Review: Olympia Heights: The Pantheon by Amy Leigh Strickland

Posted 4 January, 2012 by Heather in Blog, Danny's Book Review, Heather, Uncategorized / 12 Comments

Olympia Heights: The Pantheon (Book 1)

(Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble)

by Amy Leigh Strickland

(Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Website, Twitter)

Published July 10, 2011

Book Description:

[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]

My Thoughts:

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.


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I'm a PhD chemist who loves sarcasm, music, and books-paranormal, mystery, thriller, suspense, horror, and romance. Most of my free time is spent at the martial arts studio these days--whether practicing Combat Hapkido or reading books while watching my son's Taekwondo classes, or even working up a sweat with Kickboxing for fun. Goodreads

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12 Responses to “Review: Olympia Heights: The Pantheon by Amy Leigh Strickland”

  1. Amy

    Thanks so much for this review! I've learned a lot from writing this book, my first novel, and I can easily see where the characters, who I've known in my head for four years, could be overwhelming to meet all in one book. I appreciate your honesty and I'm glad the second half pulled you in.Thanks so much for this review! I've learned a lot from writing this book, my first novel, and I can easily see where the characters, who I've known in my head for four years, could be overwhelming to meet all in one book. I appreciate your honesty and I'm glad you gave it a chance to let the second half pulled you in.

    I'll send you an update when the second book excerpt is available and a release date is out. It is being edited right now. Thanks a bunch!

    Reply »

    Heather 1/8/2012

    I'm sure that it was very hard to put so many characters down on paper (or on screen), especially after they've been swimming around in your head for so long. I'm looking forward to seeing where they're going in book 2!

    Reply »

  2. Heidi

    Very informative review Heather. Looks like a fun book to check out for $.99! Don't you just love being able to pick up all these fun little books for such a steal? I am guessing you are loving the Kindle Fire!

    Reply »

    Heather 1/8/2012

    I'm definitely loving my Kindle Fire. I had a Kindle 3 before this, and while I enjoyed reading on it, I didn't use it very much because I like to go on the internet when I need to. Now I can all on the same device without having to use my phone if I'm away from my computer. I've definitely read a lot more too. I've read a lot over the holidays since I can now read in a dark car while traveling or while in a dark room while in bed. Well worth the small price!

    And this book is worth the $2.99 price that it's set at right now, for sure!

    Reply »

  3. Lori Strongin

    I like the new blog layout, guys!

    When you first mentioned fourteen teens being featured, automatically I had to wonder if the author could really go that in-depth with the characterizations in a single book (unless it was the length of War and Peace, of course). Sounds like this one's almost there. But the concept is interesting (I'm a sucker for anything to do with Greek/Roman/Egyptian myth), so I still might check this one out.

    My recent post Welcome!

    Reply »

    Heather 1/8/2012

    The concept is definitely interesting and well thought out, but it was just a bit hard to read at first to get through all fourteen of the characters. Plus, I have a hard time remembering names in real life, so it was confusing for me to remember who was who. This book is worth checking out, though, IMO.

    Reply »

  4. Sam

    A great, detailed review there. This is my first time coming across this book and it sounds like it could be a pretty interesting read though I'm not too sure if I want to grab myself a copy… However it does look like it is worth a try, especially as you mentioned the second half of the book makes up for the first.

    Sam @ Realm of Ficton

    My recent post Review: The Deepest Cut by J. A. Templeton

    Reply »

    Heather 1/8/2012

    Definitely check it out! Like I said in the review, I actually stumbled upon this author because she had reviewed another author's (that I adore) books. Her video review caught my interest so I decided to check her book and blog out, and I'm glad I did!

    Reply »

  5. Though it does sound like a lot of characters to begin with, once things settle down, it sounds like this is a great start to a new series. I think I'll check it out!! Thanks for the review. I'll go in expecting all the people.

    My recent post IMM Kindle Crazy

    Reply »

    Heather 1/8/2012

    I think that knowing there's a whole gang to keep track of, you'll probably be better prepared than I was! Definitely check this one out!

    Reply »

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