Being a Greek god is not all it once was. Yes, the twelve gods of Olympus are alive and well in the twenty-first century, but they are crammed together in a London townhouse-and none too happy about it. And they've had to get day jobs: Artemis as a dog-walker, Apollo as a TV psychic, Aphrodite as a phone sex operator, Dionysus as a DJ. Even more disturbingly, their powers are waning, and even turning mortals into trees-a favorite pastime of Apollo's-is sapping their vital reserves of strength. Soon, what begins as a minor squabble between Aphrodite and Apollo escalates into an epic battle of wills. Two perplexed humans, Alice and Neil, who are caught in the crossfire, must fear not only for their own lives, but for the survival of humankind. Nothing less than a true act of heroism is needed-but can these two decidedly ordinary people replicate the feats of the mythical heroes and save the world?
British blogger Phillips's delightful debut finds the Greek gods and goddesses living in a tumbledown house in modern-day London and facing a very serious problem: their powers are waning, and immortality does not seem guaranteed. In between looking for work and keeping house, the ancient family is still up to its oldest pursuit: crossing and double-crossing each other. Apollo, who has been cosmically bored for centuries, has been appearing as a television psychic in a bid for stardom. His aunt Aphrodite, a phone-sex worker, sabotages him by having her son Eros shoot him with an arrow of love, making him fall for a very ordinary mortal-a cleaning woman named Alice, who happens to be in love with Neil, another nice, retiring mortal. When Artemis-the goddess of the moon, chastity and the hunt, who has been working as a dog walker-hires Alice to tidy up, the household is set to combust, and the fate of the world hangs in the balance. Fanciful, humorous and charming, this satire is as sweet as nectar. (Dec.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
Showing 1-2 of the 2 most recent reviews
1 . Brilliant
Posted March 01, 2009 by Wesley Allison , Henderson, NVI loved this book. It is beautifully well-written, tightly plotted, and the mythology was obviously well-researched.. The characters of the gods are just as they should be, from Aphrodite's phone-sex to Artemis's zesty chastity. The human characters were interesting and touching. I found the book funny, sad, and eventually heartwarming. Though I would agree that the ending is not as strong as the beginning of the book, I still found that ending very satisfying. I recommend this book to anyone who loves mythology and fantasy, and those who enjoy comparative religion might want to give it a look too.
2 . Good Premise
Posted September 12, 2008 by Elle , Los AngelesThis book had a great premise, and the beginning really draws you in. However, I think the follow-through wasn't that great. What could have been hilarious or magical ended up being light entertainment. It's an enjoyable read, just nothing spectacular.
Little, Brown and Company
December 09, 2007
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Excerpt from Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips
ONE MORNING, WHEN Artemis was out walking the dogs, she saw a tree where no tree should be.
The tree was standing alone in a sheltered part of the slope. To the untrained eye, the casual passerby, it probably just looked like a normal tree. But Artemis's eye was far from untrained, and she ran through this part of Hampstead Heath every day. This tree was a newcomer; it had not been there yesterday. And with just one glance Artemis recognized that it was an entirely new species, a type of eucalyptus that had also not existed yesterday. It was a tree that should not exist at all.
Dragging the mutts behind her, Artemis made her way over to the tree. She touched its bark and felt it breathing. She pressed her ear against the trunk of the tree and listened to its heartbeat. Then she looked around. Good; it was early, and there was nobody within earshot. She reminded herself not to get angry with the tree, that it wasn't the tree's fault. Then she spoke.
"Hello," she said.
There was a long silence.
"Hello," said Artemis again.
"Are you talking to me?" said the tree. It had a faint Australian accent.
"Yes," said Artemis. "I am Artemis." If the tree experienced any recognition, it didn't show it. "I'm the goddess of hunting and chastity," said Artemis.
Another silence. Then the tree said, "I'm Kate. I work in mergers and acquisitions for Goldman Sachs."
"Do you know what happened to you, Kate?" said Artemis.
The longest silence of all. Artemis was just about to repeat the question when the tree replied.
"I think I've turned into a tree," it said.
"Yes," said Artemis. "You have."
"Thank God for that," said the tree. "I thought I was going mad." Then the tree seemed to reconsider this. "Actually," it said, "I think I would rather be mad." Then, with hope in its voice: "Are you sure I haven't gone mad?"
"I'm sure," said Artemis. "You're a tree. A eucalyptus. Subgenus of mallee. Variegated leaves."
"Oh," said the tree.
"Sorry," said Artemis.
"But with variegated leaves?"
"Yes," said Artemis. "Green and yellow."
The tree seemed pleased. "Oh well, there's that to be grateful for," it said.
"That's the spirit," Artemis reassured it.
"So," said the tree in a more conversational tone. "You're the goddess of hunting and chastity then?"
"Yes," said Artemis. "And of the moon, and several other things. Artemis." She put a little emphasis on her name. It still hurt when mortals didn't know it.
"I didn't know there was a goddess of hunting and chastity and the moon," confessed the tree. "I thought there was just the one God. Of everything. Or actually, to be honest, I thought there was no God at all. No offense."
"None taken," said Artemis. Unbelievers were always preferable to heretics.
"I have to say you don't look much like a goddess, though," added the tree.
"And what does a goddess look like, exactly?" said Artemis, a sharpness entering her voice.
"I don't know," said the tree, a little nervously. "Shouldn't you be wearing a toga or something? Or a laurel wreath?"
"You mean, not a tracksuit," said Artemis.
"Pretty much," admitted the tree.
"Times change," said Artemis. "Right now, you don't look like somebody who works in mergers and acquisitions for Goldman Sachs." Her voice indicated that the clothing conversation was closed.
"I still can't get over the fact that you're a goddess," said the tree after a pause. "Wow. Yesterday I wouldn't have believed it. Today . . ." The tree gave an almost imperceptible shrug, rustling its leaves. Then it seemed to think for a bit. "So does that mean, if you're a goddess," it said, "that you can turn me back into a person?"
Artemis had been expecting this question.
"I'm sorry," she said, "but I can't."