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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Review: Oppression by Jessica Therrien

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TITLE: Oppression                     SERIES: Children of the Gods #1
AUTHOR: Jessica Therrien      PUB DATE: 2/28/12
PUB: ZOVA                                  FORMAT: ebook
SOURCE: from publisher for review

Elyse knows what it means to keep a secret. She's been keeping secrets her whole life. Two, actually. First, that she ages five times slower than the average person, so that while she looks eighteen years old, she's closer to eighty. Second, that her blood has a mysterious power to heal. For Elyse, these things don't make her special. They make life dangerous. After the death of her parents, she's been careful to keep her secret as closely guarded as possible. Now, only one other person in the world knows about her age and ability. Or so she thinks. Elyse is not the only one keeping secrets. There are others like her all over the world, descendants of the very people the Greeks considered gods. She is one of them, and they have been waiting for her for a long time. Among so many of her kind, she should not be very remarkable--except for the prophecy. Some believe she will put an end to traditions, safeguarded by violence, which have oppressed her people for centuries. Others are determined to keep her from doing just that. But for Elyse, the game is just beginning--and she's not entirely willing to play by their rules.

THREE-ish WORDS: Exciting Take on Mythology

MY REVIEW: Jessica Therrien’s Oppression, the first volume in the Children of the Gods series, offers readers a refreshing and exciting new take on Greek mythology.

Elyse, may look eighteen but she’s really in her eighties. Elyse ages 5 times slower than humans and her blood has the ability to heal. After her parents’ death, who also aged slow and had abilities, Elyse thinks she’s the only of her kind left…until she meets William and finds out that there are others like her and they are all descendants of what people call Greek gods. Elyse is soon immersed in the world of the Descendants and learns that she’s the subject of a prophecy. A prophecy that claims she’ll bring her people out from under the oppression The Council has put upon them. Elyse soon finds herself having to make impossible decisions and fighting to protect the ones she loves.

I’m a huge fan of Greek mythology and books that explore this topic, so I was super excited to delve into Oppression, and what I found was an exciting, original and enjoyable read. The Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan are some of my absolute favorite books that explore Greek mythology and Oppression reminds me of a more grown up version of these books. Therrien has crafted a captivating story, engaging characters and an enticing romance, but this book certainly isn’t without its faults.

While I was instantly intrigued by the story being laid out from page one, I must admit that I found the first few chapters a bit confusing and disorienting. There’s quite a bit of history and backstory introduced in the first chapter alone, as well has a handful of characters, and these things/people aren’t really explained right away. But, they are explained and developed more as the story progresses, and as I stated above, even with the confusion in the first few chapters, I was completely intrigued and had to keep reading. And by chapter three, the story really finds its flow and moves at a nice pace.

The mythological/fantasy elements are really awesome. The idea of children of Greek gods having abilities is not a new one, but the author takes this idea to new and thrilling places. Therrien has created a wonderfully imaginative and dimensional mythological world within the realm of the “real” world, and she balances the fantastical with real life situations really well. The different abilities (healing, time freezing, intuition, thought reading, light manipulation, etc) are really fun and surprisingly educational to read about. Therrien’s knowledge and understanding of Greek mythology is quite impressive.

Therrien’s characters are well developed and layered. Elyse is compelling, likable and relatable; I really liked “seeing” the story unfold from her perspective. William adds a lot of much needed humor and he’s easy to crush on. But I think I was most intrigued by Kara, who was once William’s best friend and who has been forced to work for The Council. Kara has done terrible things, but there’s such a thought-provoking depth to her character and I look forward to learning more about her.

The relationship between Elyse and William is very significant and I don’t want to give away too much about why, but I will say that I found their relationship frustratingly addictive. I’m not a fan of insta-love and I would definitely classify the Elyse/William relationship as insta-love and I would have liked to have seen a natural progression of their love. However, I really did enjoy the interaction between the two and their spark is undeniable. And I definitely could have done without all of Elyse’s swooning and all of her thoughts about how glorious/perfect/good-looking William is.

The book ends a bit abruptly, but left me eager for more.

MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Jessica Therrien’s Oppression is a refreshing and exciting edition to the world of Mythological Fiction and an ejoyable first volume in what is sure to be a great series. I really enjoyed delving into the world of the Descendants and can’t wait to read more.

3/5 Cupcakes

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