Rating: 3.5 stars
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The gods and goddesses of Olympus are living as humans in Stamp of Fate by Nessa L. Warin. Having given up their personas of gods, but keeping immortality, these gods and goddesses own businesses, have friends, and live day-to-day like humans.
Finding a dead body in their foyer was not exactly how Declan Anagnos and Tadd Leventis – Hermes and Ares, respectively – planned on spending their evening. Discovering that the body was the human persona of Athena was even more disturbing since gods are supposed to be immortal. Bront, formerly known as Zeus, calls Declan to take up his role as Hermes, messenger of the gods and spy of Zeus, in order to investigate who is killing gods. Along with Tadd, who takes up his role as Ares, god of war, to protect Declan and keep him safe while helping investigate, these two find their lives turned upside down.
The investigation turns up a few suspects but not before more gods are murdered. In order to find and catch the killer, Declan and Tadd must work together even when their trust and loyalty to one another is attacked.
After reading the blurb for this book, I was really excited about diving into it. I have loved Greek mythology since I read Mythology in high school. And who doesn’t love a good murder/mystery? But I was a little disappointed because the plot was so easy to figure out. I knew who the killer was and why he did it within the first chapter, and I was even more disappointed when I discovered, by the end of the book, that I was right. I would have liked it better if there had been some sort of twist to the story instead of it being the most likely suspect for the most obvious reason.
However, I did enjoy the mix of mythology and real life in this story. There were aspects of Greek mythology that the author used in this modern day story – the description of the underworld, Persephone’s six-month stay between her mother and Hades, and Aphrodite’s many affairs, especially with Ares, as well as her marriage to Hephaestus. And then there were aspects from Greek mythology that were created and adapted to fit the world in which this story takes place – the biggest being the curse Aphrodite placed on Ares, Hermes, and Helios.
The way the author used mythology as part of the characterization of each god and goddess was very creative. In all mythology stories, there are common characteristics among the gods. Declan (Hermes) was the CEO of a communications company, Tadd (Ares) was the CEO of a weapons manufacturer, Bront (Zeus) owned Olympus Casino, and Adara (Aphrodite) owned a matchmaking service. There are many more that are so very creative, but it would be easier for you to read the book than it would be for me to tell you all of them. In all mythology stories, there are common characteristics among the gods. They are often selfish, whiny brats, and most of the characters in this story were no different. The only exceptions were Declan and Tadd. Because of their relationship, they spent more time and energy focusing about each other.
The relationship between Declan and Tadd was already established at the beginning of the book. The think I liked about their relationship was that it was not completely perfect. Declan and Tadd had their own problems that they had to overcome within their relationship, but they didn’t give up on each other. Even when they were fighting there was still a bond of love that kept them together. There is a little bit of history given in regards to their relationship, but I would have liked to actually see some of that history – maybe a flashback or two over the centuries – to show how the relationship became such a stronghold.
My biggest problem was with that the story was with the narration, and it is more of a personal preference really. The story is written in third person POV in the present tense. The present tense was what I had difficulty with. I felt like I was being told a story, like I was being talked at. Personally, I prefer to feel like I’m experiencing a story through the main character’s eyes while I’m reading, and I didn’t get that from this story and the only thing I can attribute that to is the present tense issue. Like I said, it’s more of a personal preference but because of it, I couldn’t connect to the story very well.
All in all, it was a good story that was very creative in essence with a good basis, and it had incredible potential. But in the end it just ended up falling flat.
Cover: This cover by Shobana Appavu shows Declan’s character the wrist marking of Hermes and is set against a Greek-looking artifact but I think there were some missed opportunities to use more than one character – at least Declan and Tadd – or wrist their markings and the bronze daggers.