Nerds are creatures born, not formed. Some of my earliest memories are of burying my nose in a book for hours, or flipping through the dictionary to learn new words. I was an English nerd until I discovered the world of computers and started geeking out to ones and zeros instead of well-turned phrases.
There are nerds of all shapes, sizes, and persuasions, of course–all kids who entered this world with a predisposition to narrow, passionate interests no one but other nerds of the same genotype would ever care about. And as I look back on my strange kin from elementary school, I see two subjects which held dominance over all others. Two subjects which, I’m convinced, are the undisputed rulers of pre-pubescent nerddom.
Dinosaurs and Greek mythology.
Hera, Queen of Gods is the first book of T.D. Thomas’s Goddess Unbound trilogy, a contemporary fantasy series with characters deeply rooted in myth. At least, I think they are. I mean, I recognize the names being tossed around but what I know of Greek mythology can fit comfortably on the back of a postage stamp. Either way, T.D. Thomas does a good job of selling me on the characters from the get-go.
The novel follows the adventures of a handful of Olympians who have come down to Earth and taken on the bodies of mortal teenagers to solve a mystery. Someone or something has kidnapped the Fates and all of existence is jeopardized by their absence. Hera naturally makes an appearance–being the main character and all–as does Zeus, Athena, Hermes, and others.
The merry band of myths joins forces with several mortals along the way, most notably a boy named Justin who turns out to be somewhat other than mortal himself. Together they battle monsters, perform magical rituals, and uncover a plot that could destroy everyone and everything in all the worlds.
It was a fun read with an interesting story and a cast characters I wouldn’t mind getting drunk with. If you’ve read any of my other reviews, you know that’s about all I ask for in a novel.
Also, don’t think you have to be a mythology nerd to get into it. It would probably help justify the long, lonely days you spent carting around all those three-inch-thick books, but I never felt lost for lack of knowing the canon.
Of course, there are nits I can pick. There are times when the dialog didn’t sound quite right, and a few of the characters have a habit of lecturing which threw off the conversational flow. There were also several points in the story where the characters appeared to figure things out a little too quickly.
When confronted with a mysterious mystery, and hardly a clue to be found, conclusions seemed to come out of nowhere. Perhaps a deeper understanding of the myths would have helped me fill in the blanks, but I suspect it was simply the author already having the whole picture in his head an accidentally assuming facts not in evidence for the reader.
There’s also the matter of a relatively large number of typos and occasional mistakes, such as Justin’s name switching to Aaron at one point. I think Hera, Queen of Gods could have used another pass through the editing mill, but it’s still worth a look if you’re searching for an entertaining read this weekend.
Also? Hera is a hilarious drunk.