Hera, Queen of Gods (Book One of Goddess Unbound) by T.D. Thomas (click pic for link to amazon page), published October 2012.
A wee bit o’ history on how I found the book first. I was recently browsing the Kindle Store for a new Fantasy book to read when I came across Hera, Queen of Gods. At the time I downloaded it, it was free. Funds were low at the time, so what the heck, why not? Couldn’t hurt to check it out right? Exactly! Didn’t hurt one bit. Although it did sit on my Kindle for about a month before I read it as I’d downloaded some other free books at the time. I kept putting it off because it was the one that interested me most, and it was the longest one I’d “purchased” that day. Plus, I procrastinate reading books I’m really interested in sometimes, strange but true.
So here I am yesterday, early morning and can’t sleep anymore. Not wanting to read any of the other books on my Kindle, I decided to dive right in and give it a try. I ended up reading the whole thing, couldn’t go to sleep until I’d finished it last night. Perhaps it shouldn’t have taken me that long to read as it’s only a little over 500 pages, but I’ve been told before I’m a “slow reader”…whatever that means. Allow me now to attempt to review the book I enjoyed so much (forgive me if it’s bad, this is the first book review I’ve ever done). Also, please forgive me if I sound all fanboyish (er fangirl, that is) about it, but there was much I liked about the book.
Here we have various gods and goddesses; Hera, Athena, Zeus, Demeter, Apollo, Artemis, and Hermes, descending from the Heavens into mortal teenage bodies so they may find the Fates and keep the balance between Order and Chaos intact. If you’re not up on your Greek Mythology you may want to do a little reading on the subject beforehand, but that just depends. I don’t recall everything on the subject from my long ago high school days, but I remembered enough to give me an idea of who each character is. (In truth, I don’t think new readers will need to do the “research” as the author does a good job of giving us an idea of their personalities right off the bat.)
At first I was a little iffy about them using the bodies of teenagers, but the prologue gives good insight as to why it was written this way. Turns out it’s not really all that bad as a concept and the story seems to flow well. It does have a tendency to take the reader back in time, if they’re out of high school, and make them feel like they’re right there roaming those halls again. Scary concept for those of us so long out of those times, but effective nonetheless.
Justin’s character is probably my favorite after Athena. He’s a mortal, but he’s different than the others in some way Hera can’t quite figure out…until later. I won’t give anything away here, but I will say that I enjoyed watching his character develop and grow throughout the story. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed all the characters, even the bad ones, but some stuck out with me more than others did. Hermes was another that caught my attention quickly. Besides his love of mortals, his everlasting humor kept me giggling and cracking a smile, even when I wasn’t expecting it.
I have spoken to a few other people that have read the book, as well as read some of the reviews on it, and one thing I would like to mention is the amount of fight scenes in it. This wasn’t a problem for me. I love a good character driven novel, but I also like ones with action in them as well. This, I thought, was a good combination of both. While at some points there was more dialogue than I thought necessary, it didn’t take me away from the scene so much that I was annoyed by it. I enjoyed reading about one struggle after another while the characters were attempting to accomplish their goal. I didn’t see a problem with them having to fight all of the time. We are talking Fantasy here, filled with gods, goddesses, monsters, you name it. I expect there to be a lot of fighting in a piece of work like this.
All that being said, there is one problem I had with the book. There are some grammatical and spelling errors that did in fact jar me out of the moment when I felt like I was just getting into it. While these were few and far between, it was still enough sometimes to make me have to read back a sentence or two, or a word or two, to make sure I was understanding it right. This can be a big turn off for a lot of readers, but honestly I’ve seen misprints like this at times in novels on the best seller list, so I wasn’t bothered by it so much to stop reading.
Overall, Hera, Queen of Gods, is a good read, and one that I now consider a favorite. There are struggles between right and wrong, good and evil, and so many “what if” situations to really make a reader think what it would be like to be in any of these character’s shoes…particularly Hera and the other gods/goddesses. During my time reading it, I kept looking down at the progress bar on my Kindle screen and hoping I wasn’t getting close to the end yet. I just wanted it to keep going. It wasn’t too long (though I don’t think I’ve ever considered any book I read too long) and it wasn’t so short that I felt like much had been left out of the story that the reader should have been given. Hopefully Thomas will be coming out with more of the Goddess Unbound books soon because I would like nothing more than to read what happens after the ending of this book.
Check it out, maybe you’ll like it too. Maybe you won’t. We all know that as writers we can’t please everyone, but this book certainly pleased me.