Saturday, June 24, 2017

Like "American Gods," But Lighter

Okay. Found that journal. The following reader response was written in a waiting room at one of those surgical satellite facilities where a family member was having his shoulder torn apart.

Author Matthew Laurence calls his first book, Freya (I don't recall the "and the Myth Machine" part that I'm seeing on the book I read), an urban fantasy, which, in my experience, usually means contemporary, real world. It is my favorite kind of fantasy and Freya was a treat to read.

The basic premise here is that the gods of myth and legend are real. They were created and maintained by human belief, and now that few people believe in them, they don't have much of a presence. (This sounds similar to my recollection of Neil Gaiman's American Gods, not that I mind.) Take the attractive, voluptuous (meaning "not tiny") main character in Freya. She has been living in a mental hospital in Orlando for years with no one noticing. That's because she's the Norse goddess, Freya, who still has just enough power to pull off the hide-in-plain sight trick.

Freya's settled, if not particularly dynamic, life blows up in her face when a representative of an organization "collecting" gods shows up and tries to collect her. She takes off with a new psych aid and ends up with a job at DisneyWorld before she is, indeed, caught. But the goddess of beauty and war has a plan.

Freya is a clever and witty narrator, and this was a fun read. Additionally, though, the book addresses what belief in a god does for people. It even mentions Christ, in passing, something I haven't seen in other YA and children's books about gods in contemporary times.

This is the first in a trilogy. It could very well end up as present for a Gauthier relative. Maybe two of them.

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