Review: Zeus is Dead by Michael G. Munz

July 19, 2014 Review 0

Review: Zeus is Dead by Michael G. MunzZeus is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure by Michael G. Munz
Published by Booktrope on July 21, 2014
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Pages: 446
Sexual Content: N/A
Reviewed by: Megan
2 Stars

THE GODS ARE BACK. DID YOU MYTH THEM?

You probably saw the press conference. Nine months ago, Zeus's murder catapulted the Greek gods back into our world. Now they revel in their new temples, casinos, and media empires—well, all except Apollo. A compulsive overachiever with a bursting portfolio of godly duties, the amount of email alone that he receives from rapacious mortals turns each of his days into a living hell.

Yet there may be hope, if only he can return Zeus to life! With the aid of Thalia, the muse of comedy and science fiction, Apollo will risk his very godhood to help sarcastic TV producer Tracy Wallace and a gamer-geek named Leif—two mortals who hold the key to Zeus's resurrection. (Well, probably. Prophecies are tricky buggers.)

Soon an overflowing inbox will be the least of Apollo’s troubles. Whoever murdered Zeus will certainly kill again to prevent his return, and avoiding them would be far easier if Apollo could possibly figure out who they are.

Even worse, the muse is starting to get cranky.

Discover a world where reality TV heroes slay actual monsters and the gods have their own Twitter feeds: Zeus Is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure!

ZEUS IS DEAD: A MONSTROUSLY INCONVENIENT ADVENTURE by Michael G. Munz is like GOOD OMENS – if Pratchett and Gaiman stopped after every paragraph to explain why their jokes were funny. There’s breaking the fourth wall, and then there’s demolishing the wall and reaching through the wreckage to punch the reader in the face. The book has the potential to be fun, and it’s clear that the author has a sense of humor, but unfortunately he fails to trust that his audience also has a sense of humor. Or a brain.

Munz has filled this book with plenty of clever ideas, but they’re buried in the over-written prose and aggressive mocking of narrative conventions. Reading this book, I kept thinking of a stand-up comedian who fires joke after joke into the crowd without waiting to see if any of the punchlines land, and never goes back to revise his set list. It's very difficult to be completely irreverent á la Douglas Adams and try to tell an emotionally compelling story – something’s gonna give. In this case, the humor comes off as smug, and the characters fall flat.

And, unfortunately, while the premise enticed me - as I am a Greek mythology buff - that turned to frustration once I saw how Munz characterized the gods of Mount Olympus. Why bother to use established characters to kickstart your plot if you’re just going to change fundamental elements about them? Like it or not, the Greek pantheon are characters with backstory - either respect the source material, or start from scratch with your own deities. Picking and choosing which elements of a canon suit the story and ignoring the rest for the sake of a gag completely defeats the purpose of using the familiar archetypes. It confuses or upsets those who know the mythology, and completely bypasses those who don’t know their Iliad from their Odyssey. ZEUS IS DEAD reads like the brainchild of someone who actually Did Do the Research, then chucked most of it out for a series of cheap laughs.

More Reviews: Similar Titles:
  • Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
  • Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
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