Title: The Olympus Trinity
Author: Brian Coggins Jr.
Publication date: April 11, 2022
One Sentence Summary: Long after the time of Ancient Greece, the Greek gods rule over more than just Earth, but Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades haven’t been in the same room since their mother Rhea died after they managed to lock away Kronos, and someone is conspiring to destroy them.
The Olympus Trinity offers a fresh, new spin on Greek mythology. It takes the stories of old and throws them up into the stars for a sci-fi setting. But it keeps all the family dysfunction, and even seems to amplify it. Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades are at the heart of this novel, putting their sibling differences on full display. There’s also a bit of mystery as they each receive odd trinkets that remind them of something far in the past, but even that has a family-oriented angle. While I found the writing to be unpolished and incapable of evoking emotion and feeling in me, I did enjoy the story that was told. This is a fast-paced, action-filled novel that updates Greek mythology in an interesting way that’s both a bit new and a good nod to the myths.
In ancient times, Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades teamed up to save their beloved mother Rhea from her abusive husband Kronos. Unfortunately, while they managed to lock away the Titan, Rhea was fatally poisoned. After her death, no matter how much she tried to drill into her sons that family is everything, the brothers fractured and retreated to their realms of Olympus, the sea, and the Underworld.
Eons later, the gods oversee countless worlds, but seem to be generally uninvolved unless it pertains to matters of diplomacy. Until the brothers are left with peculiar trinkets, bringing them back together to face each other and all the errors they made over the years.
I adore books inspired by Greek mythology, so of course I leapt at the opportunity to review The Olympus Trinity. It has a ton of action and pulls on all the myths in order to bring in all the gods and their children and grandchildren.They’re literally running all over the place, which unexpectedly delighted me as I happily ran into name after name that I know, but hardly ever find in these sorts of books. The Olympus Trinity takes a new, modern spin on the myths, taking them far into the future with a sci-fi setting and a focus on family dynamics and dysfunction. At the same time, I found the writing to lack feeling and emotion, holding me at a distance.
The Olympus Trinity is focused on Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades. After an action-packed prolonged fight scene between them and Kronos, the story then jumps them eons into the future. It was interesting to see how they retained some of their traits from their younger god days as well as how they changed. I appreciated that their powers remained unchanged from the Greek myths and were utilized rather well in ways I wholeheartedly enjoyed, but the gods themselves all felt like they lacked maturity, except for Hera. Zeus felt more like a grandfather than the King of the Gods, though, when he did have to display his powerful might, it was kind of amazing. Poseidon, no matter what point in the story, felt more like a teen bully. He was also more explosive, so his displays of power ended up being more destructive, and I think I’d like to stay out of his way. Hades was hard to figure out as he didn’t get as expanded a section of the book as his brothers did. Initially, he seemed standoffish as the reader isn’t afforded much time to get to know him, but, by the end of the book, he mostly felt like a love-sick coward, constantly letting his brothers take the lead, but I have no clue why since I thought his powers might be kind of fun and wanted to see more of it. The fun part, though, was that they seemed to share the same odd sense of humor, which was nice as it highlighted their family ties.
Family is a huge piece to this book. Even with all the Greek mythology, it felt more like a story of family using the gods from mythology as opposed to any other human family. It was kind of nice to see that even gods can experience family dysfunction. The Olympus Trinity really focused on the fractured family and how it’s similar and different from normal mortal families. I mean, the powers of a god must make for interesting family squabbles. This is absolutely the case in this book. On another note, it also focuses a lot on spousal and child abuse, which was not easy to swallow and sometimes felt a little overboard, but the main piece was how the loss of their mother affected everyone else. I enjoyed the relationship between the brothers and their mother, but it seemed to come at the price of all of Rhea’s other children being forgotten, which was just disappointing to me since there are so many Greek gods I adore. Still this book offered an interesting take on Greek mythology from a lens that isn’t often paired with it, but I don’t know why since family dysfunction is kind of a defining element of Greek mythology.
What I most enjoyed about The Olympus Trinity, though, was the overall setting. The reader is introduced to the individual homes of the three brothers, but it’s so much more than that. As much as I love stories that take the traditional setting of Ancient Greece, I have to admit I loved the sci-fi setting. After all, this book is set so far in the future that why couldn’t the gods preside over more than just Earth? Even though few of the planets were really explored, I loved that different peoples and cultures were introduced and the different ways they perceived the gods and worshiped or didn’t worship them. It felt very much like the settings from all the myths were lifted and sent flying into the stars to spin a new tale, but also following the myths closely.
The Olympus Trinity tells a fascinating story of family and how even gods have to be beholden to their actions. I loved the mystery of who or what was leaving them trinkets that recalled the past, but it did feel a little drawn out and repetitive as each brother received his own section in the book. Each take on it, though, did help fill in more of the puzzle. What I liked best, though, was the reveal was a complete surprise. It was unexpected, but, in the context of the story being told, made complete sense. For much of the book, I couldn’t figure out why the opening sequence had to be so long, but it absolutely made sense. Additionally, I really loved the story of family. Just like in Light Years From Home by Mike Chen, this is a story with a focus on family with a larger, far reaching backdrop. There’s so much at stake, but the family is the focus, from how they fractured to how they might heal. The focus was always on them and their problems with each other and, while I did feel some of the repairs were a little forced, it was nice to see it all unfold.
Unfortunately, there were also a few things that bothered me. For one, the writing is kind of bare bones and immature with all action and little to no feeling and emotion. Even when the characters were crying, I struggled to identify with and feel their grief. Even when they were being beaten up, I struggled with feeling their pain. It held me at a distance, preventing me from really connecting with the characters and understanding them. There isn’t much depth despite the story holding so many good things like the focus on family and the effects of grief. Most of the characters also suffered from the same immaturity. Instead of acting like grown gods who have lived for eons, they very often felt more like teenagers. Of course, the myths do portray many of the gods as being explosive, thoughtless, self-centered, etc., but, since this book takes them so far into the future, I expected some growth, especially as they now reign over more than just Ancient Greece. Lastly, I’m always pained by the fact that few people seem to call Hercules by his Greek name, Heracles. I will note that Hercules is the more recognizable form, but I’m a huge purist when it comes to names and Hercules is Roman while Heracles is Greek. Considering this novel uses Greek mythology, it was vastly disappointing to me that Heracles was called by his Roman name. But that’s just me complaining since it has literally no bearing on the story being told.
The Olympus Trinity is a fast-paced, action-filled take on Greek mythology with a sci-fi setting. It modernizes the myths to a degree and adds a new spin to the old stories. Despite that, everything is recognizable even if the author did take a few liberties. At it’s heart, it’s a story of family and deals heavily with abuse and loss. Despite how unpolished the writing felt and the lack of emotion in the actual writing (the characters did display enough, but the writing held me back from connecting with it), I still must appreciate the story being told. It kind of felt like an action-packed sci-fi movie with Greek gods displaying their might and dealing with their personal issues. Which was actually a lot of fun.
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Thank you to Brian Coggins Jr. for a review copy. All opinions expressed are my own.
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