Independent Reviewer for Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!
Apocalyptic YA fantasy tied up with Gods, monsters, you name it!
Does it work? Absolutely it does.
You can feel for every character in a way you would not expect. The plots and subplots are woven so nicely together that if you know nothing about myths and legends, though reading this you could easily believe everything is true, you will get to the end and it will whet your appetite for more about the Gods and Godesses.
It’s an excellent read and so many readers of different genres could enjoy this. I’m thoroughly recommending this even if the genres it covers aren’t your usual bag.
I found all the characters rich and many faceted leaving me with no favourites. I can’t even dislike the characters I’m supposed to dislike. They’re too well written.
Thanks A.P.Mobley for a superb read!
* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and my comments here are my honest opinion. *
I was absolutely in love with this book from the first page. Not only does Mobley know how to craft a story to keep her readers engaged, she is more than willing to help her readers learn. After reading more of the book, I was surprised by how fast-paced her plot was. Typically, I prefer if the plot slows down just a little more than what Mobley presented, but her target audience isn't 25 year old English teachers. Her target audience is the kids I teach and they would be absolutely in love with this book. I want to do something a little different for this book. Allow me to tell you why this is an absolutely necessary addition to any English teacher's classroom library.
First, Mobley made d*** sure to include a good amount of wonderful information on the Greek gods and goddesses. I would LOVE to get my hands on some classroom copies of this book to introduce my seventh and eighth grade students to the Greek pantheon. They would be enthralled by the story and forget that they were learning World Literature at the same time. Not only would this benefit them in their current stage of school, but in eleventh grade when I teach World Literature! This book is a wonderful way to present students with ideas from other cultures and broaden their horizons.
Second, Mobley is seriously talented in the ways of character creation. OMG!!! So many of my students would fall madly in love with the characters because they are so stinking easy to relate to! I love that Andy gives the boys an example of someone their age who isn't afraid to love their family or to show their feelings. He isn't a super macho guy and I don't think that there should be as much pressure on today's boys to be unrealistically macho either. Andy is physically strong, but his real importance lays in the strength of his emotions. Additionally, Zoey is a wonderful role model for girls who deal with rumors and bullying. She knows the truth. Even though she hates the rumors that circulate, she plans to build herself up and create a good future for herself that takes her far away from the nasty, sheepish girls that she has been surrounded by.
Finally, this book is engaging! It is too easy for English teachers to force kids to read books that engage us, but not them. We are engaged by different things because we're older and we've had Byron, Wordsworth, and Spenser shoved down our throats. These kids will get there, but they need books like The Helm of Darkness to open the doors for them and to bring them from "reading is boring" to "reading is fun!" They need these fast-paced adventures to bring them into the reading life.
Overall, I truly enjoyed this novel. I think it would really appeal to fans of Jessica Therrien and Rick Riordan.
Greek gods and mythology have always been a fascination of mine, and to see Mobley bring them to life here was delicious. Contrast the gods, monsters, and demigods, with a couple of modern kids and we have got ourselves a novel. It was delightful to hear some of the smaller details of the myths be introduced and weaved into the plot (favourite: Persephone’s incarceration in Hades and how this created the seasons), and I was justliving for it all.
For the first time, I have faced the gods as people: beings with personalities, family ties, love. And these individual personalities have resulted in the world as we know it being destroyed, and the gods coming to the fore to rule. Our modern kids, Andy and Zoey, are resurrected to save the day. YES. They are tasked with defeating the gods, but first they need to steal their three objects of power, the first being the novel’s namesake - The Helm of Darkness. Three objects of power, folks, has trilogy written all over it - MORE YES.
Mobley’s characterisation here is incredible. Even the smallest of characters has a backstory, invoking such a love and engagement in me that it was difficult to drag myself away. I loved all of our protagonists deeply, despite their flaws and behaviours. My heart bled most for Darko the satyr - ugh! <3
Her creation of monsters was also fascinating - I’m probably not educated enough on Greek mythology to comment on whether they were entirely born of Mobley’s mind, or came straight from the pages of lore, but it doesn’t matter. The monsters, the terror, the fights - all fast-paced yet of perfect length to hold attention, and each fight markedly different from the last (pet hate: too much fighting the same enemies in the same settings, with the same weapons). The variety was spot on.
It’s been a while since I’ve been sent something to review I’ve been so invested in. Mobley has nailed every single aspect of this, and I’m so grateful she has chosen me to give this one a shot. I don’t know how she did it, but I feel as though she’s been peering into my mind. I am so pleased with this, and so excited for the sequel. I can only hope Mobley considers me again for a review as I am desperate to continue this journey in my team of mortals, demigods, and the most kind-hearted satyr to grace the pages of young adult fiction.
Link to her video below.
The Helm of Darkness is the first book in a YA Greek mythology trilogy. This book was sent to me by the author and will be released on June 3, 2018.
The Greek gods are real, and they are angry because humanity stopped believing in them. To take control, the Gods created a storm that destroyed most of humanity and allowed them to rule once again. Andy and Zoey are two teenagers who are killed in the storm. However, thanks to a demigod's sacrifice, they are awakened 500 years later to help lead a war against the Gods and take back the rights of humanity. With the help of two demigods, Diana and Spencer, they must travel to the underworld and steal the Helm of Darkness from Hades.
These are ordinary kids who just lost everybody and everything they knew and loved, thrust into a war that they handled with surprisingly vast amounts of mental strength. They are just mortals, normal teenagers. There is no god-complex about them, and they don't have any powers, which makes the story more interesting and is a differentiator to most other books in the mythology space. Each of the characters also have had something traumatic or tragic happen in their lives, and it is interesting to witness how their past shapes their future roles and decisions.
I enjoyed seeing a darker side to the Gods. Mostly in books and in real life, we picture Gods as being heavenly light and pure with good intentions. I liked how the readers for once see the greedy, hateful, controlling side as well. There is always two sides to a person, and I enjoyed guessing which Gods were actually trustworthy and relatively good. I also liked all the different scenery and the variety of the places that they went. I was able to picture almost their whole world. The imagery of that storm was intense and captivating as well as the word choice and usage. The metaphors were really good, and I loved the repeated fixation with the word "myth."
I highly recommend this book and cannot wait to read the next book in the series, Poseidon's Trident!