I jumped into the Areios Brothers series with Fury of the Gods, the third book. I know most people don’t do that, but when something about the description intrigues me, I have no trouble starting in the middle of a series. If I like what I read, I catch up on the books I missed. To give a hint of my reaction, I already purchased the first two books and added them to my TBR pile.
What drew me to this story is simple: I have a soft spot for Greek mythology. The series is set in a version of modern California, not Greece, or rather Neo Vasileio as the reawakened gods dubbed it. Fury of the Gods provides reminders about events and characters from the two previous books, giving me easy grounding to base my read upon. Existing series readers might end up skimming through some of it, but I found the descriptions interesting.
The mythology is not a cleaned-up, beautified version, either.
The series is based on the existence of scions, progeny descended from relationships between gods and mortals. If you know Greek myth, this leaves a broad field of potentials to choose from. Then there’s infighting among the gods. Each has a different idea of how humans should interact with them and what the gods should be able to expect. Add in oversized personalities, the return of magic, and a world-shattering prophecy, and you get chaos.
Fury of the Gods begins in the middle of a battle, not its only one, and reveals the world and situation in bits and pieces. Some of these come during the first battle and others in the aftermath. The writing is straightforward and engaging, appropriate for the superhero-style narrative. However, Derek and his brother Liam, the two first-person POVs, are neither superheroes nor gods. The narrative style reminds me of C. Gockel’s series about Loki, drawing me in by its very simplicity until I’m committed to the story and the world. I enjoyed the moments of humor, sarcastic and not, and the bonds between characters whether of friendship or something more intimate.
The world’s magic seems to draw inspiration from roleplaying games, with literal fireballs. Still, this does not prevent creative presentations, especially those using ether and water. There is quite a bit of description at points, a treat for Greek mythology fans, but it can be skimmed if that’s not to your taste. Me, I enjoyed how the characteristics of each god showed in what they adopted from the modern world and what they scorned.
As to the brothers, they are scions, those who have magic brought on by their godly forefathers and mothers, something they were unaware of until the gods awoke. Derek has a major hero complex, taking responsibility for everything and trying to save everyone. This rarely goes well. Liam, on the other hand, is used to being protected by his brother so has some growing up to do.
They’re joined by four friends who round out the group to provide a good mix of gender and character types, each with important roles to play. All of them have some measure of power, either untapped or fully expressed, and this power offers as much trouble as aid.
The story in Fury of the Gods is the latest segment in the larger series arc. The novel isn’t exactly a standalone, unless you’re an out-of-order reader, but major things happen and there is significant character growth as a result, offering a satisfying read. The main arc involves a race to prevent Cronus, a Titan gone mad, from escaping his prison. The gods sealed Tartarus when they overcame Cronus’ power back in ancient Greece. A prophecy reveals his release into the world, but how, and who is responsible, is less clear.
It’s that lack of clarity, along with a good bit of power hunger, that sets the series in motion. The gods are split over how to prevent the prophesied destruction of the world. Nor are the conflicts limited to the gods with human scions as tools. The power hunger pulls just as strongly on those without godly powers. There are layers of antagonists and even villainous characters while the bigger struggle of gods verses humans affects even personal conflicts.
This is a fast-paced book with a lot of action scenes, but those actions have consequences. This isn’t a simple story of good versus evil despite the narrative style. Instead, it’s about people put in sometimes impossible positions making the best decision at the time…or at least what they thought was best. This adds a layer of complexity and allows for the characters to grow depth rather than solving every problem by throwing magic at it.
As mentioned above, I’ve picked up the first two books and hope you can see why. I plan to skip back in time and learn how they got to this point. Fury of the Gods is not the end of the greater story, either, and offers an intriguing hint of what’s next in this mix of mythology and magic.
P.S. I received this Advanced Reader Copy from Xpresso Book Tours through NetGalley in return for an honest review.