The Age of Ra
by James Lovegrove
Synopsis from Amazon:
An alternate history of the world where the Egyptian gods have defeated all others and have carved up the planet between themselves. Only a band of Freedom Fighters and their enigmatic leader can free the Earth from their divine tyranny.
So, first off... tell me what you think when you look at that cover... no, really, stop and think about it?
What do I think? Kurt Russell, James Spader... Stargate... yes. There I said it. Stargate.
That aside, I'm not sure how I feel about this book. Due to my own confusion over how to feel, I went out and read several other reviews... some of which loved the book, and some of which hated it... and here's what it boils down to for me: I agree more with the folks who didn't exactly enjoy it.
I think this review by Nathan Brazil over at The SF Site really sums it up... the book just did not reach its full potential. Any veteran Science Fiction reader should have been able to see the plot twists coming from a mile away... and the things I *hoped* would happen to add variety and originality to said twists did not... instead they followed a very cookie-cutter path.
There was so much potential in the character of David Westwynter, and how he could have interacted with not only other main characters, but with the gods themselves... but it just felt like none of that was really explored. When he did interact with the gods, it left me wanting more... a lot more, and a lot more explanation as well... and when he interacted with the other human characters... well... it left a lot to be desired. Other than knowing that he's a "Generally good guy who doesn't like deep emotions"... well, David didn't strike me as much of anything special. By the time we reached the end of the book, I barely cared what happened to the humans in the story anymore.
The gods were a lot more interesting to me, but mostly because I enjoy reading the tales of different mythologies... and this was no exception when it came to filling you in on a bit of the Egyptian Gods history with one another. I was disappointed though, by who the "Big Bad" turned out to be. This is probably a bit of a spoiler (this next sentence)... but yeah, if you know anything about Egyptian Mythology... and who their prime betrayer often is... well... it's not much of a shocker. It's kind of like any story about Norse Mythology... you can pretty much expect Loki to be in there, causing major trouble somehow.
The most interesting part of the book to me, sadly, was the very end when there is a meeting between a human and a god (unknown to the human)... but by that point, I found I just didn't care that much anymore... plus, as far as I can tell, "The Age of" god series that Lovegrove has going is just filled with one-offs that are bound together by theme only... so why should I care about the end of the book or what happens to the character? I don't... and it's sad.
I'm still going to read the second book, and hope for something better, since I've heard good things about Lovegrove... because I'm not going to lie, I really want to get to the third book in the series (The Age of Odin)... and I hate reading things out of order... even if it's just the order they were written in.
I don't think I'd recommend this book... perhaps if the second book is excellent, I'll still recommend the series and just tell people to skip the first book... but I just felt like I learned very little about the characters. Their motivations all felt superficial, or totally dictated by their nature... and when it comes to "The Ancient Gods have returned" type books, I've read better.