Saturday, July 14, 2012

Review: Gods and Warriors by Michelle Paver

Hi all!

Here's a review of an up and coming YA adventure book that will be published during September. Thanks to Inga for lending me the copy!

Series: Gods and Warriors #1
Release date: 4th of September 2012
Published by:
Imprint: Dial
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Adventure, Historical, Fantasy, YA
Pages: 283 in Paperback
Source: received ARC from Inga who got it from BEA 2012

An action-packed new series set in the mysterious, dangerous Bronze Age

Young Hylas--goatherd, Outsider, thief--is hunted by powerful warriors who want him dead and have kidnapped his sister. Hylas is forced to flee his home, but not before a mysterious stranger gives him a bronze dagger. While on the run, Hylas must use his skill and wits to survive a shipwreck and a great white shark attack, befriend a dolphin, and help Pirra, the runaway daughter of a High Priestess. Together with Pirra, the dolphin, and the valuable bronze sword, Hylas fights to discover why he's being hunted and find his sister before the warriors find them.

The back cover of the book mentioned that this story was for readers who enjoyed the Percy Jackson series. This fact alone made me start reading as soon as I got my hands on it. Fortunately, there were numerous reasons to like this book aside from the small snippet regarding Percy.
I have never read a book where the storyline dates so far back in history and I was thoroughly entertained. Of course, most credit goes to the likeable characters, constant action and imaginative writing instead of the setting. But it was an added bonus and made the book stand out and a lot more original.
I also liked the mysteriousness of “higher” powers.  The Goddess, the Earthshaker, the Angry Ones, ghosts, etc, were constantly spoken about but their actual presence was quite subtle. Occasionally, whenever they did make a more prominent “appearance” it was quite powerful and exciting. You never know what to expect, what they want or what role they play. They created a very vivid but dormant background to all the happenings in the foreground of the story. Not always directly influencing the course of things but still managing to play a part in everything that occurred.  
One small personal complaint was that for most of the book there wasn’t any clear and grand goal for the story as usually such books include and I was expecting from early on for some reason. Yes, Hylas was looking for his sister and there was the issue on why they were hunted in the first place, but it didn’t come across as a world changeingly significant purpose.  This isn’t of course always essential but I guess I’ve become to expect it from such a genre. This, however, didn’t take away from characters who you really wanted to root for, abundant adventure and fast pacing.

Hylas was an appealing hero, he was a quintessential nice guy who stayed noble and didn’t really showcase any prominent negative traits. He was brave, kind, helpful, resourceful and determined. I admired how he showed care and respect towards all living creatures, mourning his dog, befriending Spirit and being there for others who needed aid or came his way. Everything is connected and important and even if you kill to eat something you still pay your respect.
Pirra was at first glance a spoiled princess but, fortunately, she didn’t come across as a bratty, useless or self-centered girl. Instead she was spunky, self-sufficient and considerate. Hylas of course helped her come to grips with the real word and they learned a lot from each other but still, I have no doubt that had their paths not crossed Pirra would have managed on her own. Userref, Pirra’s servant from Egypt, was quite intriguing so I hope to see him more in the future books.
Telamon was a character I felt really pity for, because of several unfortunate circumstances his intentions were misunderstood, even though he only wished to help and do the right thing. I hope he stays on the good side in future books; I don’t really like conflicts between great friends.
Words can’t express how much I loved the dolphins in this book! I want my own Spirit, he was so adorable. He was the cutest, friendliest, extremely huggable, most charming animal sidekick I think I’ve ever come across. I had so many “awwww” moments because of him. The relationship between Spirit and Hylas and, generally, in-between the dolphins was so heartwarmingly sweet and devoted. I also found it very endearing how several animals and other non-human creatures were given quite significant roles displaying their importance during those times.
It was a fun adventure book for children and young adults. If you like a good historical fantasy with heaps of action, sympathetic characters, an exotic setting and an incredibly loveable dolphin named Spirit then I definitely recommend this book!

4 stars!



  1. I think I'm going to read it just for the dolphins. :P

  2. Read this back in February here in the UK. Brilliant book. Am a long time fan of Michelle and have met her on several occasions. This is the first in a five book series and I have a feeling this one is all about the world building and Book 2 is when it really kicks off. If you've read her previous series (Chronicles of Ancient Darkness...) then you'll know what I mean. She keeps you guessing the whole series long! :D So good! Great review!

  3. Can't wait for it. If you liked it you should try Chronicles of Ancient Darkness as well. It takes place in the stone age, so even further back and it has a wolf who calls humans taillesses.:)

  4. Thanks for the feedback!
    @ Isabelle: Dolphins rule!
    @ Ryan: I didn't know it will be a 5 book series. Definitely looking forward to!
    @ Miriamele: I will definitely check out her other books :)