Book Review: Gods and the Dust: Greek Mythology as a High Fantasy Epic by Joshua Rivoli

Since my last blog post/book review for The Falcon of Sparta by Conn Iggulden, I’ve been curating a nice little lineup of brand new novels about Ancient Greece. This is quite a treat for me since I haven’t indulged my love of books in what seems like aeons.

Lounging on the couch and reading a book, even from a tablet in my hand, feels a lot like being on vacation. I’m loving it! And doing book reviews turns out to be more fun than I expected too. Many of you already follow me on my Facebook page, Achilles’ Shield, so you might have noticed this already (but I want to cheer anyway) — my post for Iggulden’s book review really hit the big time, reaching over 7,000 people! If you were among those great people who helped share that post around, thank you very much!

So the next book in my nice little lineup of brand new novels is a fantastic new spin on ancient Greek mythology entitled, Gods and the Dust: Greek Mythology as a High Fantasy Epic by Joshua Rivoli. I enjoyed every minute of this mini-vacation in Ancient Greece, from the giddy heights of Olympus to the gloomy depths of Hades and every naked nymph-filled nook and cranny in between – this book is loads of fun and I recommend it highly.

5 Bright Stars From Orion’s Constellation

Five bright stars from Orion’s constellation seems like a perfect rating for Joshua Rivoli‘s Gods and the Dust: Greek Mythology as a High Fantasy Epic.

Pull up a seat at Josh’s table and prepare for a feast of Dionysian delights. Compared to the ala carte menu of stale encyclopedia entries based on Hesiod’s Theogony, Rivoli’s innovative offering of ancient Greek mythology serves up a juicy banquet fit for the gods. Brilliantly upcycled into a contemporary novel, common passages of ancient Greek mythology are magically fixed to a common timeline and Rivoli skillfully presents them as related points in a single and singularly exciting plot.

At first, the magic isn’t apparent. But what at the outset seems to read like tongue-in-cheek fantasies feeding on randy schoolboy hormones morphs ever so cunningly into a short-sentenced form of prose that reads like erotic minimalism. I guarantee by the time you get to Leda and the Swan you’ll totally get what I mean. Never straying too far from the path of mischievous suggestion, Rivoli’s Gods and the Dust could never be called X-rated, but I would definitely give it a highly satisfying R++. This is Ancient Greece, after all. Gorgeous nude nymphs pop up in all the most likely places, Aphrodite’s charms and appetites are in constant ‘play’ and Zeus revels in his regal sexuality. You probably won’t be reading this one to your little ones at bedtime, but you, your teenagers, and probably even your significant other will be sporting glow-in-the-dark grins.

My appreciation for Rivoli’s mastery of wordplay deepened with each new presentation of beloved ancient myth seamlessly tied to the events of the previous and perfectly setting the stage for the next. As the trajectory of the plot dawns on the life-long fan of Greek mythology, the old encyclopedia entries you read in high school seductively morph into delicious dishes overflowing on a magnificent banquet table begging to be consumed in one glorious, spoil-yourself-sick splurge.

With fully “fleshed” out characters, realistic dialogue, exciting drama, and a mischievous sense of humor throughout, Rivoli’s Gods and the Dust: Greek Mythology as a High Fantasy Epic renders Greek mythology way more fun and far more memorable than any other compilation on the bookshelves. I give the whole book 5 stars and an extra 15-minute standing ovation just for the courtship and marriage of Peleus and Thetis – Bravo, Josh, Bravo!!

9 thoughts on “Book Review: Gods and the Dust: Greek Mythology as a High Fantasy Epic by Joshua Rivoli

  1. What is your take on Madelaine Miller’s work ? I very much enjoyed it. Circe in particular. How God and Dust take is compare to Miller’s approach ?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comment, Tahar. Miller’s works are very popular and I agree, Circe in particular. Rivoli’s Gods and the Dust is a quick read with a light and lighthearted touch, very fun version of the popular Greek myths.


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