Are you like me and hold a special place for Greek Mythology in your heart? Do you also enjoy YA dystopians with some seriously tragic characters? Then let me introduce you to “Helm of Darkness”. In a nutshell, this book is about the classic Greek Gods (Zeus, Hades, Poseidon, you know, that old gang) getting fed up with being forgotten by us mortals. So, in classic Greek God fashion, they destroy the world and make all us mortals worship them once more. How charming. Except there’s this prophecy, because of course, and this prophecy says that two mortals are going to save the day! Usually I am not the biggest fan of these types of tropes, but I was here for it this time.
The “prophesized one” trope is a pretty standard go to in YA books, and I usually don’t like it because it’s often used as a way to hand wave away a bunch of things for the main characters. “How am I supposed to beat the gods? I’m just a kid!” “Don’t worry about that, the prophecy says you’ll be great!” *is instantly good at all things*. There is some of that here, but both our MC’s, Zoey and Andy, our modern day heroes, both fail. They aren’t instantly good at, well, anything in this new world. They even want to give up and die, not wanting to even be involved in this madness when everyone else they know and love is dead. It’s such a real moment, such a refreshing take on this old trope, that it helped me get over my own personal issues with these kinds of story mechanics.
But the thing that really had me loving this book was the tragedy that is pretty much every single character. They all have such rich backstories that really shape their actions and decisions, and you see it coming to fruition on the page. It’s wonderful! Even characters that are supposed to be the semi-bad guys have such painful backstories that shaped them, that you ache for them just as much as you do the heroes who are all suffering from loss and feeling overwhelmed, and just getting knocked around by monsters almost on the daily. It humanizes so many of the otherwise “godly” characters that I was pleasantly surprised, and was looking at these classic myths in a new light. Speaking of which, that’s another thing that was a lot of fun in this book: the inclusion of the classic monster’s and myths. I loved reading the author’s take on Medusa, and especially Persephone, that even though those stories were all very familiar to me, they felt fresh and new all over again.
This was fast paced, dystopian adventure that I think fans of Percy Jackson would enjoy. There are some darker elements, some instances of gore, and some twists I never saw coming, so this may be better for those fans who age out of Percy. The adventure moves seriously fast, and while I sometimes I wished it would slow down and show me more of this ruined world, more instances with the gods, or even showing why Andy and Zoey, out of billions of people, were the ones to be brought back, I highly enjoyed the ride. So I’m giving it an enthusiastic 4.5 stars! Even though the first book is a complete story, it does end on a little bit of a cliffhanger that makes me so excited for the next books in this trilogy. And thanks to the author for sending me a copy for an honest review!
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