Written by Jordanna Max Brodsky
When I was in High School, our teacher assigned a book of mythology. I think I was a Sophmore, and I’m pretty sure my teacher was one of those coaches who showed up for a year and did his time before moving on to a larger school in a larger town. An argument could be made that these teachers left for public schools because we could be difficult. Personally, I think we would have been far better behaved if books like Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians existed instead of the yawn-fest we were assigned. Whoever compiled that book of myths had to work really hard to make it so boring.
What It’s About
I actually think I grabbed this book by accident. I remember setting a stack of books down while reading another jacket. This must have been what I set the stack on. It’s the only explanation I can come up with for picking up book #2 in a series. Oops. The good news is that this book stands alone pretty well. I want to know what happened in book #1, but I don’t need to know.
Artemis lives in the present day as Selene DiSilva. She’s a private detective whose client base consists of women who need help. On a cold winter night, Selene and her boyfriend Theo, a professor of Classics, are called to consult on a gruesome murder on Wall Street that calls to mind ancient rituals and cults.
Let’s start with Selene herself. With the passing of time, Selene’s immortal powers have diminished, like she’s a fierce, bad-ass Tinker Bell who needs us to clap for her. Selene is a great character. She’s tough and smart. She’s a protector, and I always have a soft spot for those. Brodsky lets us know that she’s also beautiful and sexy, but she does so through the eyes of Theo instead of making that a part of who she is. She’s also a bit neurotic, uncomfortable with her own sexuality, and has a temper from Hades. I want to be friends with her and I want her to protect me and I want to be just like her.
The story is well-paced and filled with complex characters and deftly woven subplots. You know how you read an action/adventure piece and it feels like you’re hurtling to the final showdown and then you get there and then it ends in a nice, shiny bow? This book is not like that. There are enough in-between moments to make you believe that this is a story that could actually happen (with ancient gods and goddesses, sure, but work with me here). Each obstacle seems meant to be, and the ones that might make you shout, “Come on! There’s no time for that!” are well handled. Usually with a touch of humor.
This is always my struggle when I give a book 4 stars instead of 5. There’s usually very little about a 4 star book that bothers me, and this one doesn’t challenge that norm. I’d say one thing that keeps this from feeling like a “great” book is that it didn’t seem totally original. It read like Percy Jackson for grown-ups. There’s nothing wrong with that. It was kind of fun.
I think what kept me from giving it a 5 star rating is that it was fun to read, but I don’t know that it’s something that will stick with me or call to me. It didn’t change my thought process. It didn’t make me lay the book down and gaze at the wall as I processed a moment or a sentence.
Winter of the Gods is a guilty pleasure book. This is the book that you slide into your purse because you don’t want to waste an instant of downtime when you could be reading it. This is the book that you slide onto the table, cover down, hoping no one sees it because the name and cover screams “Romance! Chick Lit! Smut!” It is none of those, but you don’t want judgement to ruin your complete immersion into this world. And you know you’re totally going to hell for it, but you kind of want to find a way to make a sacrifice to Artemis because the world needs that chick around.