I had a lot of fun reading The Age of Zeus, more than I’m used to with a sci fi read. Generally I’m more the sort of person who reads fantasy, watches sci fi tv and film, and the occasional bit of horror where I can slot it in. This was the first overtly sci fi book I’ve read for a good couple of years and the first one in even longer that I’ve enjoyed so much. The key is to let the suspension of disbelief kick in and go with the flow.
Ten years ago, the Greek gods came back to the world and imposed their will on the population in an apparent attempt to end all wars. Nuclear weapons are placed under the control of the gods who prove they don’t need such weaponry; Zeus controls lightning, Poseidon has mastery over water, Ares is as fearsome a warrior as the myths suggest, and so on. They rule the world with fear, moving mythological monsters in to subjugate difficult areas and destroying whole areas to cement their dominance over the human race. People die. Lives are ruined. It’s all a bit shit, really.
In steps a mysterious industrialist billionaire with an awesome high-tech solution; TITANs – super-strength suits with all the mod cons. A team of suitably aggrieved people are found to wear them, aiming to take down the Olympians on a technology-assisted equal footing with the gods’ fearsome powers. As you might expect, that isn’t even remotely the whole story, and nor is it that “simple”.
A fair summary of The Age of Zeus is that it’s a brilliant summer or holiday read with just enough action, suspense and sheer entertainment to make it a good read. Lovegrove’s real strong point is the writing, using light, quick, easy descriptions that render scenes and characters with fantastic economy of language. At no point is it boring, even when working through the prerequisite training sequence at the beginning, and there’s very little of the narrative that felt spare or pointless. It carried on at a rollicking pace with brilliant fight scenes; I fully plan to read more of Lovegrove’s work in the future if only because his writing style is so enjoyable.
The problems I have with it are pretty basic. Two plot twists are obvious from the moment they begin to form – it was disruptive how obvious they were and they jolted the suspension of disbelief a fair bit. I’m absolutely certain that a writer with Lovegrove’s skills could do better where twists are concerned. My second criticism is really because I have a strong personal preference for more character-led pieces so I don’t consider it a criticism as such; there’s just enough personality to the characters, if you will. Don’t go looking for in-depth soul-searching; they serve their purposes well and that’s about it. Good vs. evil with only a little bit of shading for a hint of grey.
What’s caught my attention is that Lovegrove’s next Age book is based on the Norse gods and the mere prospect of a book based on my favourite pantheon is THRILLING me. As long as Loki figures I am a happy Trickster fangirl!
In summary: I’d give the book 3.5/5 stars, losing one because of the predictable twists-that-weren’t-really-twists. Definitely recommended if in need of something high-octane and entertaining that doesn’t require a big investment of energy and emotion.
Now I’m reading Dan Abnett’s Triumff. The puns are masterful and I’m barely one chapter in. Yay!
Also: apologies for both the absence and the awfulness of this post, I’m very dozy as it’s been a busy few weeks!