Book Review: Antigoddess by Kendare Blake

Posted October 10, 2013 by Kara in book review, Kara / 24 Comments

Book Review: Antigoddess by Kendare BlakeAntigoddess by Kendare Blake
Series: Goddess War #1
Published by Tor Teen on September 10th, 2013
Genres: fantasy, young adult
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

The Goddess War begins in Antigoddess, the first installment of the new series by acclaimed author of Anna Dressed in Blood, Kendare Blake. 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.

I don’t know one blogger who didn’t love Anna Dressed in Blood. I’m sure they exist, but they are not someone I know. I liked it a lot, but it wasn’t true love. I gave it four out of five stars, and I believe the reasoning was that I couldn’t connect to the characters–that I didn’t like them very much. Well, as much as I hoped that wouldn’t happen again, it did.

I found the characters to be flat, one-dimensional, and for the most part, completely unlikable. Athena was selfish, Hermes was a pushover, Aiden was googly-eyed over Cassandra without any personality of his own, the villains were your typical ‘muahahah’ kind, and Cassandra was a shell of a person, her only purpose to move the plot along. 

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Obviously, this was incredibly frustrating for me as a reader. I’ve seen reviews for this book that complimented the writing. Uhhh…I can’t say that I agree. No disrespect to those reviewers, but this book was SERIOUSLY lacking in transitions. There were places where the writing was super choppy, and there was a lot of dialogue where I was unsure who was speaking. Maybe this is because I analyze everything I read and read a lot slower than I used to, but it bothered me. A lot. 

As far as the story itself goes, I didn’t like the first thirty pages or so, and I was sorely tempted to give it up. We have Athena coughing up feathers and come boring girl named Cassandra going about her day-to-day activities with not much else going on. Athena and Hermes are dying, that’s all we know, and it takes a while to go anywhere beyond that. 

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What was the point to all of it?


I just couldn’t connect. I didn’t like the characters, I didn’t like the writing, and I don’t believe the opening chapters were plotted well. Things did finally start to get interesting, but it was past the point of me caring. I am certain that I would have put this book down to read something else if I had not been given TWO copies for review from the publisher. I felt obligated so I finished.

One of the things I determined from reading Anna Dressed in Blood was that this author excelled at storytelling. And while I liked what she did with the Greek myths (and as a mythology purist this is hard for me to admit), I thought the storytelling was pretty blah. Sure the second half of the book moved along at a decent pace, but if you don’t engage the reader you are writing for, it’s not exactly something I can compliment. 

It’s not all bad though. She did something daring with the myths and I have to give her credit for that. I thought most of her imagery was pretty decent though I would have enjoyed it more if it hadn’t been choppy, choppy, choppy. Everything just felt so abrupt and in your face and that is NOT how I felt about her previous work. 

I feel like I should maybe rate it lower than what I am, but I finished it. The book kept me interested enough to push on past the halfway point and that deserves something from me. And then I did appreciate the creativity the author used in her topic of choice. Will I be sticking around for the next book in the series?

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Actually, what I will probably end up doing is have a friend that continues on with the series spoil it for me.


24 responses to “Book Review: Antigoddess by Kendare Blake

  1. I think this is the first remotely negative review I’m across for this book and I’m so sorry you couldn’t connect with this one, Kara. I still haven’t read this author’s debut duo, so I plan to get to that first before tackling this series. Hopefully this will improve with later installments! Wonderful review, though, dear! Thanks for your honesty.

    • I still have to read Girl of Nightmares but I am anxious to do so because I have heard even more awesome things about it since I wrote this review. Apparently there is a suicide forest in the book and there is nothing scarier than that.

  2. Oh what a shame that this didn’t work for you as you would’ve liked! I read Anna recently and adored it, all the creepiness >.<

    Fabulous review, Kara! <33

  3. I was pretty determined to like this book based on reviews and the fact that it seems like finally a decent book on Greek mythology has arrived. But I’m fearing that I might end up disliking it or feeling neutral about it because I have yet to get through Anna and when I started Antigoddess, I found myself putting it down and reaching for other books. I totally agree with everything you said about the first few chapters not being compelling enough and it’s really sad because I love Greek mythology and I did want to be swept off with this story… The prospect seems bleak.


    • Maybe you will be opposite of me. Maybe you will really like this but dislike Anna. It could happen! I hope you give it another chance. The reading style is a bit odd in this one though.

  4. This actually makes me so sad! I have Antigoddess on my kindle, and I was really looking forward to it. However, I really need to be able to connect with the characters, and retelling mythology is pretty tricky to do. Since I own this book already, I know I’ll read it, but I’m pretty sure my expectations will be lower.

    Thanks for the warning, Kara 🙂

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

  5. MJ

    I actually liked it, but maybe it’s because I’ve read a ton of bad Greek mythology inspired YA series. So my bar wasn’t set that high. Also,, it was the first Blake book I’ve read too and I think that made a difference as well. I think what worked for me is that this book wasn’t as heavy on the romance aspects as a lot of other books in the subgenre are. Yeah, Cassandra is dull and her relationship with Aidan is practically insta love, but the grisliness of the gods kept me hooked. And for the most part I did like Athena, when she was sort of acting like Athena instead of going all moony over Odysseus.

  6. I’m not a blogger, but I didn’t like ADiB–same thing as you, I couldn’t connect with the characters. I’ll let you know how I feel about this one after I finish it!

  7. I’m still reading Antigoddess and I totally agree! I can barely find the strength to move on but I have less than 100 pages left so I’ll probably keep reading it. The characters are so bleh (for lack of a better word) and Aidan has no drive at all, so annoying!

  8. What a shame! I really did love Anna Dressed in Blood (yet I haven’t read the follow-up yet) but I was really looking forward to it. I was honestly a bit leery at the strange mythological twist but I was willing to give it a shot. I’ll be reading it soon so we’ll see. Great review! Sorry you didn’t enjoy it 🙁

  9. I know what you mean, beb. I loved her first series so much that I was utterly flabbergasted at how I wasn’t enjoying Antigoddess. I’ve had such HIGH expectations! It just felt bland and I didn’t feel like reading anymore. My bookmark is still there somewhere……

  10. Amy

    It’s a shame that this one didn’t work for you. I really loved Anna Dressed In Blood, so I was excited for this one. I haven’t gotten a chance to pick it up yet, but it seems like I should lower my expectations going into it. Great review as always hon!!

  11. I actually felt the same way about Anna Dressed in Blood. Well, the characters felt a little flat to me, and I also thought there were some issues with world building. From Anna, however, I’ll give Blake kudos for creating an interesting and very readable story. That’s disappointing to find that you also weren’t as enamored with Anna and feel the same about this one. I was hoping that this is an improvement. I still may try this one out, though, as I love all stories related to Greek mythology.

  12. Yay-someone who pretty much agrees with me! I liked Anna a lot but was not impressed with this book. There were moments of humor and some great dialogue but I really have to agree about the choppy writing and transitions.

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