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Review: Gods Behaving Badly

When I was little, I used to be able to sit down and read straight through a book in a single afternoon.  As I’ve gotten older this has happened less and less often.  I’m too busy with school and work and friends or too distracted by tv and movies to plow through a book that quickly.  Even this January, a time when I have had very few things that needed to get done, I still hadn’t found a book that I could read straight though.

My reading drought ended, however, when I picked up Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips.  I started the book sometime early Saturday afternoon and enjoyed it so much that I had it done by 8:30 on Saturday night (with only brief breaks for errands and dinner).   A clever concept, well-written characters, and a compelling plot made this book a light and fun read that left me feeling a little smarter after I finished.

In Gods Behaving Badly, the twelve gods of Mount Olympus have found themselves stuck living together in a run down and utterly unpleasant flat in London.  Apollo, god of the sun, has found employment as a television psychic.  His twin sister Artemis (goddess of hunting and the moon, among other things) is a professional dog walker, and Aphrodite (goddess of love) spends her time as a phone sex operator.  Zeus is practically nonexistent, and the gods are having a rough time making it in the modern world as their powers begin to dwindle and they face the prospect of old age and death.  One afternoon, a spat between Apollo and his sometimes-lover Aphrodite brings mortals Alice and Neil into the gods’ world with potentially disastrous consequences.

I can’t really say enough good things about this book.  I loved the way Phillips turned the gods into characters, drawing on a lot of Greek mythology to make their professions and plights believable.  The conflict in the story was well drawn out, and the eventual resolution and conclusion weren’t predictable at all.  Alice and Neil, characters that might disappear next to all of the gods, were sweet, and I was rooting for them throughout the story.

As a side note, there are some slightly inappropriate elements in the book — after all, the Greek gods were know for their propensity to drink and have incestuous sex with one another.  Nothing graphic, but it’s worth mentioning.  And given that the book makes the Greek gods real, there are a few brief discussions about the relationship between the Greek gods and other modern religions.  None of these elements bothered me in the slightest, but I can see why they might bother other readers.  So, just an FYI.  In all other ways, I enjoyed this book immensely and recommend that you pick it up if you get the chance.

Other Reviews: Savvy Verse & Wit; SMS Book Reviews; BiblioHistoria;

If you have reviewed this book, please leave a link to the review in the comments and I will add your review to the main post. All I ask is for you to do the same to mine — thanks!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • bermudaonion January 20, 2009, 10:56 am

    I’m so glad you enjoyed this book. I haven’t read it yet, but I listened to Marie Phillips on Blog Talk Radio and she was a hoot.

  • Chelsea January 20, 2009, 11:33 am

    What a great review of what seems like a great book! I can’t wait to pick this one up – I’m a total sucker for Greek mythology, no matter what form it comes in!

  • sagustocox January 20, 2009, 1:15 pm

    I loved this book. It is one of the best ones I’ve read.

  • Kim January 20, 2009, 1:37 pm

    bermudaonion: I will have to look for that interview.

    Chelsea: Me too, I’m a sucker for mythology from most places, so this book struck that chord with me too.

    sagustocox: Yes, I loved it too — I’m glad I won it from your giveaway!

  • Elizabeth January 20, 2009, 9:17 pm

    I, too used to plow through books in a day. The last one was HP: Goblet of Fire, and that’s only because it was July, 98 degrees, and being a teacher I was home in the A/C all day.
    This book sounds like it is hysterical!

  • Michele January 20, 2009, 10:39 pm

    I loved this book, too! I thought it was hysterical, light-hearted and a perfect read for me at the time….love books like that!

  • Kim January 20, 2009, 10:45 pm

    Elizabeth: I plowed through all of the Harry Potter books, except for the last one. I was feeling sort of sad about finishing it, so lingered on the last few chapters.

    Michele: I agree, I love when books seem to just fit the mood you’re in when you read them. This one just hit the spot for me too.

  • raych January 21, 2009, 12:03 pm

    Ah those greek gods. Such hilarious book fodder. This has always been on that back-of-the-brain list (you know, the one that you don’t write down, and that you only remember when books that are on it come up).

  • Kim January 21, 2009, 4:33 pm

    raych: I think you should move it up to the written list, it’s a fun book to read.

  • Tamara Baff January 21, 2009, 9:25 pm

    I really didn’t enjoy this that much. it was certainly an easy read but while it was original…it just didn’t appeal to me.

  • Jessi January 22, 2009, 8:14 pm

    This book sounds amazing, and I must find a copy of it! My TBR pile might complain a bit, but I don’t mind. 🙂

  • Joanne January 23, 2009, 8:16 am

    Great review! I thought the authors creativity was fantastic! Bringing the Gods into our world is one thing, but giving them such eclectic personalities was just awesome.

  • Kim January 23, 2009, 5:16 pm

    Tamara: I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy it. To each her own I suppose 🙂

    Jessie: Excellent!

    Joanne: Yeah, the personalities was one of my favorite parts too. I thought she did an excellent job characterizing the gods in believable ways.

  • Jenny January 25, 2009, 1:14 pm

    Oh, this sounds fun! I think I’ve seen this at the bookshop, but I didn’t realize it was a novel. I’ll have to get it from the library.

  • Kim January 25, 2009, 5:15 pm

    Jenny: Yeah, I wouldn’t have realized it was a novel just from the cover. It’s quite fun, I hope your library has it.

  • Care January 26, 2009, 3:41 pm

    I want this book! Great review. I’m going to bookmooch or the library right now and see if I can find it…

  • Kim January 27, 2009, 9:09 am

    Care: I hope you can find it!

  • Jenners February 6, 2009, 11:28 pm

    I just read it and LOVED it! Great review! : )

  • Kim February 9, 2009, 8:33 pm

    Jenners: Great, I’m glad. And thanks!