Paternus: Wrath of Gods is a continuation of the epic urban fantasy tale from book 1, Paternus: Rise of the Gods. As many authors suffer a Sophmore slump or a slowing of tone as they fill in the exposition, that is not the case with Dyrk Ashton. Quite the contrary, Dyrk could have coasted a bit into book 2, Took a step back, and slowed the pace down. I honestly, and knowing Dyrk a bit through his hilarious tweet feed, do not think he is capable of such a feat. It is a hell of a ride start to finish.
To quote the Sound of Music, “Let us start at the very beginning. A very good place to start” The cover art on this is top-notch. I would have bought the entire series in hardback before even reading or knowing anything about the series…oh, wait. I did do that, and sadly there they sat for months on end forlorn and staring me in tone. Secondly, unlike many other series where the overall series is one large arc, Paternus is not really like that. Sure, the kids and mythological creatures/people face issues, old grudges, and waining power. But there wasn’t much of a mini-arc except, “Jesus, we must save Peter.” Then “Jesus, we must save ourselves.” Then “Holy shit, is that Jesus?” I am desperate for a family tree for these books to hang on my wall because it all is muddling together into the epic family genes of awesomeness.
The story takes off right at the end of the first Paternus book, Paternus: Rise of the Gods. Zeke and Fi (henceforth known as the kids) are attempting to help Peter and Zeke’s uncle Edgar gather the firstborn creatures/folks of legend for an epic battle pitting good against evil. The most fun part of this book is connecting the creatures and deities dot to dot. I love a good a-ha, and these chapters give them to me in spades. And, being that I am an enormous mythological story geek, I ate all of Dyrk’s impeccable research with a spoon.
In the second book, we are introduced to new creatures/people of power and legend. I especially enjoyed the characters from the Hindu and Buddhist pantheons, specifically Ganesh and Shiva. Although I do not know much about the history and stories, I know the characterizations are spot on from what little I do know. I think, more importantly, I want to learn more. Paternus is a kind of series that makes you want to research and delve deeper into the mythologies of everything.
In the first book, Paternus: Rise of the Gods, we are introduced to Zeke, Fi, Peter, and Edgar. But, as there are many characters in the Paternus series, some are more fleshed out than others. Now with the second book, we can learn more about the backstory behind the power. Fiona and Zeke are especially fleshed out and focused on. This focus is great because you can see a transition from childhood to adulthood very quickly, and you can also see the inner strength that the two of them have. That strength will be tested as the series goes on, and Ashton did a great job in pushing their stories forward.
Unlike the first book, Wrath of the gods goes at a steady and exciting clip. It is one of the most compelling books I have ever read. I don’t say that lightly because, at this point, I am practically gushing over this series, and it is slightly embarrassing. But Ashton writes fights very well, and there is a lot of fighting in this book. You can also see Ashton’s comfort in this book. It is as if Ashton sat down, eased in, and wrote. The first book of the series did not seem like he had the same comfort level.
I do need to comment on the narrative style Paternus is written in. I enjoy it and have no problem with it, but I know that some readers have difficulty with the switching of perspectives. Sometimes on the same page. I found that because each character had such a unique voice, and I listened to part of it as an audiobook, I had no problem staying with it. But your results may vary. My only advice is to stick with it. It pays off highly as we come to the climax of the series.
Dyrk Ashton’s Paternus: Wrath of the Gods is urban fantasy at its best. Urban fantasy gets many naysayers thinking that it is only the realm of sparkly vampires and shirtless werewolves. Now, before I get hate mail, I am not knocking on paranormal urban fantasy. I have read a lot of it and enjoyed it thoroughly. However, Urban fantasy is a vast genre with many facets, and this is one of them. It is an exciting, gritty, and violent fantasy that is well researched and engaging that just happens to take place in our “now.” I believe that if you take on this series, you will be just as excited as I am about it because it is just that good. Now, on to Paternus: War of the Gods. Let’s do this!!