“Heir to the Underworld” by J B Dennis

Many have noted that the ancient Greek gods acted like a bunch of rowdy teenagers. Most days it seems Olympus closely resembled a middle school at lunch time. J. B. Dennis has capitalized on this and made the metaphor the reality for his novel.

You see, the gods have grown tired of their occupation and want to move on. So they hijack a group of appropriate first-year types from Mount Olympus University and turn the whole shebang over to them.

And therein lies the problem. All fourteen of them. Starting with the name-telling, every new experience has to be seen fourteen times. Fourteen Greek gods. Fourteen thrones. Fourteen reactions to assignments. Etcetera. And it all takes just too much time.

We spend three chapters meeting every possible god in the Underworld, because Ben, the Hades-in-waiting, is being set up as the sympathetic character.

And the story sort of meanders along from there, like the plot of a weekly sit-com. There isn’t really an overall story arc, except for the characters learning how to be gods in a rather haphazard fashion. Battles with sea monsters, witches, and other spirits alternate with battles between group members in typical teenage fashion.

This story is pleasant, smoothly written and enjoyable, but the pace is too slow, and the characters don’t really go anywhere. It reads like Episode One in the first season of a Netflix original series. Today’s story was Ben and the Underworld. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s hero, who will probably be the irritatingly homophobic Johnny.

Recommended for YA Netflix Original fans.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

About the Author: Gordon Long

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