Book Review: "Divine Misfortune" by A. Lee Martinez.

Been a while since I've done a book review... but then again, it's been a while since I've really read a book. I've had issues because I'd start getting into a book and then go to the bookstore and get a couple more and stop reading that one. It was usually because I was having a hard time getting into a book; it wasn't catching me, and I was getting bored quickly. So when I saw this book and read what it was about, I snatched it up fast. It sounded perfect. And I devoured it in days.

The story takes place in an alternate timeline where mythological gods (of practically every pantheon you can think of) didn't disappear, but instead try to thrive to this day. In fact, there's a website--much like eHarmony and that ilk--where gods try to pimp themselves with profiles and videos, explaining their perks and everything you have to do in order to become a follower.

Enter Phil and Teri, a painfully average couple without a god of their own. But when people all around Phil are having noticeably better luck (getting promotions, having better lawns, etc.), he gets fed up with being stuck at mediocrity. After failing to talk his wife into getting a god, Phil decides it might have been a stupid idea to begin with... until Teri changes her mind and talks Phil back into it. After hours of searching the website, continually disagreeing on what god would best suit them, they stumble across Luka. Luka is a luck god that appears to be awfully laid back, wearing Hawaiian shirts, and unlike all the other gods... and he has a raccoon head. And his only request is to be "allowed into their home." Phil and Teri are cool with that, easily able to find a place to put a shrine for him. But then Lucky--as he prefers to be called--shows up at their doorstep, bags at his side, asking what kind of cable package they have. And that's not all. After throwing a big welcoming party for himself, Lucky invites a bunch of godly friend--one who doesn't leave. Aztec serpent-god Quetzalcoatl (Quick for short) decides to stick around and crash on their couch for a while... though he's pretty friendly--and makes a damn good breakfast--so why not?

And then there's Janet, Teri's friend, who has a thing for sleeping with gods... and makes Lucky her newest conquest. But what she doesn't expect is for Lucky to actually call the next morning when he said he would. We also have Bonnie, who sits down on a bench next to Syph, the goddess of love turned goddess of tragedy and heartbreak. Her life goes to crap, and Bonnie decides she needs to get to the bottom of Syph's depression before she kills herself from her own. Oh, and of course, there's the forgotten god of chaos, Gorgoz, who is out to kill Phil and Teri because he has a very old grudge against Lucky.

I know it seems like a lot going on, but it's pretty much all interconnected, and it's never confusing. In fact, it's usually hilarious. You like all of the characters, including Gorgoz, who is just so over-the-top ridiculous (purposefully). There's a scene where he's telling his biggest follower, Worthington, all the penance he wants all 4000+ of his followers to commit for a recent failure... and he just keeps going on and on and on, making up the stupidest crap for them to do while acting like they're the most important things in the world. The only character that takes a while to get used to is Syph. But once she turns from mopey and depressed to wrathful, she becomes quite hilarious.

What I was most impressed with was the knowledge of gods the author had in writing this book. Over half the names I didn't even recognize. But then again, my knowledge of mythology pretty much stops after Greek/Roman and Norse (and a few singular figures like Quetzalcoatl and Gilgamesh). From the names in the book, he seemed to take quite a few African gods and the like. Probably some Asian, too. Though if it's something that bothers you, there is no mention or even allusion to any "one" God (God/Yahweh/Jehovah/Allah). It's purely based on polytheistic pantheons or whatever you wanna call them. So if you're super-Christian/Jewish/Muslim/whatever and can't even find entertainment in a book where people worship "fake" gods, then this book probably isn't for you. Otherwise, it's a hoot from beginning to end.

So if you're into mythology, or even just want a fun and funny book to read, I really suggest this one. I picked up another book by this same author that I'll be checking out next. I've heard he hasn't had a disappointing book yet. So I'll be letting y'all know!

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