It has become somewhat of a tradition for me to associate the month of April with the celebration of pranksters and comedians. So to keep in line with this custom, this month’s book review will showcase a novel by A. Lee Martinez, an author who successfully combines humour and the paranormal mystery.
After a enjoying both The Automatic Detective and Monster, I was looking forward to reading something else written by A. Lee Martinez. The first chapter of Divine Misfortune was included at the end of Monster, and I was instantly hooked. The story’s concept was original, and its characters seemed interesting, so the book was a quick addition to my ‘’to read’’ list.
The story takes place in a contemporary setting, but in this reality, every god ever recorded in history exists and interact with mortals on a daily basis. Mortals can select which god they choose to follow through a matching service which sounds a lot like an online dating site. The novel follows the journey of Teri and Phil, a couple who until the beginning of the story decided they did not need a god. They reconsider this situation after Phil is passed up for a promotion and sign up under Luka, raccoon god of prosperity. At first all Luka wants is a small cut of their good fortune, and to live with them. Things get even stranger when Luka’s past start catching up to him, causing his followers to be caught in the crossfire.
Back of the Book:
“In a world where the gods are real, Phil and Terry are just looking for their personal slice of divine assistance. After much soul searching, they settle on Lucky, a raccoon god of good fortune.
At first, everything seems to be working fine. Things fall into place and all the little bits of luck on which life hinges seem to fall their way. So what if their god wants to crash in their guest room? And if his unemployed Aztec serpent god buddy ends up sleeping on their couch for a few days, what’s the big deal?”
What I learned:
- Character contrast: Having a distinctive cast of characters is important. Different personalities help advance the story by telling it from different perspectives. For example, in this story we see the characters of Luka and his friend Quick play well against each other. Luka is easygoing and carefree, while Quick is responsible and empathetic.
- Making it funny: Martinez proves successful at implementing comedy in his works of fiction. His witty style and humorous visualizations put an interesting twist on tense situations. For example, how Teri Phil constantly escape danger because their god endowed them with incredible good luck.
- Playing with the source material: Martinez incorporated gods from every religion and era into this story, and most likely a few you never heard of. He then placed these characters in a modern day setting, and showed how that would affect their personalities. The result was not only interesting, but quite comedic at times.
A. Lee Martinez is an American fantasy and science fiction author who was born in El Paso, Texas on January 12, 1973. He has written several published fantasy novels, which have been translated into five languages.
For those interested in reading more books from A. Lee Martinez, please check out his website and wiki description, where you can find a complete listing of his published works and all other pertinent information:
In closing, I would like to thank my family and friends for the tremendous amount of encouragement they have shown me since the beginning. And a special mention to my good friend John (O’Lantern) for introducing me to this great author.
Until next time!