Zoe Calder has always been an outsider. Stashed away in boarding schools since her parents died, Zoe buries herself in the study of ancient worlds. Her greatest thrill is spending her summers with her archeologist aunt and uncle on digs around the world. And one day, while investigating a newly unearthed temple in Crete, Zoe discovers a luminous artifact that transports her to ancient Greece.
As Zoe quickly learns, the Olympian Gods are real, living people—humans with mysterious powers… Powers that Zoe quickly realizes she has come to possess, as well. However, when the people of ancient Greece mistake Zoe for an Olympian, the Gods must restore the balance of the ancient world… No matter what.
Zoe is forced to play a confusing and dangerous game as Hera rallies the gods against her—all except for Zeus, the beautiful, winged young god who risks everything to save her.
Out of time and out of her element, teenager Zoe Calder finds herself in ancient Greece, battling against the power of the Olympians and the vengeance of a scorned goddess—all for the strange and mysterious boy she has come to love. ~From GoodReads
I'm just going to put myself out there and open by saying this is a tough review to write. I hate being a "bearer of bad news. Hate it. I wanted so much to love The Dig. The cover is adorable, making me smile everytime I looked at it. The synopsis sounds like a great deal of fun. But sadly, things just didn't work out that way. So, instead of me sitting here stalling, let's get to it!
Typically, I don't give an overview of the story in my review. That's what a synopsis is for, right? But in this case, I can't explain or justify my feelings if I don't. Bear in mind, this is very general, but gives you the main idea of the plot. Zoe, having completed her junior year of high school, accompanies her aunt and uncle on an archealogical dig in Greece. Like many teenagers, Zoe wanders where she shouldn't and comes across an artifact that looks like a giant iPhone. She can't keep her hands to herself and said giant iPhone thingy is actually a device that transports her to ancient Greece, whereupon she stumbles into a handsome young man who happens to be the main man of Greek mythology, Zeus. Then, the story turns into "The Greek Gods: The Teen Years". Yes, all the major Greek gods are teens; really cranky, hateful, evil teens, with the exception of Zeus. All of them are paired up into couples, but, and I am assuming here, because the there are more girls than guys and the numbers don't add up, Hermes is actually a girl (I'll come back to that later). Now, all of them are out to get Zoe because she seems to have powers of her own and has wandered in, upsetting the balance of power. Chaos ensues, and in the meantime, Zoe and Zeus have fallen in love. They must struggle to make it back to safety with the power of the magical iPhone-ish device before Zoe is destroyed. Got it? Good.
Where to begin. How about the iPhone transporter. It's a cute idea, but without some sort of reasoning, logical or not, I just didn't get it. An ancient, dusty box or a cool medallion would have been cool, but the iPhone just didn't cut it for me.
Next up, the characters. Zoe was a neat character in some ways. She was smart, and had a somewhat funny internal dialogue. As for the rest, they fell flat for me. Zeus had a few real moments, but otherwise, he and all of the other Greek gods felt one-dimensional. They were catty, bratty and in general just no fun at all to read.
This leads me to Hermes, who by every account I have ever read, was a man. In this story Hermes is a girl and is paired up with Apollo. Weird. If the numbers don't add up, add in a few of the minor deities, or just make him gay. Perhaps there is a great reason behind the decision to make Hermes a girl. I don't know.
Now I'm onto the math. Zeus tells Zoe that he is five hundred years old. The story takes place in 2011. Which means the Greek gods have only been around, and correct me if I'm wrong, since 1511. I may have been a crappy math student, but I rocked history and literature. Greek mythology was around well before the sixteenth century, this I know. I'm all for suspending disbelief, but my compulsion for historical accuracy won't let me let that slide.
And... the insta-love. I'm not a person who typically gripes too much about insta-love, the bane of many reader's existence. I don't like it, but if it's well-written enough, I can handle it. I may be well beyond my teen years (not too beyond!), but I remember very well being a teen. And I never, no matter how good looking and sweet talking the guy was, fell in love with a guy the first day I knew him. I just don't like when a girl is willing to throw everything to the wind over the first guy who pays her attention.
Okay, so what did I like about The Dig? The idea in general was appealing. I love Greek mythology, love when I can find a great re-imagining. The concept of the deities being teenagers was cool. If they had had more depth, it would have been great fun. The author's style did have a certain sense of charm, with several funny references to current pop culture trends. There was one really beautiful kissy scene that had me swooning a bit.
As a whole, I would say The Dig was an interesting premise, but with all of the issues mentioned above, just didn't cut it for me.
"Time travel. Magic. And- can't say I saw this one coming either- peacocks."
Find out for yourself how you feel about this book.
Read an excerpt from The Dig.
Read an excerpt from The Dig.
ebook, 208 pages
Published November 11th 2011 by Backlit Fiction
You can purchase The Dig (Zoe and Zeus Trilogy #1) at:
*I received a copy of The Dig from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.*