E. J. Dabel
Sea Lion, 2011 (2011)
Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto
he Greek gods tend to get all of the glory when it comes to novels based on mythology. E. J. Dabel tries to rectify that in his new series,
, which incorporates gods from different cultures in a unique underdog story.
iving under a bridge since the death of his mother at the hands of his father, Isaiah Marshall is the leader of his gang, the Redrovers. Due to a speech impediment, Isaiah never speaks, but the other boys cannot help but follow him. One day, he and his three friends find themselves on the wrong block, getting harassed by a prep school kid, and then by the vice principal who wants the boys off school grounds.
he principal, though, has another idea and invites the boys to attend Kaliber Academy. It turns out, the principal knows a secret about Isaiah; he knows that Isaiah is the son of Greek gods and Kaliber Academy is the school that many of them attend, being stuck on Earth in the bodies of teenagers. Isaiah and his friends agree to attend school, but Isaiah is sent to a remote wing – an area built especially to train and nurture godlings like himself. Soon, Isaiah, the lowest rated god, finds himself pitted against some of the top gods of the other pantheons, but all he is looking for is to get revenge against his father, Zeus.
he concept for
is interesting and engaging, as the reader never knows where the story will go next. Unfortunately, it is also riddled with plot devices that just do not make sense. First, if all of the gods are teenagers, how can they have children who are also teenagers? This is never explained. Also, characters who are introduced and seem important in the first half of the book just seem to fade away by the second as new characters are introduced, and there is not real resolution to most of the storyline.
he biggest problem, though, was that Isaiah is ranked last among all the gods of the ten pantheons and the godlings, and this makes him number 135. Counting major and minor gods (and since Isaiah's mother was a minor god, I am assuming Dabel meant to include major and minor gods in this number), there are over 300 in the Greek pantheon alone. If only major gods from the ten pantheons were in the count, then the 135 number might be possible, but Isaiah would have been considered a (very) minor god, so, if that were the case, he would not have a ranking, and neither would the rest of the godlings.
ith some reworking and tightening,
could be a unique story that would engage young teenagers. E. J. Dabel obviously has further books planned, so some of the characters might come back and loose ends might be wrapped up later, but with such an uneven start, I am worried that many readers will not stick around for Isaiah's further adventures.
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