One thing I’m taking advantage of is the lower cost books for my Kindle. Readers to this blog have to know, I’m not a book snob. There is not any genre of book that I won’t read — if the story sounds interesting, I’ll read it. If the story sounds like it could be fun and it mentions Poseidon anywhere, I’m going to read it. Heck, if the story mentions Poseidon anywhere, even if I think it’s gonna tick me off, I’m going to read it. Also, I read romance. I read romance partially as a protest against snobs who think only certain people read romances. There’s nothing I love more than showing up at work one day with my fun reading being some doctoral thesis, followed by something like Pausanias, followed by some “trashy romance novel.” I want a good story. Period.
So when I came across Tina Folsom’s A Touch of Greek over at Amazon’s Kindle store as a freebie, you know I snapped it up. Poseidon as a character, but not involved enough to get my dander up. Gods and mortals interacting. A god and mortal love interest. How could I pass that up?
The set up is understandable enough: Triton has ticked Zeus off by bedding Zeus’s current mistress and is given the option of two punishments: banishment to earthside in order to earn the love of a woman who see past his divine beauty and sexual prowress, or banishment to Hades for a year. Because Triton is still a very immature sort of god, he was too busy daydreaming about his latest conquest and was tricked into choosing the first option. He thus finds himself stripped of his godly powers and flung down in America. Here, with the help of Hermes and Dionysos (help which isn’t always help) Triton runs into — and immediately alienates — Sophia, to whom he is inexplicably (to him anyway, the reader is privy to why) drawn.
Sophia has her own problems: renovations to the home she grew up in, trying to turn it into B&B in order to afford keeping the place, while dealing with a monster of a cousin who feels shafted by his exclusion in the will. This is made worse by an accident that renders her blind. Blind, Triton discovers, will aid his task immeasurably.
A Touch of Greek is not my normal reading fare. It’s a lighter treatment of non-human characters (hey, I like my supernaturals dark and spooky) and the stereotyping of the gods is enough to annoy me — except, at the same time, it doesn’t. I mean, if Homer can render them into nearly caricature, why can’t modern writers? The only actual criticism I have of the book was a spot of not even homophobia so much as one of the gods in question reacting sort of askance at an insinuation of a same-sex situation. This kicked me out of the flow of the story for a few reason, but the main one being the history of same-sex relationships in the ancient Hellenic world: that is, it was common place, in places, and a part of live and not necessarily viewed as unhealthy. That the ancient pagan gods, who are decidedly not under the influence of Christian dogma, should even bat an eye at that, hit me as anachronistic.
One flaw does not a bad novel make, however. Tina’s storytelling is solid, her characters are believable (Sophia’s deplorable cousin was extremely believable and reminded me of people I’ve known) and her setting really comes across well. I was nearly oppressed by the heat and humidity while I was reading the book, despite our climate being in early spring currently. I’m happy I discovered this series.
This is one of those books that the genre gets a bad name for and shouldn’t. It’s not a deep book, it’s not meaty, it’s not going to make you question the way the world is or why monsters are monsters. It does remind you that people are good, even when they suck, and that love is a powerful, transforming force. If you want to be reminded of these things and you want to be entertained while doing it, do check out this book.
Also, don’t forget about my book give away! You’ve got until the 27th to enter.