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Book Review – Highway to Tartarus

Holly Chism, teacher, blogger, and writer extraordinaire, has come out with the next installment in her “Modern Gods” series, Highway to Tartarus.  Picking up where The Godshead left off, this book takes Hades and his wives on a quest to find and bind an elder god who has let the immortal cheese slip off of her cracker.  Along for the ride are Kira, the Atlantean god of war that we met in Godshead, her adopted daughter, and her husbands, Tyr and Thor.  Throw in Fenrir, the giant wolf from the Norse tradition, and the universe’s most tackily painted and decorated recreational vehicle, and it’s a fun ride.

Interwoven with this tale are chapters that tell the story of how the other gods are dealing with the aftermath of the events of Godshead, as well as an outstanding short story of how Artemis, the Greek goddess of the hunt, deals with those who try to disturb her when she is out in the woods.

While I enjoyed The Godshead, Mrs. Chism really starts to hit her stride and find her voice in this book.  It is more polished than the first book, and the multi-threaded storyline comes together very neatly in the end.  The personalities of the gods and goddesses really come out in this one, and while some, such as Hera, have matured into rational, productive beings, others continue to act like, well, the gods and goddesses that one finds in Bullfinch’s Mythology.

Mrs. Chism does an excellent job at painting the characters, both through descriptions and through their actions.  Her world building was so good that after I read through the book, I had dreams set in the Godshead Tavern, and now I have a short story of my own rumbling around in my story buffer.  A world in which the old gods are still around and a part of life opens up a lot of places to explore and enjoy.

One note on this book:  it’s an adult story written for adults.  While Mrs. Chism doesn’t get graphic sexually, several of the relationships between the various deities are what could politely be called non-traditional.  While I’m sure that Girlie Bear would enjoy this yarn very much, I’m not ready to explain three-cornered marriages quite yet.  Also, at times the characters can be quite foul-mouthed, but it is not gratuitous, and it fits in with the situation and character.

This is an excellent continuation of the story told in The Godshead, and I heartily recommend it if you’re looking for a good read in front of the fire.

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1 Comment

  1. Thanks for the review!

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