Born in a whorehouse in the slums of Fortuna and burdened with a prosthetic arm, seventeen-year-old JANET REDSTONE doesn’t think she owes the Clockwork Gods anything—which is why she makes a living stealing from their temples. But when she lands her team in prison, making a pact with the God of Mischief, ITAZURA, is the only way to right her wrongs and free her friends.
Janet doesn’t trust Itazura as far as she can punch him, but with her soul in his hands, she has no choice but to do what he says. The clockwork gods and the bad-tempered elder gods of the ancient past are locked in a game of cat and mouse and the human realms are caught in the middle. If Janet can’t somehow convince the gods to step in a save the world, humanity is in an abyss of trouble.
Using her unconventional wits, an impressive tolerance to alcohol, and a strong right hook, Janet has to convince the gods that humanity is worth saving. Unfortunately, it’s a lot more difficult to stop an apocalypse when you’re slowly being driven crazy by the Lord of Mischief, especially when he starts growing on you.
The first comparison that comes to mind after reading this book is Xena: Warrior Princess – but not for the reason you’d expect. The reason has nothing to do with Janet, actually, but rather the gods and their role within the book. They remind me greatly of the gods on that show: so human that you almost forget that they’re actual gods. They have vibrant personalities (I love that the lush amongst them is a female), they interact with humans to varying degrees (I love how they’re broken down into three tiers based on how much they interact with humans) and they clearly have the same kinds of petty squabbles that we do. Greco-Roman gods have always held an element of humanity that isn’t too commonly seen in other pantheons and I always thought that show did a great job of personifying it, just as Aimee has done a great job of it here. If you ever enjoyed Hercules or Xena for the gods, you should enjoy this book.
You should also enjoy this book if you like fun, feisty heroines. She’s made the most of the lot that she was given with, and that wasn’t much. She’s a thief, but she’s loyal to her friends. The story behind how she got her metal arm is genuinely sweet and I love the relationship she slowly builds between the gods we do meet. I also love how the book ever so lightly touches on the havoc that prostitution can wreak on a family. It impacts the plot in a way that makes sense, and yet avoids preachiness which isn’t always easy to do.
If I had any complaints about the book is that the ending seems a bit unsatisfying. The plot with her friends is only semi-tied up and the plot with the gods has practically no resolution at all – and given the nature of why Itazura wants her help, that’s kind of a problem. The ending is a cliffhanger, though that should be expected from the first book in a planned quartet. I will say that Hyndman has successfully invested me in this world, so I look forward to seeing where it goes next.
All told: f you like your fantasy with a tiniest touch of steampunk (Edward Elric would love her arm), you like gods that feel human and are looking for a fun read, absolutely give this a shot. You should enjoy yourself as much as I did.
Verdict: Buy It
Available: September 7