Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Dig by Audrey Hart

Publisher: Backlit Fiction
Age: Young Adult
Species: Humans/ Gods/ Goddesses
Rating: 4/5
Interest: Requested Review/ Greek Mythology/ Pretty Cover
Source: Arc from author

Zoe Calder has always been an outsider. Stashed away in boarding schools since her parents died, Zoe buries herself in the study of ancient worlds. Her greatest thrill is spending her summers with her archeologist aunt and uncle on digs around the world. And one day, while investigating a newly unearthed temple in Crete, Zoe discovers a luminous artifact that transports her to ancient Greece.

As Zoe quickly learns, the Olympian Gods are real, living people—humans with mysterious powers… Powers that Zoe quickly realizes she has come to possess, as well. However, when the people of ancient Greece mistake Zoe for an Olympian, the Gods must restore the balance of the ancient world… No matter what.

Zoe is forced to play a confusing and dangerous game as Hera rallies the gods against her—all except for Zeus, the beautiful, winged young god who risks everything to save her.

Out of time and out of her element, teenager Zoe Calder finds herself in ancient Greece, battling against the power of the Olympians and the vengeance of a scorned goddess—all for the strange and mysterious boy she has come to love.

I admit to having more than a few reservations about reading The Dig. Books about mythology can go one of two ways, either you really like it or you really don't. I was pleasantly surprised to find I loved the book. Full of fast paced action, swoon-inspiring boys and mythological wonder, The Dig is a great book for teens.

One of the reasons it's so tricky to have everyone like mythology books is because the stories can be so different in each culture and age group. When I was younger, I never saw the gods and goddesses as arrogant and spiteful, I just felt it was cool that they were so beautiful and had amazing powers. I realize now that the children's books tended to sugar coat the misdeeds of the Olympians. Now I see them as selfish and sometimes cruel, but still think they have awesome powers. Hart took a less stereotypical approach to identifying and describing the gods and goddesses. They were essentially that clique of popular and snobbish teenagers who cause destruction for fun. I balked at some of the descriptions like Artemis being a mean hipster, Athena being a wannabe and Hades being a body builder. There was a certain truth in the gods and goddesses being eternal teenagers, full of raging hormones, mood swings and destructive impulses. As a side note, I also really liked the origin story of their powers and how they could be cancelled out, just brilliant!

The Dig was a little hard to get into at first, mainly because of Zoe's voice. It took a decent amount of time to get used to her and the numerous pop culture references thrown in. I mean I love pop culture, but it's a little much to keep hearing about Sex and the City, Kim Kardashian, and twitter when you're trying to focus on the fact that Zoe's in ancient Greece where none of those things belong. Even a nymph, who has no possible way of knowing what they are, asked if Zoe and Zeus wanted engraved invitations to go somewhere.

I had a bit of conflict with Zoe and Zeus' relationship. It was almost like going back and forth on the teeter totter. On the one hand I really enjoyed the way they interacted with each other. It was total and complete insta-love, but I was okay with it since a girl like Zoe would fall for someone like that. She's never had a boyfriend, not very many crushes, only been kissed a few times, of course she's going to create an instantaneous and powerful connection with the only person she likes and who seems to like her back. Still, I could not stomach all of Zoe's anxiety and insecurity or flat out heart break every time Zeus had to leave her. For making such a point of being different and unlike the girls back at her prep school, Zoe really failed at subduing the boy talk.

One thing I do wish for the second novel, is more side characters. In The Dig, there were a few secondary characters, but they appeared and left so quickly that it was pretty much all Zoe or all Zoe and Zeus all the time. Which isn't bad, but I'd like to see more of how they interact with other people.

The Dig had many very good action scenes, one at the end lasted longer than I would have liked, but as the "climax" it had to pack a punch. Seeing how the gods and goddesses could fight was interesting. However, I wished they had thought of collaborating. If all the gods and goddesses that opposed Zoe attacked all together at once, she would have been toast, no question.

If you like mythology, smart girls, and dreamy eyed boys then The Dig is definitely a book you want to check out. You can buy it on amazon.com for kindle. It's certainly a new trilogy to watch out for.

P.s. - The cover is a little misleading, Zoe is not a version of  Hermes as I thought, with the winged feet. She has her own unique powers.

Teaser Lines: "There is nothing more dangerous in this world, in any world, than someone calm, clear and angry."

Happy Reading,

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