by Amy Leigh Strickland
Published July 10, 2011
[box type=”shadow”]They say that lightning never strikes the same place twice, but for Zach Jacobs, that just isn’t true. It’s hard enough being seventeen– juggling school, football, friends, and teenage romance– but Zach’s about to find out just how complicated it can get when he begins to suspect that maybe he was the lightning. Teenage woes hardly seem significant when you’ve got lightning shooting from your fingertips and a couple of murderous Titans trying to settle an ancient score.[/box]
I stumbled upon this book when checking out a video review that JL Bryan had tweeted of one of his books in the Paranormals series. It turns out that the reviewer was an author, and I liked the professional way that she presented her review and the enthusiasm that she had for it so I decided to check out what books she had published. Olympia Heights: The Pantheon was on sale in the Kindle store for $0.99 at the time, so I decided to give it a shot.
Olympia Heights, Florida is home to a high school where fourteen teenagers start developing strange abilities and remembering a seemingly impossible past together. When members of the rival town’s football team, the Titans, start showing up to start trouble on more than just the field, the group must band together to fight off an impending attack that runs centuries deep.
The story is compelling–fourteen regular teens suddenly starting to develop unique powers over a few months, forced to work together whether they trust each other and are friends or not–is believable with just the right amount of angst for a YA novel. The dialogue between the teens was realistic and the adults weren’t completely absentee like you see with a lot of YA, which was refreshing. As each of the fourteen teens became aware of their actual God/Goddess selves, it was interesting to see how they reacted to how brutal they had acted in the past and how badly they might have treated those they had loved. The setting and situations the teens were in weren’t contrived, and were enjoyable to read.
The first half of the book was a bit hard to read because there were so many characters to meet and get to know. Fourteen different people and two adults were introduced and described in detail, and it really bogged the book down. The descriptions tended to be a little long winded, and I felt that they could have been cut down and still have been very effective. This would have helped with the pacing of the first half of the book immensely. Also, the teens seemed to accept that they were Gods rather easily. But I guess if I had lightning shooting out of my hands or if I could talk to animals, I might be an easy believer myself.
The second half of the book was much better paced once the character foundations had been laid and the battle lines had been drawn. It’s really this half of the book that was exciting, fast paced, and a page turner (or in my case, a touch the Kindle Fire screen). I’ll gladly pick up the next one in this series when it comes out. But I’m only giving this one a 3 out of five since the first half could use some editing to bring it’s readability up to the same level as the second half of the book.