I received an eARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.
Genre: General Fiction/Fantasy/Mythology retelling Age Range: Adult/NA Star Rating: 3 stars Series: yes - book 1 of duology
My mother told me that men would speak about the Golden Age as a time of peace and happiness for all… However, the women of our age would tell a very different story…
Cronus, God of Gods, whose inheritance is the world. Among his possessions: women, imprisoned and fated to serve. The strong-minded Althea Lambros controls her own fate and lives to honour her dying mother’s plea to protect her two sisters at all costs. Althea’s journey toward crushing the tyranny has begun. It is a destiny foretold by the Fates. And she is following their visions.
On the southern isle of Crete, hidden among mortal women who have fled the Titans, is the Boy God, son of Cronus and believed dead. He shares Althea’s destiny to vanquish the Almighty—fate willing. Because Cronus has caught wind of the plot. He’s amassing his own forces against Althea’s righteous rebellion and all those who will no longer surrender or run. There will be war. If she’s to survive to write their history, the indomitable Althea must soar higher than any god.
Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
This is a very hard book to characterise. Having read it, I do completely understand why the Goodreads tags are so scattered!
The first 50% of the book reads like “General Fiction” – a feminist mythology retelling about Zeus and Cronus from a female perspective. It’s not a myth I’ve seen get so much attention, and that’s why I was interested in it. I’ve read a LOT of Iliad retellings, and wanted something new. I enjoyed seeing the myth deconstructed with a very “Zeus is a petulant child” angle.
Then the book takes a very fantasy turn, that just increases more and more towards the ending, as Zeus trains. I’d guessed the big final twist, and then accidentally had it confirmed when I was searching for the general consensus on the genre, which only upped the “this half feels like fantasy” vibe I was getting. This only intensified towards the finale, which was very much a fantasy final battle.
This section is also what made the book feel less adult and more leaning towards YA or NA with how the romance was handled. You could tell there was a romance being set up, but I was hoping it was going to avoid the more common “betrayal” story line and instead take a nuanced look at trust and undoing prejudice. Althea has her own prejudices against men that would have been really interesting to get into, and exploring how – and if – a healthy relationship can spring up. But that didn’t happen.
Between these things, it felt like more two different books stitched together – an adult general fiction interrogation of a myth and then a YA/NA fantasy loosely based on a myth. I think, had I been expecting it to be younger and more fantasy, I might have been less thrown by it, but the start and marketing made me expect something very different and I struggled with that having really loved the apparent trajectory of the first half.