A classics major’s life is turned upside down when she becomes part of the Greek gods’ comeback plan in this comic novel.
Hannah Summers, about to graduate with a degree in classics, should know all about the dangers of Greeks bearing gifts. But that’s no defense, it turns out, against the Greek gods. They’ve found ways to exist in the modern world; Hera, for example, runs Ladies’ Home and Hearth magazine. But a shady publicist, using the pitch that it’s time for an Olympian comeback, convinces Apollo to give Hannah, a descendant of Cassandra (whom the rejected Apollo cursed so that no one would believe her true prophecies), a gift that reverses Cassandra’s fate: everyone will listen to and believe her. As a spokesmodel for the gods, she’ll convince humans to worship Olympians again. The very organized Hannah just wants to turn in her thesis and meet her boyfriend, Carl, and his parents for dinner, but her life turns into a comedy of errors that only snowballs as Apollo’s gift starts working—but not as the Olympians had hoped. With help from some unexpected quarters, Hannah must work out a complicated plan and admit some truths about herself if she’s going to face down Greek gods and other troublemakers. In her debut novel, Fedolfi blends a smart, witty mix of ancient deities with campus culture and modern media, and it all works. Hannah’s influence spreads via YouTube, for example, and Carl’s experience with Dungeons & Dragons comes in handy along with Hannah’s classics knowledge. Fedolfi does a nice job with her characters, who trace some challenging personal journeys as they navigate the screwball plot. Though the trope of uptight person who needs unloosing through chaos is familiar, the author finds additional dimensions that add interest. Many lines are laugh-out-loud funny as well: “Is it aged single malt? Because I like my bourbon the way I like my women…old and single.” The book, though, is overburdened with lengthy explanation as well as shifting, hard-to-follow alliances; it could use sprightlier pacing and a sharper focus.
Clever, funny, and complex, if somewhat labyrinthine.