City of Gods – Hellenica
Ancient gods have returned, and, much like their previous iterations, they use humans to amuse themselves. They all live next to each other in the conurbation, a country made up of different areas ruled by different powers, and the conurbation is headed towards disaster.
The Academy is trying to stop that. A new school created by a variety of minor powers, its goal is to train sixteen young gods to care more for the world than for themselves. Four of these sixteen are especially important. Known as the Horsemen, they are destined to move the world forward to a new age.
Unfortunately for the Horsemen, they are new to all of this. Kayana (Death) is probably the best equipped to deal with her newfound importance. Voluntarily locked away because her touch kills people, she is aloof and fierce. Gunnar (War) was trained a Spartan but is now a successful pit fighter with a sad past and bleak future. Saoirse (the White Knight) was raised to be a pleasure provider, so she is completely unused to thinking for herself. Lastly, Tommy (Pestilence) carries a large number of diseases but is completely immune. He has to wear a suit both to protect others from his germs and to allow him to walk.
This unlikely group must learn to rely on each other if the Academy’s goal is to be achieved, but first they must save the Academy from an unknown demon capturing people through their dreams.
There is a lot going on in this book, and, while that keeps things fast-paced and exciting, it also prevents you from getting invested in the characters. There is one plotline that relies on emotions and is absolutely adorable, but everything else feels wooden. Also, the book is entirely plot-driven. Things happen, and the characters react to them; the characters don’t make anything happen on their own. This makes it feel like you’re being pulled along through twists and turns without anything to really latch onto. Every new twist is a complete surprise, not because the signs were so subtle, but because there were no signs at all.
That said, this is a solid first book. The characters are likeable, and the world is interesting. If Maas writes a sequel, I’ll definitely pick it up because the Horsemen and their world have excellent potential, but it won’t be on the top of my reading list.
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