by Marie Phillips
First sentence: “One morning, when Artemis was out walking the dogs, she saw a tree where no tree should be.”
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The gods have a problem. They’ve been stuck in an increasingly run-down house in London for 300 years. They’re bored. They’re losing power. Sure, they’ve tried other occupations — Aphrodite has a bit of a business as a phone sex operator, and Dionysus runs a pretty happening club, not to mention Apollo’s stint as a TV psychic — but it’s just not working for them. Things just aren’t going well.
Enter Alice, the unassuming cleaner and her would-be boyfriend, Neil. She’s pretty shy, as far as mortals go, but after Artemis hires her to clean the absolutely filthy house, she brings some life to the group. (That’s helped along a bit, due to some revenge work by Aphrodite: she gets Eros to hit Apollo with an arrow and he falls for Alice.) This leads to some sticky situations, though, culminating in possibly the end of the world. Interestingly enough, Neil finds a role as a hero, and the gods find a new reason to exists again.
It’s a unique little take on the Greek gods. Sure, I prefer Percy Jackson, but this one deals directly with the gods themselves. They’re dealing with the lack of belief from Mortals (can I say one of my favorite parts was Eros’s devotion to Christianity? Very intriguing.), though they don’t realize that’s what it is until near the end. (Though an observant reader will pick that up, so it’s not really a spoiler.) It’s not as funny or as witty as I would have liked, but it is entertaining. I’m also not sure the overall story is quite what I would have liked it to be: there’s a trip into the Underworld, and the whole “Everyone Believes” at the end seemed a bit forced; but that could just be my devotion to Percy Jackson talking.
There were moments that made me smile, though. And I liked Artemis and Alice and Neil, so there’s at least a couple of characters that I could connect with. So, t’s a not a complete waste of time after all.