Monday, 29 April 2013

Gods and Warriors by Michelle Paver

Series: Gods and Warriors, Book One
Publisher: Puffin
Format: ARC
Published: 28th August 2012

Number of Pages: 304
Book: For Review*
Genre: Fantasy, Mythical, Historical, Action-Adventure, Magic, Mystery, YA, YA-Child Crossover, MiddleGrade
Recommended Age: 12+
Contains: Violence, Death, Gory Stuff
No Alcohol, Drug References
Author's Site: Michelle Paver

Hylas couldn’t take it in.  Last night he and Issi had made camp in a cave below the western peak.  Now his sister was missing, his dog was dead, and he was running for his life.
Hylas is scratching an existence with his goats in the mountains when he’s attacked by mysterious warriors – nightmares of black rawhide armour and bronze spears, their faces smeared with ash.
The black warriors want Hylas dead.  He doesn’t know why.  He must escape and find his sister.
So he begins his quest across land and sea.  His only friends are Pirra, the rebellious daughter of the High Priestess, and a dolphin called Spirit.  The black warriors are relentless.  Why are they hunting Hylas… and how will he survive?
Gods and Warriors is a breathtaking adventure series set in the Greek Bronze Age: a time of chieftains, chariots and ancient magic – when the lowliest goatherd could rise to become a hero.

“But why we're the black warriors after Outsides?  It didn't make sense.  Nobody cares
about Outsiders; they're the lowest of the low…”
Hylas is an Outsider, a boy without kin, ancestors or a clan.  A nobody, the lowest of the low.  No one cares about him, no one other than his sister Issi and his dog Scram.
And then the Crow warriors attack.  They are killing Outsiders, and Hylas has no idea why.
He doesn't know where his sister is or if she is even alive.  Scram is dead.
On the run and fearing for his life, Hylas fled the only home he's known - he must carry out his quest alone.  Until he finds Pirra – the daughter of the High Priestess, who grew up in the House of the Goddess and has just seen the outside world for the first time, having fled the arranged marriage she is meant to be forced into – as well as a dolphin named Spirit.
But even with their help, can Hylas escape the Crow Warriors?  Can he find his sister?  And will he ever know why the Crows are after him?
And what is the importance of the plain bronze dagger a dying man pressed into his hand...?
I love Michelle's Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series.  It's so new and awesome and cool.  Gods and Warriors – well, it just exceeded even my highest expectations.  I raced through the story at warp speed, gobbling it all up.  I felt like I was there with Hylas and Pirra and Spirit, going on all their adventures with them, seeing the island and Blue Deep with Spirit.  I loved every second of the book and can't wait for the sequel: I also can't wait to pass this onto my brothers – they love Michelle just as much as me and are desperate to get their hands on Gods and Warriors!
Hylas was an outsider – and really kind of amoral.  I found finding out what he didn't know intriguing – he didn't know what a bath was, for example, and had never seen a horse up close.  And even though he had this rule to not help people who couldn't help you, he was still caring and a generally good person, albeit a bit selfish.  As for Pirra, I totally got her obsession with freedom.  She was totally useless at living rough, but she was strong and tough and determined.  She kind of hated her mother, but in her toughest moment, Pirra thought of her.  It's little oddities like that that made Pirra – and in fact, all of the characters – come to life.  And I loved Spirit, the dolphin.  He was so clever and protective and I loved seeing the world through his eyes – he saw everything so differently and it was so intriguing and amazing.  I just loved him to pieces. 
Plus, the relationship between Hylas and Pirra killed me.  They were such unlikely friends, so mismatched.  That just made me crack up – how they scoffed at everything the other didn't know...  Until they had to ask what something meant!  But they were totally on the same level and were a brilliant team, even though they really were the oddest pair!
There weren't really that many big characters in the book.  Sure, we had the leads but there weren't that many others.  Somehow, Michelle made me fall head over heels or into an instant burning hate for these few characters.  She's amazing...  But I also really liked Userref, Pirra's slave and surrogate big brother.  I really didn't like Pirra's mother, though, 'cause she was heartless!  But Telamon was a great character too – he was noble and honourable: a warrior.
I love Michelle's writing to absolute pieces - it's so marvellously descriptive and paints a picture in my head.  And I absolutely loved the time I spent in Spirit the dolphin's head – I loved being a dolphin!  He thought hair was seaweed – that one really made me giggle!  Now, I'm not squeamish or anything, but the scenes where Hylas was eating raw fish or turtle eyeballs or drinking blood – just YUCK.  It doesn't help I'm a vegetarian, I think.  But kids will love the gory stuff – they do love Horrible Histories after all!  Actually, I love HH too...  So funny!
Back on topic: the plotline was even better.  It had me hooked from the very first sentence.  The action started on the very first page and didn't let up.  It was nonstop and totally addictive – I loved every second and was constantly guessing: I had no idea where it was all going whatsoever!
And the setting? Oh, so epic!  I loved learning about all the rituals and rites and beliefs.  They were all so different and intriguing to me.  I could so see how much work Michelle had put into it - it was all so amazing!  Their belief system knocked my socks right off!  I loved learning all about all the gods, all the mythologies and rituals.  And I loved all the spirit-y stuff.  Oh, I just loved the entire setting full stop.  Loved the whole book full stop…
A story that had me hooked every single moment and racing towards the end, Gods and Warriors us a book both children and their parents will love – whether it's being read aloud or in your head, you're always be hearing: just one more chapter...  This is the perfect book for all reluctant readers and reading addicts alike – whether you're ten or a little older... I know I'll be anxiously and excitedly waiting for the next in the series – what can I say?  I'm hooked!

Star Rating:
4¼ Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
Chronicles of Ancient Darkness by Michelle Paver
Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olypmus by Rick Riodan
The History Keepers by Damian Dibben
Wereworld by Curtis Jobling 

Challenges It's Taking Part In:

Happy Reading
* This book was received from Penguin in exchange for an honest review


Jasprit said...

This sounds like a fantastic start to a series, I especially love picking up books which have you flying through them! Great review! :)

Nina @ Death Books and Tea said...

Agreed in that Spirit was awesome. The world was my favourite thing though. And oh those covers! I especially like the German one. Great review :)

TheBookAddictedGirl said...

Jasprit: It was! I really recommend it! Thanks! :)
Nina: Wasn't he?! I LOVED the world - can't wait for the sequel! The covers are all awesome! :D Thanks!!