Publication Date: March 14, 2017
Freya is the myth. Freya is the legend. And she’s about to make one hell of a comeback.
There’s far more to Sara Vanadi than meets the eye. In her prime, she was Freya, the Norse goddess of love, beauty, war, and death – though that past hardly seems to matter now. For an ancient goddess in the 21st century, true believers – and the strength they bring – are painfully hard to find. But when a new, rising power threatens to remake the world by bending the divine to its will, Sara realizes her days of hiding have ended, and a chance to claw her way out of the history books has arrived. She’ll just need new clothes and a manicure before she gets started.
Blending elements of fantasy and sci-fi in a modern-world setting, the first novel in this new young adult series is perfect for fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.
The main character, Sara (a.k.a. Freya) was often a lot of fun to read. She is spunky and has some good quips, especially when she is verbally sparring with a bad guy. Her fight scenes were well plotted and easy to follow. The magic system she uses is not complicated and feels original. She occasionally struggles with morality as she tries to justify using her divine powers to attain her goals, which is a nice layer of three-dimensionality for her character. Unfortunately, there aren’t more layers. She seeks to defeat evil, but in almost every other way she is exceedingly shallow, existing only for pretty clothes, good food, and adoration.
There are positive and negative things about the other characters in the book, too. Physically, the author’s descriptions of the deities are fantastic. Each one is unique and easy to picture (especially the Hawaiian goddess sisters). However, in terms of character, all the females fit the same mold: they are either already powerful, or they become powerful (except one, but she’ll come into her own in the sequel. Yes, the author left the door WIDE open for sequels). Likewise, the men are all either bad guys or lapdogs. It seems like the author came up with a neat idea (or he read Neil Gaiman’s American Gods) and then tailored it specifically to the YA female market.
The author also committed a significant faux pas. Freya formulates a plan to try and defeat the corporation, but even though the story is told in first person—so the reader sees through Freya’s eyes and hears her innermost thoughts—for some reason we readers can’t know her plan? Later, she refines the plan, and even shares it with some allies, but we STILL don’t get to overhear it??? While not technically “wrong”, this method of drawing out the suspense certainly feels like cheating. It also makes me skim big chunks of text so I can get to the good part and see what she’s up to.
One final note, the author decided to include Jesus in the pantheons of myths he mentions. He doesn’t play a role in the plot, but the author made a point of mentioning Him. I know not everyone will have a problem with calling Jesus a mythological being constructed by the human imagination, but I do. Maybe the author didn’t think it through, or maybe he has an axe to grind against Christianity. Either way, it’s probably not smart to potentially offend the 70% of the Western world who consider themselves Christians. (Wikipedia:Western_world).
Sexual content: only one kiss, but lots of innuendo & suggestiveness
Language: 4 curse words, no F-bombs
Violence: YES. Plenty of fight scenes.
*A HUGE thank you to Imprint for this ARC which I got in exchange for an honest review*