The Ascendant by Alethea Crowe

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The Ascendant by Alethea Crowe

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Luke Marlowe
Reviewed by Luke Marlowe
Summary: The Greek gods were renowned for their scheming, plotting and backstabbing. Alethea Crowe brings them into the modern day, in a novel that twists, turns and entertains, although fails to maintain a tight hold on the reader.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 380 Date: June 2014
Publisher: Quartet Books
ISBN: 9780704373587

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The Greek Gods never died - in fact, they are still very much on this planet, causing chaos and interfering with the lives of mortals, albeit on a much smaller scale than in their heyday. Whilst the front cover suggests a thriller much in the vein of The Da Vinci Code or something of its ilk, Alathea Crowe has created something with excellent characters and interesting prose. It's just a shame she didn't stick to the thriller aspect more, as I felt the book lost its hold on me fairly early on.

From the opening pages set in Ancient Greece, Crowe sends the reader straight into the modern day, with the Greek Gods now living among us, and in some cases, living ordinary lives. Whilst not the thunder throwing gods of old, they still have considerable power, and the plot is one that jet-sets all over the world, following the various gods as they seek to fight a destruction that could well be coming from within.

The plot was actually the part I found the weakest - it's occasionally hard to follow, and I felt that I had nothing invested by the time it rose to a climax, and felt that the strands didn't quite tie together in a satisfying manner.

Characters are really the strong point of this book - for those familiar with the Greek Gods, they leap off the page here, even though many have had modern name changes - Juno reinvented as June, a stately English lady made a lot of sense, and was often tremendous fun.

Whilst not a thrilling read, Alethea Crowe has written an interesting modern parable, that sends great characters on a fun, if not gripping journey. The ideas are excellent, and with some polishing, a sequel or a series of books following these gods in the modern world could be intriguing. It's a brave start, but sadly one that didn't quite work for me.

Many thanks for the review copy - I'll be interested to see what Alethea Crowe publishes in the future.

For another modern day thriller that deals with ancient characters and ideas, Angelology by Danielle Trussoni is recommended. And for those wanting to read more about Greek myths for themselves The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller gives modern voice to an ancient tale, in stunning fashion.

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