The Woken Gods by Gwenda Bond
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Date: September 3rd, 2013
Genre: Young Adult / Urban Fantasy
Rating: Vacation by the beach
Source: Net Galley
Five years ago the world changed; the gods woke. And took over Washington, D.C.??? Hearing that description, I was unsurprisingly intrigued. I’m a huge fan of Rick Riordan, so I was expecting this to be similar but geared towards a older teen audience.
Seventeen-year-old Kyra Locke is dealing with the changes to D.C. the best that she can. Her mom’s left her and her dad behind, she’s just broken up with her boyfriend because she doesn’t want to be more than friends, oh and she just discovered her absentee father is actually an agent of an important secret society (he’s not the librarian she always thought he was) and is convicted of treason. Ahh to be a teen again. So much drama…
While struggling to keep up with her parents secrets, Kyra is determined to clear her dad’s name before he’s sentenced to death. Along the way she meets the young (and very cute) Society operative, Oz Spencer, who she’s not sure she can trust. But, honestly, when you find out your parents are part of a secret society, who can you trust?
Overall, I liked this urban fantasy; however, there were a couple of things that I had reservations about. First of all, Kyra herself. I’m not saying every female character has to be strong and Katniss-like; however, I do feel like I need to understand why they act a certain way that could be described as flighty. Kyra’s obviously been through a lot with her mom leaving and her dad not being around; but, I just didn’t really understand how this translated into commitment issues at seventeen. It’s not like you’re expected to be totally committed to a romantic relationship at that age. Even when we did get a rationale for why Kyra was behaving in that way, I felt let down and I was hoping for a bigger reason as to why she pushes people away. I felt that there was a lot of lead up to this particular trait in Kyra, and I expected a more significant reason for it.
The other aspect of the book that I felt fuzzy with was the world building. Gods in present day, I was totally on board with that. However, I still feel unclear about the god’s presence in D.C. Why gods from all cultures? Why D.C.? I feel like my questions have not been answered. Due to the rather open ending, I’m assuming that this is the start of a series, and I really hope that these issues are addressed in subsequent books.
What I loved best about this one was the side characters. Kyra’s friends are great, and I loved the fact that we got to see things from their side of the fence periodically. Both Bree and Tam were extremely loyal to Kyra, and they were just plain entertaining. I also liked Oz’s sidekick, Justin. Justin was a great character. He’s a scholarly nerd, who gets to save the day! He was another loyal friend, and it was interesting to get his take on Kyra, since he was not impressed with her, something that’s unusual considering Kyra is the hero of the novel. I loved these characters and I would come back to this world for them.
Overall, I enjoyed the book, but it wasn’t what I was expecting. If you’re looking for the humour of Riordan, The Woken Gods is probably not for you. The gods in Bond’s novel are scary and she tackles some pretty dark stuff, considering the ending of the novel. As I said, I would probably come back to the world, if only to get some answers!