake's characterization in regards to the non-human was spot on, her characterization in regards to the humans could have used some slight work. While I loved Cassandra, her elder brother, Henry, and her best female friend and captain of the girls hockey team (finally, a chick who can play sports!), Andie, I didn't fully believe their reactions to certain things. They were very quick to accept the seemingly unacceptable and then question it all later, and even though they would question it they'd still somehow manage to not freak out. I don't know about you guys, but if someone told me they were actually a god in hiding I may freak out and cry before just accepting it, even if he proves it. I would be beyond freaked out that he had the ability to prove it. I just wish that there was realism in their reactions. Though it would make the pacing different, it would make their behavior more realistic and believable. Their willingness to go along with nearly anything without much complaining or disagreement and argumentation seemed to exist to move the plot along more than anything else.

And while the plot was absolutely delicious and awesome, it was slightly slow at times. This was a race against time. Athena and Hermes had to save themselves by finding out who Cassandra was and where to find her all before the evil gods and goddesses who shall currently not be named race to do the same by wreaking havoc against anyone and anything that stood in their path! Exciting, fast-paced, in a hurry! Those are the words I think of when I think of this plot and, at times, I felt as if I was struggling to get to the next page to get out of a random and temporary slow-spell. I wish that the attitude and feelings that Blake easily made burst from the page reflected this intensity to race against time; instead it almost seemed like the exhaustion of coming close to death for some gods was oozing off the pages and slowing everything down. And while I commend this because I could so easily feel what they were feeling due to her amazing writing, I feel like it disrupted the pacing of the story several times.

But still, this story blew me away. The originality, the sheer creativity and imagination required to weave such a tale is unimaginable and is an amazing testament to Blake's skill as a writer. With even more insanity seemingly promised for book two, I cannot wait for this series to continue so that I can get another taste of Cassandra's extraordinary and equally horrific world full of extraordinary and equally horrific circumstances.

Please keep in mind that this book does contain many cusses, a few mentions of sexual situations, mentions of underage drinking, and detailed violence and gore. I would not recommend it for younger readers because of this.

4 stars 


Disclaimer: I did not receive any compensation in return for an honest review of an ARC picked up at BEA 2013.


  1. I have Anna sitting on my shelves, but I haven't read it yet! I'm glad that she's so good with the horror aspects of things! I like horror! Also, I love the whole idea behind this book and I can't wait to get my hands on it! Awesome review!

  2. THIS JUST MAKES ME EVEN MORE EXCITED FOR THIS BOOK. Even though horror stories murder me and deprive me of sleep, I have a masochistic love for them. I'm so glad you liked it and that it has some of the same horror qualities I loved in Anna.

  3. I'm also not a fan of horror, so when one of my book clubs picked Anna Dressed in Blood in the spring, I was a bit hesitant to give it a shot. It's not nearly as scary as I was expecting, however, and was an enjoyable read overall. Like you, I'm a huge fan of Greek mythology, so I'm much more interested in this new series by Blake. Even though I love retellings, I will admit there are a lot of them out there, so it's refreshing to hear that Blake has found a wholly new way to write about Greek mythology. Great review!