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Olympic Games    by Leslie What order for
Olympic Games
by Leslie What
Order:  USA  Can
Tachyon, 2006 (2006)
*   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

In Olympic Games, Leslie What sets ancient Greek gods Zeus and Hera in modern-day society. Although they are now living in New York, not much has changed in the gods' relationship over the centuries - Hera is still the devoted wife to the philandering Zeus. All of this changes, however, when Hera decides to have a dalliance of her own - with a beetle. Soon a baby is on the way and Zeus is nowhere to be found. With the help of a Greek diner owner, Hera and her beetle baby head for a small town in the mountains to track down her power-hungry husband. What neither of the gods realize is that a former lover of Zeus, a naiad he imprisioned in a tree, is now living in the town and waiting to get her revenge.

Though Olympic Games sounds like it should be a comedy, it is not. The attempts at humor are few and far between. Within the first couple of chapters, the tragic backstories of most of the characters are explained and it becomes quite clear that the book will not elicit any chuckles. When a bit of humor is thrown in, it is weak and out of place, so much so that it affects the flow of an already slow-moving tale. Another aspect that affects the pace of the novel is exposition (concerning characters that have been introduced quite a few segments before) in places that should be full of action. This creates a confusing read and a story that at many points does not make sense. Yes, it is a fantasy, but some very unrealistic turns seem to have been added just to get the story back on track.

To make reading even more difficult, the majority of characters are not the least bit sympathetic. Also, some are ignored for long stretches of time which makes the reader wonder what happened to them. Though the concept of Olympic Games is interesting, all of this makes it difficult for the reader to become engrossed in the story.

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