Review: “Mythology” by Helen Boswell

Review: “Mythology” by Helen Boswell

A few blogs I follow have recently posted reviews (Charley R, Nevillegirl, etc.) so I thought I’d do the same. I actually have a book blog, which I frequently neglect, but since so few people read that and so many of you read this, I don’t really see why I need two separate sites. So it’s going here. Bite me.

Why did I buy this book? Well, technically, I didn’t. While hanging out on the internet somewhere, a fellow writer said, “Oh, hey, this book called Mythology is going free at the moment, you might like it,” and I thought, “Free!” and went and downloaded it. However, it wasn’t until this weekend (when I was in a very cold room with a Kindle for company) that I decided to read it.

Here’s the description from Amazon:

MythologyHope Gentry doesn’t believe in Fate. Born with an unusual power to see the dark memories of those around her, Hope just wants to be a normal teenager. But on the first day of her senior year of high school, she finds herself irresistibly drawn to a transfer student named Micah Condie. At first glance, Micah seems like a boy that most girls would dream about. But when Hope’s powers allow her to discover Micah’s darkest secret, she quickly becomes entangled in the lives of mythical entities she never dreamed existed. Was this her destiny all along? And will her powers help her survive the evil of the Demon Impiorum?

Mythology isn’t just for English class anymore.

Let’s get one thing straight before we start. The ‘mythical entities’ she’s referring to are angels and devils. Well, ‘guardians’, which are basically guardian angels, and demons. It’s not what I would initially think of as mythology, mainly because my mind jumps to fairies and frost giants before angels (as a Christian, I believe they’re real, though not in the way they’re commonly used in fiction), and it’s something you need to know before you start.

Angels, and demons.

It’s narrated in first person by Hope. Present tense, too, which seems to be a bit of a vogue at the moment. At first, I liked her quite a lot. Her disinterest in guys despite her friends’ urging reminded me of myself. What’s more, she’s often sardonic and witty, and some of her observations made me laugh out loud. I like a narrator who can do that in a serious story, because it stops it from becoming too melodramatic.

And then she becomes interested in Micah. Infatuated is the word she uses, which is probably the word I’d use, too. I stopped liking her, because she reminded me too much of Bella Swan.

Wait. I’m not saying she was pathetic and didn’t do anything or that she had nothing interesting about her character at all. She can see the worst moment of people’s lives just by looking at them. That’s interesting. And she’s badass (come on. They call her a ‘demon hunter’ later in the book) and she’s brave and I like her personality.

But. She’s drawn to Micah initially because of his good looks. She continuously describes him as attractive. (It’s fair enough, that’s part of the reason his species is suspect.) She behaves around him and thinks about him in almost exactly the same way that Bella behaves around Edward, except less pathetically. Admittedly, she does faint quite a lot. And she cooks casseroles. It wasn’t just the descriptions that were Bella-esque.

I think it’s because I don’t generally read romance novels, and when I write romance in my books it’s always awkward, doomed, and generally not ideal. So I’ve got very little to compare it to.

Her descriptions of her feelings for him were clichéd (stop with the heart stopping a beat thing) and ugh. Just generally irritating. In many ways, that made it difficult for me to enjoy the rest of the book. I also felt that Hope’s reveal of her own bad relationship experiences in the past was abrupt. There’d been nothing to hint at it earlier on, and I didn’t really feel it was believable. While it served some purpose for characterisation and allowed for some empathy etc towards the end, I wasn’t sure about how it was announced.

However, I did really like the plot, even if Hope irritated me sometimes. I liked the ‘battle against self’ being pitched against ‘battle against evil dude’ – it was a great example of an antagonist serving as a catalyst for a larger picture. Several of my suspicions were wrong, and a couple of them were right, which pleased me. I felt a few of the characters could have been more developed – Davis didn’t get nearly enough screen time, and nor did Robin or Troy – but on the whole, they were mostly realistic, and they didn’t react out-of-character at any point.

The hint of a love triangle towards the end wasn’t forced, nor did it overshadow any of the rest of the book, and was definitely just a ‘hint’, but it served to explain the motivations of another character, and so was pretty effective. I wouldn’t really call it a ‘love triangle’ as there was never any suggestion that Hope was going to have to choose between them, but that’s the best word I can think of.

Despite some incredibly well written battle scenes earlier in the book, the final stand-off seemed a little rushed, although considering the length of the book that probably wasn’t entirely a bad thing. But having somebody leave the room and ‘the sound of intense duelling in the stairwell’ felt like a cop out. I wanted to see it. It did serve to emphasise that the fight wasn’t the main point of the scene, though.

