Title: Gods Behaving Badly
Author: Marie Phillips
Genre: Fantasy, Humor
Gods Behaving Badly centers around the greek gods of yore, specifically the 12 olympian gods, and how they are fairing living together in modern day London. And they aren’t fairing to well. The gods are mere husks of their former glory: Artemis is a dog walker, Apollo is a TV Physic (A bad one), and Aphrodite is a phone-sex operator. Life drags on for the immortals, yet their too afraid to die.
Meanwhile, a quiet cleaner named Alice and her would-be boyfriend Neil are having problems of their own...
Why I picked it up: This book was originally brought to my attention on the asexuality forums here on LJ, where someone noted that Artemis is portrayed as an asexual in the book. Intrigued, I’d never encountered an asexual in fiction before, I decided to pick it up. I’ve also had a long standing love of any type of mythology, with myths of the Greek persuasion being those I know best. The idea of modern day gods was an plot line I myself had wished to explore, and I was interested to see how my Phillips handled it.
Liked: The style of prose here is very light and dryly humorous, like Neil Gaiman on a good day. The characters are engaging and well flawed, especially the gods. I love that Phillips resisted the urge to dress the gods up; she showed them in all their selfish, egotistical glory, just as they were in the actual cannon of mythology. And yet none of the gods are completely dislikable, always possessing something that endears them to the reader, or at least keeps them from being completely disliked. As for Neil and Alice - what can I say, they are adorable. I was also particularly interested in Phillips’s portrayal of the afterlife: very different than much of what you get in a Judeo-Christian society.
Didn’t like: Some of the plot was a little predictable, but perhaps only because I’ve read Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. Sometimes the characters of Neil and Alice seemed a bit, well unbelievable. Like, they’re in their thirties, have been friends for two years, and clearly like each other, yet they act like thirteen year olds on their first date. I mean, I’m eighteen and very few people my age act as childish about talking about their feelings. At the same time, if Phillips had done it any other way, it really wouldn’t fit their characters.
Final Rating: 4/5