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Friday, January 1, 2010

Gods Behaving Badly

Next book finished this year: Gods Behaving Badly, by Marie Phillips. Actually my second reading of said book - I originally got it out of the library when it was being offered as an express read. I happened to see it on the shelf while looking for books to read and thought "why the heck not?" and read it again. You'll note it doesn't take me long to read these books...

The basic gist of the story is that the ancient Greek pantheon of gods (Artemis, Apollo, Zeus, etc.) are living together in a house in London in modern times, dwindling in their powers - they think because of old age but really turns out it was because of their lack of believers (that's not really a spoiler, it's a pretty standard premise for gods - the more followers they have, the more powerful they are). Aphrodite gets mad at Apollo for something and makes Eros (aka Cupid, her son, for those un-initiated into the Greek names for these gods) shoot him with one of his arrows to make him fall in love with a mortal woman who will not love him back. Hijinks ensue, and said mortal woman and the mortal man who's in love with her are needed to help save the world.

It's a fun premise for a novel, especially for me, as a good part of my childhood was spent reading various forms of Greek mythology (mostly D'Aulaire's) and maintaining an interest in the whole pantheon and myths for ages afterwards. I was put off taking anything to do with Greek history in university by an awful first year professor who spent the first couple of lectures talking about weather and trading patterns in ancient Greece. I was underwhelmed, and dropped the course. Unfortunate, because I probably would have liked taking some of the upper-year courses. Ah well.

I really enjoy reading this book, and will probably purchase it in the relatively near future, so as to be able to re-read at leisure and force-lend it to people on occasion. It's funny, interesting, and more than a little bit bawdy (how could it not be, considering what some of those Greek gods got up to in their spare time?), and all-in-all enjoyable. Slightly more than your basic fluff lit.

Final verdict: Read it, and buy it if you like Greek mythology.

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