The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not too many books end in an apocalyptical scuffle between demigods, mythological creatures, and a near-future robot uprising. The Prey of Gods is an overwhelming story that blends coming of age demigods with a unique mythology involving spirit animals, all during a near-future South Africa full of helper robots nearing self-aware sentience.

To its benefit and detriment the story focuses on several interesting characters that begin awakening to their powers – including a monstrous and manipulative villain who’s already well-aware of her own. The POV of each chapter shuffles between these characters, and while I liked each character, I was less enthusiastic about their own little dramas and journeys they take before they finally get together. Like the diva Riya dealing with her crazy dad, or the cross-dressing politician Stoker dealing with his weird mom.

Because of all these individual adventures, the main plot takes forever to unfold, and we jump from 200 pages of side adventures into a huge climactic event that lasts the rest of the book, with our unlikely heroes joining forces in their own unique ways. I enjoyed Drayden’s breezy style, effortlessly bouncing between breathless romance, slasher-horror, and big action set-pieces, but too much of the book is character backstory, build-up, and side plots, and not enough main story.

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