TL;DR Rating 4.5/5 – The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden is a science fiction fantasy with everything. Gods, murder girl, superpowers, demons, A.I. rebellion, giant mech robots, and the afterlife. It’s a story written from several points of view and a ton of big ideas. The characters were engaging, the story started intimate, and grew to world-ending proportions. (The world-ending being from the antagonist’s point of view is not precisely reliable.) The story of The Prey of Gods takes place in a futuristic South Africa where every house has a service A.I. (think Siri or Alexis only with a body) and old gods or super-being roam the Earth trying to eke out a living. It’s interestingly weird and wonderful, the characters rich and the done-in-one tale told with a great voice. If I had one negative is there was one character whose ending isn’t exactly clear and I wished it was more clear. Nicky Drayden told every scene with straightforward prose but in the wrap-up, when completely esoteric with one of the characters and I found that just a tiny bit off-putting. Otherwise, if you’re looking for a fun story that takes epic to an interesting level, The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden is the book for you.
Humans are the Prey of Gods
The Prey of Gods is a story told in the third person from the POV of a lot of characters. Muzi, 16-year-old rugby players whose best friends is a narcissistic “I love trouble” guy who loved to get high, Sydney a very old being who considers herself a god, Nomvula a ten-year-old who is about to find out big family secrets, Stroker a city councilman with a secret passion for song and dance, and Riya Natrajan the books avatar for superstar pop divas. Oh, and Clever-1, Muzi’s A.I. who has his own story that eventually collides with the main story in an interesting way. Where the story goes and how it gets to the big threat is weaved so well you will find yourself getting lost in wanting to see where the characters go. It’s not easy to juggle a story from the point of view of so many characters but Nicky Drayden handles it with a fun little gleam in writers writer’s eye.
Prey of God Epic Ain’t Easy
All story must lead to some form of climax, the “all is lost moment” or that point where the challenge gets to a point the feel more than protagonists can take. Some are personal, the family against you, the killer hunting you, a journey of survival. Some go epic; the monster walks through the metropolis, the sun eater gets closer to your home star, the alien armada is about to blow away your ship, etc. This is the first book where things are personal and epic at the same time. This is a book where gods who feed off belief and fear blow entire towns out of existence but have to work in nail salons to afford the rent, where fathers can climb to the clouds but might not be the best people you’ve ever met, and singers can literally inspire and heal despite being the worse at meeting people. This book has some seriously heavy issue in it, some which might at for seem to be glossed over but whose effects come back in big ways. Human ways.
As I understand this is Nicky Drayden’s debut book. I’ve read Escaping Exodus and will review it soon, but this is the one that made me a Nicky Drayden fan. I loved how she easily jump between each character’s story and brought them together to play a role in the overall storyline. This is a fun book with hardcore themes and great for any fan of something a little different than the usual sci-fi/fantasy. It has heroes and villains and not everyone is 100% either, but the “bad guy” does think they’re right. There are also a lot of main characters which the author balances by giving them unique voices and interesting motivation. One of the best stories I’ve read so far.