Thursday, December 4, 2014

Gods, Monsters & Misery

This week one of our favorite authors had a book birthday. Stephen Blackmoore has been on S4 before (see here, here, and here for a few examples). He has a new book out from Abaddon Books, MYTHBREAKER. It is the second book in a series of standalone novels written by different authors (book 1, UNCLEAN SPIRITS is by Chuck Wendig, and there is a novella by Pat Kelleher, DRAG HUNT).

I admit that I've broken one of my book rules: I haven't read the first book yet. I can say that there was no problem getting into this book and now I'm looking forward to reading SPIRITS. 

I really enjoy worlds that are a mash-up of the various mythologies and belief systems (American Gods, Kate Daniels, Iron Druid, Eric Carter, etc), so this world of fallen gods from every pantheon speaks to me on so many levels. It is gritty, as I expected and hoped it would be, and once again Blackmoore has shown that it really sucks to be a character in his universe. But oh, how I love to read about it.

Louie Fitzsimmons does the books for a drug dealer and tries to spend his days high as a kite and hooking up with strangers. Drugs are the only way he knows to quiet the horrible hallucinations that have plagued him his whole life. Then he finds out that the nightmares are actually transmissions from the many gods and goddesses living among us and he is a valued Chronicler, or prophet. He's someone who can tell the stories that shape belief.

One lesson I learned studying mythology is that when humans gain the notice of the gods, it never turns out well for them. Soon Fitz is on the run from a nearly forgotten forest goddess, a Greek powerhouse with a cadre of crazy stay at home moms, an angel with big plans, and a more modern deity. He might be valuable to the gods, but they aren't known for their kindness. He makes uneasy alliances as he tries to come to terms with his power and find a way to survive.

This is a fast-paced, high-flying, crude, sweary, gritty, kickass book. As I said, I really like the inclusion of all of the pantheons and the idea that we're creating new deities in our modern life. One of my favorite parts though, was that the gods might be immortal, but they are not indestructible. They have some vulnerability. The power of human belief is also explored in a different way that I won't go into because of spoilers, but it was good stuff. I'm also a fan of books where stories are especially powerful. It kind of goes with the territory when you're a book addict.

Again, Blackmoore fully tortures his characters. I had a few, "Dammit, Blackmoore!" moments. OK, maybe more than a few. This is a dangerous world they're living in, of course. It's a great cast of characters. Besides the miserable Fitz, we have Medeina (kickass!), and Amanda (more kickass!), and lots more. Amanda started off pretty cool and by the end I became her biggest fan. The villains are good too, and like the best books, most of the characters exist in a grey area where they are neither fully heroic nor evil. So much good stuff.

Buy MYTHBREAKER  Amazon | B&N | Kobo | BAM | Powell's | Indiebound

Stephen Blackmoore:
website http://stephenblackmoore.com/
twitter https://twitter.com/sblackmoore

[received a review copy]
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