Review – Gods Behaving Badly

Summary: Being a Greek god is not all it once was. Yes, the twelve gods of Olympus are alive and well in the twenty-first century, but they are crammed together in a London townhouse–and none too happy about it. And they’ve had to get day jobs: Artemis as a dog-walker, Apollo as a TV psychic, Aphrodite as a phone sex operator, Dionysus as a DJ.

Even more disturbingly, their powers are waning, and even turning mortals into trees–a favorite pastime of Apollo’s–is sapping their vital reserves of strength.

Soon, what begins as a minor squabble between Aphrodite and Apollo escalates into an epic battle of wills. Two perplexed humans, Alice and Neil, who are caught in the crossfire, must fear not only for their own lives, but for the survival of humankind. Nothing less than a true act of heroism is needed-but can these two decidedly ordinary people replicate the feats of the mythical heroes and save the world?

This is the ultimate mash-up between a Greek epic, a contemporary chick-flick and a (sort-of-not-really) happily ever after for various gods and goddesses as well as a mortal or two who accidentally crossed paths. If you have even the slightest interest in the Greek mythology, then I am confident that you should pick up this book for the depiction of various deities adjusting to modern life in London alone.

You should also not be disappointed in seeing the deities from their fall from grace; they are no longer the mighty/young/powerful that can interfere with anything that they wish to. The interesting to outright hilarious depictions of some gods and goddesses (Aphrodite, Apollo, Hermes, Artemis) is one of the strongest parts of the book. Seeing what various immortals do after their domains no longer need their tending—for example, Aphrodite no longer really messes up with people’s lives, she just makes a living as a phone sex operator. And Apollo is now a TV psychic (it’s his show of course) that helps people look for their lost jewelry or cats instead of consulting warriors/rulers about battles. I fell in love with these crazy deities all over again, and it is actually hard to pick a favourite from the more prominently featured gods/goddesses. I want to be them all, or at least meet them all!

Given that there are over a dozen of the most (in)famous deities, not everyone’s favourite deity will be given equal screen time or decent characterization. I always have a soft spot for Hades and I am disappointed that he is little more than a cameo. Other major gods that could have received more characterization include Hera, Zeus, Poseidon, Ares etc. Luckily, the humans in the book—Alice and Neil—have very cute interactions with the Greek gods/goddesses and I always mentally cackle at these moments. A personal favourite of mine is when Artemis has a very long list of rules for Alice, the new housekeeper for what is probably the oldest and filthiest house in all of London.

The writing is light and tongue-in-cheek, which means nothing should be taken too seriously. It also means that the plot is rather predictable and clichéd, given that it is a very loose parody of what a Greek epic/mythology is. There is the usual angst of separation of lovers, a few deaths, people who would have to do impossible good deeds and become a hero. But Philips writes very smoothly and I have a fabulous time indulging in this crazy adventure as it is a fast(er)-paced novel.

Overall, this is an excellent book for the beach or a sunny day when you would want to reacquaint with your old favourites and enjoy the ride at all the havoc that could happen if Greek deities did live amongst mere mortals.


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