Amazing start to a mythological YA dystopian fantasy series!

City of Gods - Hellenica - Jonathan Maas

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are an interesting bunch I have not yet seen adopted in YA fiction and they are the main characters of this story. Well, the main characters are likely their reincarnations or something, as much as I could tell based on some remarks throughout and as crazy as it sounds, and they are also 15. Wow, it sounds a bit weird to say that, because those are children and I did not feel they were and did not even imagine them that young while reading. They certainly were some special fifteen-year-olds, very grown-up, professional, serious and that made sense, because they were raised in special conditions, which I reckon would have made anyone grow up faster than it is "normal".

In the focus of the story is the forthcoming apocalypse which shall be caused by our main characters. Though, instead of ending the world, they plan to guide it through a rebirth. That main event that the story was build towards to has not happened yet and I cannot wait to see it happen. The main things described in this book were the training of the 16 young gods that were brought to the Academy and getting rid of a certain plague that infected the Academy soon after the new recruits came to Hellenica.

A lot of different mythological references, a lot of different gods and creatures from different mythologies have made this so awesome to me. I also liked how they were all given brief descriptions so that even people who are not that familiar with them would not miss out on anything. The interactions between Spartans and Amazons were particularly interesting to read. I liked the whole ultimate mythological worldbuilding. Such a vast world, so much potential there that it was so easy to get into it and I just want to dive into it even more. There were even some funny moments with my kind of humour and a lot of smart thoughts about life and the world in general.

The four different points of view were another interesting aspect of the story. It felt nice to be in the heads and feel the thoughts of all the four main characters, whose names are, by the way, Kayana, Gunnar, Tommy and Saoirse, which I find are really cool names for such epic characters. Kayana was an especially interesting character, with her unique ways and worldview; her crewmates were interesting too, but she got a bit more development and has the best powers. Academy students, other than the Horsemen, did not get much development, but enough to come to life and give more colour to the story. So I hope the other characters will play bigger roles later. Some certain romantic pairings were subtle, yet obvious, but did not change the focus of the story and fortunately were not brought to the front, no sudden shifts, which I liked a lot because that would have changed the mood too much. I do hope those relationships will get further developed, though.

I was so happy to find out that there will be a sequel to this, because it does seem like the first book in a series and it does seem incomplete. It is very well done, but I would not have really liked it if it were a standalone, because so many characters and such a big world would have been superfluous for the story so far.

I would recommend this book to all YA fantasy, dystopian and mythology fans. I enjoyed it a lot.