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Paternus: Rise of the Gods by Dyrk Ashton

Paternus: Rise of the Gods by Dyrk Ashton
4.25
Book Name: Paternus: Rise of the Gods
Author: Dyrk Ashton
Publisher(s): Self-Published
Formatt: Paperback / Audiobook / Ebook
Genre(s): Urban Fantasy
Release Date: March 24, 2016 (US)

American Gods meets Clash of the Titans.

When Sigil Independent offered me free books to review, I felt like a kid going out on Halloween. Offered a mini Hershey’s Bar, I would seize a handful of full-sized ones. Likewise, Sigil offered ebooks, but I wielded the might of Fantasy-Faction’s name to ask for audiobooks. Dyrk Ashton stepped up to the plate with Paternus, a title I’d heard lauded enough times that I couldn’t turn it down—that, despite having only guesses what it was about (a father figure, right? I know my Latin roots!).

It sat in my queue a few weeks while I finished Orconomics and then Sufficiently Advanced Magic, and by the time I downloaded Paternus, I still knew nothing about it. Then, I started listening. From my personal preferences of fantasy fiction, two aspects, one after the other, dug Paternus into a deep hole: Third Person Present Tense. Dipping into many characters’ thoughts in quick succession.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is the gold standard in executing the latter brilliantly; and since nothing quite compares to Douglas Adam’s masterpiece, it would be unfair to compare Paternus to it. That said, I’ve never been accused of being fair. While it took me a while to get used to the perspective, I found Paternus to be a swift-paced, fascinating story, written in vibrant prose. I was intrigued by the fantasy elements in an urban setting, and was trying to figure out if it was a werewolf story.

Don’t Panic!

It’s not a paranormal romance. There’s no snarky heroine or brooding love interest. The fact that Sigil Independent endorses it should be social proof enough. What Paternus is, is a unique spin on the world’s mythologies and legends—from King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table to Hellenic era monsters, from folklore of the South American rainforests to the yokai of Japan, and twisting biblical stories into knots.

The main premise is that all of those myths and legends are rooted in the same source: a godlike figure born of the Earth, with the sex drive of a doomsday cult leader. Known as the Pater, he’s mated with any and all lifeforms, thereby seeding the earth with powerful Firstborn from the dawn of time. The dinosaur-killer asteroid, The Flood all play into this imaginative back story, as do wars among the Firstborn. All of these events have dwindled their numbers.

Like Arthur in Hitchhiker’s Guide, who goes through life without knowing about Vogon Poetry or the significance of the number 42, the two main characters live in blissful ignorance of the supernatural forces around them. Fiona and Zeke are both college-aged volunteers at a local hospital. Fiona is an orphan, who lives with her English butler uncle and his Very Big Dog. Zeke is the handsome mythology buff who grew up in foster homes. While they try to kindle a young romance, a smoldering war is about to get very, very hot.

Once the story’s premise became clear, I found myself intrigued as we meet both heroes and villains. I was trying to figure out the identity of mythological or biblical figure while looking at their modern day guise and experiencing their magic. The benefit of the Omniscient Viewpoint is that we get a glimpse into so many different heads, to understand their motivations. It is easy to like, loathe, adore, or otherwise feel invested in many of the characters. That said, it was also hard for me to connect deeply to any of them. I would certainly classify it as a plot-driven story. The Omniscient Viewpoint sometimes leads to the head-hopping effect. I sometimes felt like I was caught in a Michael Bay movie, jumping from the thoughts of one character to another. This was particularly disorienting during fights. This might have been a combination of mostly reading Limited viewpoints, and the effect of listening to an audiobook instead of reading. The Omniscient Present Tense eventually grew on me.

The pace moves along at a decent clip, with great control of narrative rhythm. Combined with the imaginative premise, vibrant prose, and fascinating plot, I rate Paternus halfway between Genesis 9:1 and 1 Corinthians 7:9, and averaged with ten percent of 42 doubled, for a final score of 8.45.

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