Title: Strange Gods
Author: Alison Kimble
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Date of Publication: July 20, 2021
Publisher: Immortal Works
Spooky arrives at a wilderness boot camp for troubled teens with two suitcases and an ultimatum: either she keeps her head down over the summer or she won’t be allowed home at the end of it. All she wants to do is survive the pyros, bullies, and power-tripping counselors, get through senior year, and start her life somewhere new. She’ll do just about anything to protect that future.
But when an encounter with another camper goes awry and ends with Spooky hiding in the woods, something else finds her. Something ancient and powerful has sent out feelers, hoping to catch a human alone. For its purposes, one human is as good as any other. Even a delinquent teen will do.
If Spooky wants to survive to see any kind of future, she will have to figure out how to gain leverage over a god. And as if the one wasn’t bad enough, a pantheon of dark entities are lining up between her and the life she’s always wanted…
For fantasy fans, comes one girl’s journey through dark worlds of magic, gods, and monsters.
Allison Kimble has an effortlessly descriptive and humorous writing style. The plot of Strange Gods is delightfully peculiar. It’s original, unpredictable, and engaging. It reminded me a little of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, with some of the outlandish things that happen, the odd things characters will say, and the offbeat twists and turns in the plot. Kimble takes the simple “Hero’s journey” plot template and makes it fresh.
Laurel, who prefers to go by “Spooky”, is your typical teenager, despite being sent to a camp for delinquents. She’s an ordinary girl. She’s a little self-centred, but not overly selfish. She’s self-conscious, as demonstrated by how she brings up her over-sized ears frequently in her inner dialogue. She’s desperate for friends and longs for her parents’ acceptance. Oh, and she’s also humanity’s only chance to save Earth from certain doom.
The camp that Spooky has been sent to that is designed to “reform” delinquents is hilariously inept and borders on the darker side of rehabilitation. There is quite a bit of satire to the way that this is done, and it reflects on our society’s way of handling people that don’t fit the mold. The camp counselors preach “trust”, when it’s clear even within the very same paragraph that they do anything but “trust” the teens.
While the book is full of kooky bits and other parts that had me simultaneously scratching my head and chuckling, the book isn’t without its deeper themes. The book preaches acceptance, and Spooky has several meaningful, heartfelt moments with her new friends.
Strange Gods features an eighteen year old, but the book is appropriate for all ages. I’m not 100% sure, but it seems like it’s likely the first in a series. I’m looking forward to exploring what else this author has to offer, and hopefully I’ll get to meet more of her strange gods…
*Thank you to the author for the advanced ebook to review*
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