I believe I promised this about a year or so ago, but here we are...
Following on the heels of a strong effort with Weight of the World (Book two) comes a competent entry into the teen-Greek God meta-series of Olympia Heights.
The Blood of Athens takes the students of Olympia Heights on a school trip to Athens where shenanigans, murder, and hilarious teen inter-play all hold sway. Within we experience young love (and marriage?), self-discovery, and a mysterious murder spree that seems to be gaining momentum upon their arrival. Coupled with Strickland’s fast-paced brand of storytelling (only took me a few hours to read) and a thirst to know what happens next, book three holds on to most of the elements I enjoyed in book two.
I enjoyed the touches with having the characters talk about their pasts (as gods) and how, now remembering everything, it affects their modern personal relationships. The mystery sub-plot of who (or what) was on a murder spree also had me at the edge of my seat and the utterly sad (and well handled) conclusion yanked on my heartstrings.
Now that I've gone over good things, I’ll cover a few of my gripes... (Click Read More)
Being the third book in a series, I hoped for more character development and actual story to justify an additional book in this series. While Strickland’s speedy writing style makes it easier to glide through, it would've been nice to relax and get to know these characters and, by result, care what they have to say and where they are going in their arc. While his story took a back seat in spite of his inclusion on the front cover, Peter was the character you sympathized with, are invested in, and cheered on in all of his heartbreaking glory. It would have been nice to give the other characters that level of development without expecting all of your readers to be aware of their godly back stories. After all, these were human characters when they were introduced in the earlier books.
I also believe the book could have been a heck of a lot longer. These were gods in Athens! Chapters upon chapters could have been utilized to detail their tour and shenanigans or things they are starting to remember. More conflict could have arisen prior to the big reveal on the final page that would have sent this book through the roof of excellence, but instead we are left with what felt like an abridged version of what the author intended.
Also, as chaotic as it would be to find out you are an actual god, I hardly ever feel the characters before me are in any sort of danger. The biggest event before the climactic action scene is a teen-birth that the majority of the characters do not seem concerned with even though we spent a great deal of time wondering what type of baby was going to appear in the previous novel. That suspense likely could have continued throughout the novel regardless of how it turned out.
While it may seem like I did not like this edition to the series, I still had a lot of fun, got choked up by the ending, and eagerly anticipate moving on to book four. The Olympia Heights books have been a good set to read.
Thomas William Shaw is an author and stage actor from Birmingham, AL. He lives with his wife, Lauren, their children, and their cats in a quiet place. Occasionally he will post about it.