K.J. Parker,
Downfall of the Gods
(Subterranean Press, 2016)

Downfall of the Gods is a short novel by K.J. Parker, told from the point of view of a spoiled goddess in the classical (a.k.a. Greek/Roman) vein. She's mad at a mortal but, reluctantly, offers him penance in the form of an impossible quest. She even offers to go along and render assistance, but that's a give-and-take proposition.

Along the way she'll interact with other mortals and, of course, members of her own divine family, with whom she doesn't really get along. The book is funny but philosophical; Parker obviously has a few things to say about divinity, belief and the corruptibility of the all-powerful.

But while the story and its consequences might make you think, the dialogue (and its consequences) will make you chuckle. The goddess is unwittingly whimsical, and Downfall of the Gods makes for a fast, fun read that I thoroughly enjoyed.

I read this book as an uncorrected galley proof from the publisher. Although I'm not a big fan of e-readers in general, I recommend reading this on your Kindle, if you have one; the cost at the time of this writing is $4.99, which is a bargain for a book this good, but the hardcover costs $40. As good as it is, I would be hard pressed to justify paying $40 for a 112-page novel.

book review by
Tom Knapp

7 May 2016

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