A Tuesday Ten: Divine Intervention
A bit of delay on this–sick kids means my focus has been elsewhere for a few days!
Lots of fantasy works feature gods and goddesses interfering with human lives. For this list I’m going to be sticking to mythology or completely fabricated deities and the human protagonists who deal with them. I’ll leave religion for another list.
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (Disney Hyperion, c2005)
Quite naturally, if you’re going to create a list of this sort, starting with Rick Riordan’s books is pretty much a necessity. These contemporary fantasy stories bring our young hero face to face with Greek Gods and all sorts of monsters. Percy himself is a demigod, half mortal, half godling. He and other demigods find their way to the safe haven of Camp Halfblood to learn about who and what they are before venturing out into the world on quests and adventures. Percy’s story continues in the other four volumes of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and then in the further spin-off series; Heroes of Olympus.
Realms of the Gods by Tamora Pierce (Scholastic, c1996)
Not all the gods and goddesses featured in stories are based on actual mythology. An author sometimes creates their own pantheon of divine beings. It’s fairly common in Tamora Pierce’s written works for divine beings to stick their fingers in to the everyday lives of mortals and influence the outcome of things. This shows up most strongly in The Immortals quartet. The Realms of the Gods is the fourth book and features the protagonist, Daine, being pulled into the divine realms where the gods live. Wherever she happens to be, Daine is bound to stir things up! This is my favorite cover for this particular book.
The Reluctant God by Pamela Service (Atheneum, c1988)
If I mention Egyptian mythology, it’s likely to bring to mind Rick Riordan’s other series featuring gods and goddesses of myth, The Kane Chronicles. But I wanted to try and find something a little different for the list. Our young Egyptian Prince has been given a weighty burden by the gods–he is destined to be a divine guardian, placed in suspended animation for thousands of years to guard precious artifacts of his people. When a modern day girl releases him from his 4,000 year sleep, he must depend on her to help him retrieve the artifacts from thieves. While that actual appearance of the gods in here is a bit slim, I think it still works for the list.
Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins, 2008)
Interested in Norse mythology and the gods that reside in Asgard? Then this slim novel by Neil Gaimen about a boy named Odd who goes on a quest to find out why winter isn’t ending. In the end, one very cheerful and clever boy is going to have to outwit the Frost Giants and save the world from endless winter.
Colors in the Dreamweaver’s Loom by Beth Hilgartner (Houghton Mifflin, 1989)
Another story where the author has made up their own pantheon of deities. When Alexandra is pulled from our world into a strange new world, she’s taken in by the quiet forest people and taught their language and ways. She also comes to understand that as a stranger from another world, she has been brought to them to fulfill a great purpose. Together with a band of comrades, Zan will journey to strange new countries with questions that only the gods themselves will be able to answer. The story of Zan and her companions continues in The Feast of the Trickster (1991).
A Wizard Abroad by Diane Duane (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, c1993)
All of Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series deal with the Powers that Be to some degree, particularly the Lone Power, which is the primary adversary of the storyline. However, this fourth book in the series introduces readers to the old Powers of ancient Ireland, with a heady dose of Irish myth and magic thrown in.
The Savage Fortress by Sarwat Chadda (Scholastic, 2012)
Sarwat Chadda’s new series is highly unusual in that it doesn’t deal with the established Greco-Roman mythologies, nor Egytptian, nor Irish or Norse. The Savage Fortress explores the fearsome and powerful gods and goddesses of India. Ash Mistry is on vacation in India, and about to discover one of the most evil creatures out of Indian mythology planning to remake the world in his own horrific image. Ash is the only boy that can stop him–but only if he accepts his destiny and true role . The story continues in the Ash Mistry Chronicles.
Mouse Bird Snake Wolf by David Almond, Illustrated by Dave McKean (Candlewick, 2013)
In a world where the gods have created a safe and pleasant world, three children decide to create new creatures and results may not be what they expect at all. A very strange story, with the often unsettling artwork of Dave McKean to accompany it.
Atlantis Rising by T. A. Barron (Philomel, 2013)
Here is a story that imagines not the destruction of Atlantis, but its beginnings. A young thief in his efforts to tweak the noses of the priests that rule Ellegandia stumbles upon true magic. Promi also learns the truth of his world’s relationship with the gods and the dangers that come with the divine seizing power in the mortal realm. Promi alone is the last of the magic wielders who can possibly stop the imminent destruction of all he loves . . .
The Shadow Thieves by Anne Ursu (Atheneum, c2006)
We’ll wrap up with one more Greek mythology inspired series. This one deals with Charlotte and her cousin Zee descending into the Underworld to discover that everyone’s lives–and deaths–are in their hands. This is book one in the Cronos Chronicles trilogy. The other titles; The Siren Song (2007) and The Immortal Fire (2009) continue our protagonists adventures.
So there you go! Sorry for the slapdash nature of this one, I’ll be more on target for next week’s list!
Posted on December 6, 2013, in General Posts, Lists and tagged Books, Children's Books, Children's Literature, fantasy, Historical Fantasy, literature, MG Books, Middle-Grade Fiction, Reading, reviews, series, SF, Urban Fantasy. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.