Who Let the Gods Out? by Maz Evans

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Who Let the Gods Out? by Maz Evans

Buy Who Let the Gods Out? by Maz Evans at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: This has all the unedifying adventure the young would want – any older and you will see it as just non-stop, blustery, bombastic action drama.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 368 Date: February 2017
Publisher: Chicken House
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781910655412

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Zeus retired as chief god a long time ago, so the rulers of things are the Constellations, even when they're a far-too-juvenile nineteen hundred year old like Virgo. Feeling left out, she steals the ambrosia that the Earth resident known as Prisoner Forty-Two needs, with hardly any clue as to what to do with it or where he is. So it's no surprise that she crashlands on the farm where Elliot lives. He's got enough problems without worrying about a girl who seems doolally arriving – his father is nowhere to be seen, his mother has got dementia and the farm is a week from being repossessed. It's the birth of a most mismatched partnership – the wise-cracking but hard-done-by lad, and his problems, and the godlike girl who thought she could do it all, but stumbles at the first receipt of sarcasm. But not even together can they see the bigger problems around the corner, for both of them – nor the enormity of the help they might end up calling on…

Now the standard blurb, and indeed my intended plot summary, would start with Elliot – his would appear to be the easiest to use as a draw into the book. But the balance of things really does leave him behind. I found an instant connection with him and his lot, of trying to be the man about the house and to even keep the house, while his mother is intent on planting out the clothes pegs at night. The story soon subsumes Virgo, too, to bring in – as you can readily read elsewhere – multiple Greek Gods, and other characters, making this very much an ensemble adventure.

But the fact the human aspect of the story is swallowed up too much and too quickly is one of the problems with it. For me, the story dropped too much that was emotional, in favour of high-octane drama. It's most evident the further you read, as I found too much of the book to be one pell-mell set scene after another, with no let-up and an unfortunate lack of variety in pace. For instance – you start off aware that Elliot has a history test coming up at school. What could be better revision than hanging out with Greek Gods and all their knowledge? But even the exam, when it comes, is full of exuberance. It is soon followed by a quieter, more affecting scene, but more effect would be had from less of a quite monotonous, top gear drive.

Still, what that does indicate is a lot of content, and there is a lot – and a lot of it is very good. The world has been built from the ground up, and it seems no aspect of Greek myth has been ignored to create this adventure. That comes across in the telling, too – we hear of the committee of the Constellations wondering if Cyclops deserve half-price eye care; the unpronounceable handyman Hephaestus is rescued from working on repairing self-service tills. The fact that this is so gung-ho with action may be due to this being a tweaked version for 2017 of a 2014 original, and several years have been spent stuffing it – and stuffing. The only change I could pin down in my ignorance since that original release is that Mary Evans has become a more funky-sounding Maz, which you might think was in order to boost sales across genders, but we learn is due to conflicting author names for her publishers in the US. Either way, I can't see major problems for this book's success, now it finally has major publisher backing – yes, at my age I found myself wanting more variety to its flavour, and more of the company of Elliot, but the target audience will find what the book is, for them – really good fun, and both clever and winsome with it. So while I'm a touch reluctant to give it four stars myself, the intended reader will deem it deserving of them. And I still have hopes for the next volume, which I learn is indeed finally in the pipeline.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

A great tale of a young lad with a British god can be had with Wishful Thinking by Ali Sparkes, which is my way of avoiding how close Elliot's adventure can sometimes get to the likes of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.

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Buy Who Let the Gods Out? by Maz Evans at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Who Let the Gods Out? by Maz Evans at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Who Let the Gods Out? by Maz Evans at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Who Let the Gods Out? by Maz Evans at Amazon.com.


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