I was fortunate enough to receive a preview copy of Gods Behaving Badly, the debut novel by Marie Phillips. It’s being released here on December 10, (but of course, it is available for pre-order at Amazon). It was released this past summer in the UK and Europe, and as a result has already garnished enough attention to be optioned for TV!
I’ve always loved the Greek gods and goddesses, and have really enjoyed other novels that dealt with them in current times. Nothing, however, has been like Gods Behaving Badly! The story re-introduces us to the Greek pantheon, who are all living in a London townhouse that has become filthy and incredibly run down. Their powers are waning, but Apollo’s still randy, Artemis still has a chip on her shoulder, Athena’s still wise, Ares is still plotting wars, Aphrodite is using her sexual wiles – but now as a phone sex operator, and Eros has become a Christian. Zeus has gone mad, and needed to be locked up and supervised by Hera.
The townhouse in London was purchased in the mid-1600s, so you can imagine its state without much upkeep. You also have a full pantheon in one townhouse with a small yard – Demeter doesn’t have much land to keep fertile, Artemis can’t have a dog so she walks dogs for others, and Dionysus seems happiest as a DJ with a club, who makes his own wine on the side! After being together so long, and losing their powers slowly, the pantheon has turned into a family that hates, has sex, and manipulates each other. Two humans, Alice and Neil, are accidentally pulled into the workings of this dysfunctional family, and things are irrevocably changed for all of them.
Gods Behaving Badly uses a third-person point of view to show the perspectives of all the characters – you can see the thoughts behind their actions. This unique perspective looking into the minds of the Gods is fascinating – at times a bit disturbing, but still fascinating. I made the mistake of starting Gods Behaving Badly when I was getting ready for bed. I had read at least half the book before I forced myself to close it and sleep. Mind you, I finished it as soon as I got home from grocery shopping the following day! The unique twist on the Greek pantheon and the storyline sucks you into the world inside the book. Marie Phillips has forged a story of which Hephaestus would be proud – it pulls you in from a romance/chick lit perspective, a paranormal/mythology perspective, and a humor novel perspective. With all three working together, you don’t have a chance of pulling loose until you’ve finished the story.
If you poke around her website and blog, you’ll find that Marie seems to be the type of person you’d love to take out for coffee. She appears very friendly and laid back. Marie has decided to use the occasion of her book release to arrange for charitable donations to a children’s charity in the UK. The only negative thing I can say after reading the novel and her site is that she’s 5 years younger than me, and has gotten her novel published.
If you have friends who love the Greek Gods, love Chick Lit, or simply love a good novel, giving them Gods Behaving Badly for the holidays is a brilliant choice. Be sure to buy yourself a copy, too!