Title: The Woken Gods
Author: Gwenda Bond
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Released: 3rd September 2013
Rating: 2 of 5 stars
With promises of Egyptian mythology and sudden disappearances, the wait for this book was a difficult one. I find mythology in general to be a fascinating thing, and that combined with plot elements and characters would make this a wonderful read...Which was why, by the end of this, I was even more disappointed.
Gods, the Society of the Sun, relics...these are features of the new Washington, D.C. Features that are a part of Kyra's world, but that she has no direct experience of until she's approached by two tricksters one day after school. That one encounter marks the start of a new life, one that consists of searching for her father and the relic he stole, working with Society operatives and actively getting involved with the gods. The consequences of not finding her father and getting that relic back don't bear thinking about.
My difficulties with this novel began almost as soon as I started. To begin with, I wasn't sure if it was the book itself or simply me, but as I progressed further I realised these problems weren't going away. That's not to say it still isn't me; I have been known to hold black sheep status on several occasions, after all. But one of the big issues for me was the world-building. For something so central to her plot, Bond's world-building was unfortunately lacking. While there were numerous mythological gods, their presence for the most part felt static; I didn't get a sense of who they were individually, nor did I understand their relations with Kyra's society. This confusion then fed into my reaction to the actual plotline. That in itself was not particularly impressive, either.
Added to this was the fact that a lot of it seemed flat. To give credit where credit is due, and aware as I am of how critical this review has become, there were scenes and sections that Bond wrote quite well, actually enabling me to connect with what I was reading; passages that stood out and had me sitting up with renewed interest. Sadly, though, this wasn't enough for me to truly enjoy it. My feelings toward Kyra were non-existent. I didn't love her, hate her, or anything in between. I thought Oz sweet enough, Ezra intriguing enough, but ultimately the line separating them from everyone else was very thin. The interactions between the characters, too, felt flat and awkward, as did the different POVs. It was just quite jumpy and ill-flowing, and it all left me feeling somewhat dissatisfied.
For all my criticisms, The Woken Gods wasn't unbearably bad. There were parts well-written, and it was engaging to a point. I can't deny, however, that I did not get on with this novel, and that I am disappointed given the amount of potential it has. Other people have had better luck than I (including my awesome reading buddy and blogging friend, Rebekah at Reflections of a Bookworm), so do go and see what they have to say. For my part, I won't be revisiting this world anytime soon, unfortunately.