I have a million different things I want to say about this book before I even get into TALKING about the book. First, this was another book my friend lent me. I still have a dozen or so books traveling with me and that one has been kicking around for months. She usually doesn’t tell me much about the books, and I didn’t know anything about this previously so it just got tucked away and passed over.
My absolute mistake. I picked up this book because it had migrated to the top of the box and read the back because, well, why not? I got to the end of the summary and knew I HAD to read the book. The main character is none other than my namesake – Artemis. Her, and Artemis Entreri from Forgotten Realms, are the inspiration for my screen name. Neither of them are real, but they have had the biggest impact on my life. The Goddess influenced how I perceived the world, and my determination to be myself and to never let anyone stop me from doing what was right for me. My man Artemis, oddly shaped my physique. He is an assassin, and I distinctly remember a scene where he stood without any inclination (didn’t lean forward, didn’t shift his weight, any normal movements we do when standing) that he was doing so. I adored his physical and mental strength, his fearlessness, and wanted to be the same (I was a teen, give me a break). But I did it; I used to be able to go from a sitting or crouched position to standing without leaning forward or shifting my weight. I also learned how to move completely silently. I know it’s an odd influence, but as a depressed and sick teen, these two gave me a path.
So naturally, I had to read this book. Artemis, who now goes by Selene DiSilva, stumbles upon a dead and mutilated body, posed as if in offering to the Gods. Being a Private Investigator, specifically for cases of female abuse, she instantly took it upon herself to find out what happened to that woman.
Enter Theo, the dead woman’s friend and past lover. I laughed through a lot of his parts, not because they were funny, but because it was LITERALLY Greek History professor mansplains Greek History to a literal Greek Goddess.
I’m going to talk about this now before I get too far into the review and lose my train of thought. I cannot express how much I LOVE everything about Brodsky’s representation of Artemis. Too often I see her portrayed either child-like (I love Riordan’s portrayal, and I get it, but a child?), or dainty maiden, whereas Artemis would be neither. Selene is 6ft tall, broad and muscular. She is never portrayed this way. This alone made me want to cling to this book (I even did some character sketches that I may post after I’m done the conventions this month). She reminds me GREATLY of Jessica Jones; she lacks in social skills, strong and capable of taking care of herself (and the storyline doesn’t take that from her), blunt, brash, harsh, but still caring in her own way.
Artemis and Theo begin looking into the murders (of which by this point there are a few) and everything links back to an ancient ceremony called the Eleusinian Mysteries. Selene knows very little about the ceremony either, because it was secret even among the Gods. The ceremony is linked to Demeter, Persephone, and Hades, and only the Gods directly involved with the cult knew it’s most secret rituals. Theo studies Greek History, and is able to fill in gaps of information blanked out of Selene’s memories. Being thousands of years old, you start to forget things. The woman who was murdered, Helen, had a thesis she was writing secretly on the Eleusinian Mysteries.
Because Selene does not NEED Theo in the typical sense (she does not need him to save her) it creates an interesting dynamic. Because of her strangely returning god-like abilities, and her history, she is able to maneuver through the world quickly and quietly. But because she is a God, she misses things that are completely natural to us. So the introduction of Theo was more of a complimentary partner not a Savior. Selene gets them out of tight binds (like rappelling from a 6th storey floor), but Theo is able to TALK them out of awkward situations.
I cannot speak enough about how much I love this book, everything about it. I love the portrayal of characters, the complimenting of strengths in the characters, normalizing affection and human contact, Greek History and Mythology (I have a weakness), the fast pace of the story – yet it stays interesting, everything. Though, like most books I read, it’s probably not for everyone. It is about murder and cults, with a LOT of Greek history. If you are okay reading those types of subjects, I highly recommend this book!