03 February 2017

Books: Zeus Is Dead by Michael G. Munz (2014)

“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.”

For the most part, Zeus is Dead is very clever, witty, often laugh out loud funny. It has an inventive story that does take a bit time to finally kick into gear, but when it does, it becomes a fun read. While it does not have the depth, social and satirical genius of Douglas Adams, Munz does pull off a close emulation –even if that was not his intent.

The book is still a bit chaotic, though, as he tries to cram in as many puns, bad jokes, sitcom one-liners, fourth wall breaking, and geeky references into a 437 page book. And its satire, while there, is sometimes overrun by the Gods themselves. Yes their out-sized personalities are part of the book –they are caricatures really- but at times to really hard to find the commentary within the jokes.

Still, Munz’s long love of Greek legends is obvious. And that makes this a sort of alternative take on the ideas that Rick Riordan gave us in his Percy Jackson series.

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