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Thalia would approve

By Fiona Gregory, editor

Aug 10, 2011: When I was a teen, I went through an ancient Greek mythology phase. This would have been a major geekfest for me then, and even now I really appreciate seeing the Greek gods getting some love, when the current vogue tends to run to Celtic or East European mythology.

It’s a very rich vein! and I can assure readers, although the tone of these tales is light and playful, as befits their narrator, the author really knows her Greek mythology. She does a beautiful job of taking its nasty aspects and inconsistencies, and making it all not only make sense, but funny. Check out her retelling of the episode between Athena and Hephaestos that resulted in the founding of the city of Athens.

The gods are casually cruel to mortals, and spiteful toward each other, and even the light-hearted Thalia has to tread carefully sometimes. This doesn’t prevent her from pushing her ability to play tricks and ham it up for a laugh as far as she can. As a former Greek mythology fangirl, I will note that the one false note the author’s characterizations of the Pantheon crowd sounds for me is with Athena – I feel Amethyst is making her too girly, whereas I think of the goddess of wisdom as tough, no-nonsense, and relatively dignified.

A great light but erudite read: the Greek gods as you’ve never seen them before.

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A Greco-Roman sitcom

By G.S. Williams, author of No Man An Island

Aug 8, 2011: "Thalia’s Musings" are an amusing diversion. She’s the Muse of Comedy, and she and her sisters are the sources of creative inspiration in the world. Given her nature, Thalia enjoys practical jokes, sarcasm, witticisms, puns and general playfulness.

Here’s an excellent summary of who she is, in her own words: "Hera likes me because I’m the unofficial jester of the Olympian court, and she can always count on me to deliver pure, brazen snark to the other goddesses and gods." And that’s what her narrative style is—snark. Enjoyable, bubbly, tongue-in-cheek snark.

The serious god Apollo has been made supervisor of the Muses after some pranks, and so he prinicipally rains on Thalia’s parade, which is ironic given that he’s one of the sun gods. She gives him a hard time about his many lost loves, he thinks she should be more serious.

While reading this I find that I picture it as an ancient Greek sitcom—think the cast of Friends or Cougar Town lounging around in togas and laurels, poking fun at one another over everything and nothing. It’s enjoyable, without really needing much in the way of plot besides the next funny scrape Thalia gets herself into, much like I Love Lucy. It’s just fun to read, and doesn’t need to be more than that.

I like that the gods and goddesses are fairly modern in their perspective, while dealing with ancient mortals, instead of being "historically" in character—it adds a farcical fun element. The tone of this is what’s great about it, and it’s not meant to be taken too seriously.

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Supervillains get sexy

By MJones, member

Feb 25, 2010: Strange Little Band is one of the sexiest stories on the internet, and how can it not be when you are looking at two supervillains navigating their way through parenthood and romance? The wonderfully adversarial relationship between Addison and Shane creates a dark comedy of errors inside of a top secret society that may or may not be on the side of the world outside of its nefarious influence. Unlike many romances, neither Addison nor Shane are likeable characters, their evil natures tempered only by their interaction with their children and the dysfunctional family life they manage within their relationship. There are few characters who are ‘good’ people in Strange Little Band, save for perhaps Svetlana and Teague. Both Addison and Shane are selfish people who seek out their successes at the expense of others and aren’t afraid to use and abuse those around them with their alien and psychic powers respectively.

The main crux of the story is the often rocky process by which Shane and Addison discovering they do, in fact, have souls. Their children are selfless and understanding, a wholly alien outlook to their own parents, and thus become teachers in how to get back those components of their humanity they had lost. The fault perhaps lies in Triptych Corp., a mysterious entity that blends both science and magic within it, manipulating those within its employ and enslaving those who are weak within it. There is a good description of the living arrangements of its employees, along with how people interact in its corporate culture. What its purpose ultimately is is never clear, but this is secondary to the main focus of the story which is the relationship between Addison and Shane. As was said, the story is mainly a love story between two very bad people who use and manipulate others at will. It’s an interesting point of view, like seeing how a master villain and his relationships play out on a day to day basis.

Though they are unlikeable, we stick to watching Shane and Addison playing with these new feelings of care because we understand that they are finally learning an important aspect of their humanity—The ability to love. It could be argued that they are already more than halfway there with their feelings for their children, but the bringing someone not of your blood into your relational clan is no easy thing for either character, and realising that hurting someone emotionally is a self destructive weapon is a huge step in the developement of their humanity. Empathy may not be a good trait for a supervillain to cultivate, but it certainly makes for some darn hot and sexy conflict.

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