Perhaps inspired by Rick Riordan’s phenomenal success, debut author Knight takes a more-must-be-better approach for this multiple-mythology mashup.
Readers meet Scarsdale High sophomore Ashline Wilde in the school parking lot, where she’s just felled the classmate who stole her boyfriend. Ash will knock out an incisor before she’s done, and her sister Eve will do much worse. In the aftermath, Ash—like Eve, she’s a Jewish-raised, Polynesian-born adoptee—transfers to a prep school sequestered in the California redwoods. There, she and assorted peers learn they’re reincarnated deities, each from a different pantheon (Norse, Greek, Egyptian, Zulu and Polynesian) called together to prevent Ragnarok, a.k.a. the End of the World. Just enough narrative infrastructure is provided to keep the plot moving. Breezily values-free, these deities mostly drink, flirt and fight, displaying buff bodies and handy superpowers, but Ash is troubled by dreams of a child, who may be her sister, and visited by Eve, who plays rough even by action-hero standards. When the dust clears, enough dangling plot threads remain to supply as many sequels as the market will bear.
The Mighty Morphin Power Ranger ambiance and frenetically paced action scenes might have worked well in a graphic novel, but without art to supply missing emotion and nuance, the shallow, flat-footed prose, fueled by escalating violence, fails to engage. (Fantasy. 14 & up)