Can you imagine a better crime family than the gods of Olympus?
–from the blurb about Club Olympus
The year is 1929. The gilded age still rages, and the era of prohibition has created speakeasies filled with excess and hedonism. In Manhattan, Zeus and his fellow Olympians are running the biggest game in town, with clubs, brothels, and protection rackets under their control. Life has never been so fun. However, the good times cannot last forever, and a new, dangerous enemy begins chipping away at their empire. This mysterious figure brings the crime family to its breaking point, sending New York into a gang war that claims lives, and brings back spectres from the Olympian’s long and sordid past.
Thank you so much to James Morley for providing me with a digital copy for review! You can find out more about him and his work on his official author site or you can stay up to date through Instagram and Facebook.
If you know me, you know I love mythology. My favorite is Celtic folklore and mythology, but Greek myths were the first I learned about. (I was a huge Rick Riordan nerd in middle school.)
So, when James Morley asked me to review Club Olympus, I was more than happy to do so! I mean, the Olympic gods and goddesses as 1920s gangsters?! That just guarantees an amazing read.
After reading this book, I have a lot of thoughts about it. I definitely enjoyed it, overall, and I’d recommend checking it out, but I also have some less positive (but also not necessarily negative?) comments. But keep reading my review of Club Olympus to learn more about what I did and didn’t like!
I’ll begin with the good things. Because, to be perfectly honest, this book has a lot of good going for it.
The writing itself and the plot are amazing, especially the plot. As I said before, Club Olympus is about the Greek gods and goddesses, but as gangsters in 1920s Manhattan. Morley did an excellent job executing this premise; the story was filled with plenty of excitement and twists. I loved the way he portrayed the different Greek gods in this time period, the way he showed them adapting and struggling.
Additionally, I really enjoyed the interludes that showed pieces of the past. They provided great context and further information for both the plot and characterization of different characters.
Speaking of the characters, this is where things get tricky and my opinions on this book become more complicated.
When it came to the characters’ narration, especially the gods but some of the goddesses, too, there was a lot of focus on wantonly describing the bodies of different people and just being generally condescending. Also, there were a lot of questionable actions, thoughts, and so on.
But as much as I disagreed with a lot of that and didn’t enjoy reading about it, I can’t say I hated it, because, in a way, it was actually “good writing.” What I mean is this: The characters are the Greek gods and goddesses, and therefore, they’re supposed to act this way and have these characterizations. I mean, we all know about Zeus, don’t we?
There’s also the aspect of the time period the story is set in. Some of what happens and the things I didn’t agree with were just a product of having a story set in the 1920s when things were obviously very different. (Especially considering the characters were gangsters in addition to being gods.)
So, as you can see, I really can’t totally say I hated them. I didn’t agree with them, but they were still well-written and that made them somewhat enjoyable to read about. Additionally, they definitely had some development over the course of the book!
In the end, my recommendation is that you read this book and decide your opinion for yourself. Obviously, that’s what you should do with any book, but I especially think it’s true for this one. It had plenty of good things going for it, including an amazing plot and top-notch writing; in my opinion, those things definitely outweighed the more negative aspects.
If you do choose to read this book, drop a comment down below and let me know your thoughts! I always love to talk about books. Additionally, if you enjoyed this review of Club Olympus, feel free to use the Book Reviews tab above to access my full library of reviews. There, you can find plenty more amazing books I recommend reading.
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