Downfall of the Gods by KJ Parker
Book of the Month
Downfall of the Gods is a standalone novella by KJ Parker, a story about a pantheon of gods and how they interact with the mortals who worship them. I've always been a fan of KJ Parker's novels, so I've always been meaning to try one of Parker's novellas, and I'm glad I did because this was an excellent story.
Downfall of the Gods imagines a pantheon of Greek inspired gods and presents them as a bickering squabbling family, similar to a stereotypical Greek family. The story follows Artemis, goddess of charm, who breaks bad by wilfully choosing not to provide salvation to a murderer (Lord Archias) who had done all the right things in terms of penance and prayer. At the behest of her father, Artemis provides Lord Archias with a chance at redemption and salvation - accompany her on a journey to the underworld to retrieve the man he murdered at great personal and spiritual risk. What follows is an exploration what the nature of gods might be, the importance of faith, and a brief exploration of what it means to be human in comparison to being a god.
What I liked about this story was the wide cast of gods and the ways in which their interactions shaped the world of the mortals below them. These gods have been around for an eternity, are all powerful, probably all knowing, but end up being quite immature and juvenile because they are bored. Gods will frequently play tricks on each other, set in motion complex plans of sabotage and vengeance that cause huge rifts between family members, and engage in all manner of petty fights that last only a few paragraphs on the page but result in the passing of months in the mortal world. This all causes much angst and frustration for mortals who are trying to interact with gods, because they are unable to shape the world, they j1ust have to react to what the gods decide. "Wait here, I'll be back in a moment," Artemis will say to Lord Archias, and she will only be gone a moment, but a moment to her results in 6 months passing in the mortal world and by that stage Lord Archias has almost starved to death in an arid inhospitable desert.
What brings this all together and makes this story so readable is the humour and wit that is present throughout the story. This primarily conveyed through argument - Artemis and Lord Archias have frequent exchanges that explore a variety of different themes, with Lord Archias taking great care in the way he formulates his argument, and Artemis showing great nonchalance in telling Lord Archias that he's wrong whilst rarely letting him know why he's wrong (it makes those times where Artemis does explain why Lord Archias is wrong so much more powerful). This is a story that takes two characters with diametrically opposed personalities, two diametrically opposed argument styles, and forces them to clash in a way that seems to be taken straight from my workplace. In most stories the arguments are between two strong personality types, so it was great to see something new explored.
I apologise for this "non-review", I really struggled to put together the words that would describe the book and make it seem enticing without revealing the true nature of the story. There is a plot and I think it's fantastic, especially the ending, but this book is more about the journey, the exploration, and the arguments that lead to the titular downfall of the gods. I can't really tell you what this book has to offer because it is something you have to see for yourself. This is story that needs to be experienced, and I will wholeheartedly recommend that you experience what it has to offer.
This Downfall of the Gods book review was written by Ryan Lawler
Have you read Downfall of the Gods?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Downfall of the Gods reader reviews
9/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
The Once And Future King
Once upon a time, a young boy called “Wart” was tutored by a magician named Merlyn in preparation for a future he couldn’t possibly imagine. A future in w...
The Princess Bride
Beautiful, flaxen-haired Buttercup has fallen for Westley, the farm boy, and when he departs to make his fortune, she vows never to love another. So when she hears that his...
Liga raises her two daughters in the safe haven of an alternative reality, a personal heaven granted by magic as a refuge from her earthly suffering. But the real world can...
The Brides of Rollrock Island
Rollrock island is a lonely rock of gulls and waves, blunt fishermen and their homely wives. Life is hard for the families who must wring a poor living from the stormy seas...
Life moves at a leisurely pace in the tiny town of Wall - named after the imposing stone barrier which separates the town from a grassy meadow. Here, young Tristran Thorn h...
Dreams and Shadows
The Limestone Kingdom, a parallel universe where whisky-swilling genies and foul-mouthed wizards argue over the state of the metaphysical realm. Having left the spirit worl...
The Ocean at the End of the Lane
It began for our narrator forty years ago when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Dark creatur...
The Deverry Cycle
In a world outside reality, a young girl's spirit hovers between incarnations, knowing neither her past nor her future. In the temporal world lives Nevyn, who long ago ...
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld
Sybel is just sixteen when she is given a baby to raise. Born and brought up on Eld Mountain, with only the fantastic creatures called there by wizardry as playmates, she k...
Maddy Smith has always been an outsider. Born with a rusty-coloured rune on her hand - what the villagers call a ruinmark - she is scarred by this symbol of the old gods, a...
It was a time of legend, when the last shadows of the mighty Roman conqueror faded from the captured Isle of Britain. While across a vast sea, bloody war shattered a peace ...
It’s Snow White, but not as you know her... Take a wicked queen, a handsome prince, a beautiful princess, and a poisoned apple... and now read the true story of Snow ...
Fourteen-year-old Luce reaches the Depths of Despair when she is Assaulted and left on the Cliffs outside of her Grim gray Alaskan fishing village. She expects to die when ...
There is an ancient legend in the memories of the humans of Niwengeard, that a time will come when Darkness will fall upon the kingdoms of Earde and one will rise who threa...
Gail Carson Levine
Ella is given a blessing at birth by a very stupid fairy: She gets the gift of obedience! but the blessing turns into a horror for Ella who literally has to do what anyone ...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
- Recommended high fantasy books/series
- Recommended books/series featuring lore, legend and mythology
- Recommended Roman historical fiction
Best of 2016
Downfall of the Gods
If you visit the Temple and ask nicely for forgiveness, you might get it - assuming you aren't Lord Archias and you haven't killed the Goddess's favorite musician,...
Huginn and Muninn, the Eyes of Thought and Mind; Freyr the Blade that stands alone; Mjolnir, Thunder, strength and devastator. Gods bloodied and wounded, that live and die. Ta...
Long before she was the Queen of Hearts, Catherine Pinkerton was just a girl who wanted to fall in love. Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a fa...
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
Forget the old days. Forget summer. Forget warmth. Forget anything that doesn’t help you survive in the endless white wilderness beyond the edges of a fallen world. Lynn McBride has learned much since society collapsed in the face of nuclear war and the relentless spread of disease. As the memories of her old life continue to haunt, she...
Paris was supposed to save Hallie. Now... well, let’s just say Paris has other ideas. There’s a strange woman called The Chronometrist who will not leave her al...
A corrupted city. A dark dream of power. Luke is a prisoner, condemned for a murder he didn’t commit. Abi is a fugitive, desperate to free him before magic breaks his...
The Fifth Empire of Man
Rob J Hayes
The Pirate Isles are united under Drake Morrass’ flag, but the war has only just begun. There’s still a long way to go before he’s able to call himself Ki...
Ian C Esslemont
After the disappointments of Li Heng, Dancer and Kellanved wash up on a small insignificant island named Malaz. Immediately, of course, Kellanved plans to take it over. To ...
Age of Swords
Michael J Sullivan
Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhunes make it all but impossible to unite against the co...
A Time of Dread
The Ben-Elim, a race of warrior angels, once vanquished a mighty demon horde. Now they rule the Banished lands. But their dominion is brutally enforced and their ancient en...