And the ending, I liked. It served to tie up most loose ends, but I still have a few questions. The book is listed as ‘book one’, so I assume it’ll be a series. I’m not certain if I’d read book two, given that the narrator’s voice was at times irritating to me, but there are a few things I’d like to find out.

In conclusion, I liked this book, but not as much as I was hoping to. I felt the demon/angel thing was cleverly developed and invented, and I just wish we’d had a little less infatuation / inane commentary of kissing ;) (I just don’t like kissing scenes. I’m sorry. They weird me out.)

Enjoyment: * * * – a few flaws that detracted from my appreciation of the book, but a good overall plot line that kept me reading.

(I don’t rate books on a ‘quality’ scale, because I think your opinion of how ‘good’ a book is is too subjective. Therefore, I give a rating for how much I enjoyed it. It’s measured out of five and so far on a list of around 20 books, nothing has less than 3.)

Have you read Mythology? Let me know what you thought of it and if you thought my review was unfair :)

18 thoughts on “Review: “Mythology” by Helen Boswell

  1. Good review. I was thinking about reading Mythology, but unsure, and your review has helped me decide that I’ll give it a miss for the time being. It sounds like an interesting plot, if a little cliche on the supernatural side of things, but I reckon I have similar taste in female protagonists to you- and the fact that she’s like Bella… Well, let’s just say that I’ve never liked Twilight.

    1. Ehehe, no, nor have I. She’s not like Bella in the way people usually think of Bella (pathetic, weepy, dependent) – she’s the opposite. BUT there’s just something about her that’s way too similar for my liking.

  2. Heh, sounds like an alright book. The excess of infatuation, however, means I do not intend to go near it. With a ten foot barge pole.

    I don’t DO infatuation. Not at all *twitch*

  3. Haha, I do a lot of reviews. :P

    Hmmm. I might still give it a try, but only for the mythology aspect – I don’t want to read another, “Oh my God, EDWARD! You’re so gorgeous and sparkly!!!!” romance.

    1. Ehehe, I think it’s a little deeper than that. It was mainly the way it came across (i.e. a teenager written by a non-teenager, or at least as far as I know).

      1. xD That would be me, except I’m kind of sociable. It’s like, I always think I’m really sociable and it’s true – I am, for a while. And then I need to curl up with a book or write or stuff like that. But yeah. I have better chances of romance with a Feegle. ;)

  4. The closest I ever came to romance would be things like Eowyn and Faramir in LOTR, or Prince Caspian and Ramandu’s daughter in the Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Now that’s how to do romance. I suspect if someone wrote VDT today, half the book would be about the ship and the other half would be Lucy mooning over Caspian, and getting into a fight with Ramandu’s daughter over him at the end. Sigh.

    1. It’s true. It’s lucky they didn’t do that in the films. (Though wth was with Susan kissing Caspian in the Prince Caspian film? Nope. Nope. Nope. Doesn’t happen. Let’s just pretend that movie never happened, shall we?)
      Some romance stories, I like. Maggie Stiefvater’s “Ballad” is wonderful. But it’s not irritating. Maybe that’s because it’s narrated by a guy.

  5. I think it’s unfortunate that your review will cause a few people to not buy the book. I agree with you that Hope’s attraction to Micah was Bella-esque, but I think that enhanced the story. You couldn’t tell if Hope was falling in love of her own volition, or if Micah was using his demon powers to take advantage of her. As for the sudden revelation of the sexual assault, as a victim myself, I found it very realistic. From the beginning, Hope felt like an old soul to me, not like your typical teenager, and the revelation fit in with that characterization. It also fit well with one of the book’s themes of empowerment. I understand that the book wasn’t your cup of tea, but it was exceptionally well-written, witty, and fast paced. I think that (judging by other reviews) most people would enjoy the book quite a bit.

    1. I didn’t mean to put people off, nor to encourage them. I gave my honest opinion in the hope that it would allow them to make up their own minds, as those parts that I liked may be those they’d dislike, and vice versa.
      As a teenager myself, I just didn’t like Hope’s voice, because it seemed either implausible or TOO typical – too similar to irritating people my own age who I have to put up with enough of the time. Nevertheless there were several aspects I enjoyed about the book and I hope I made them clear so that my review didn’t come across as entirely negative.

What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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