‘The World among Us’ at first glance seems to be seeped in mythology and urban fantasy. There is the entire gamut of Greek Gods here, right from Gaia going all the way ‘down’ to Hades. They all play their traditional roles as well. Besides the horde of Greek Gods, there are the usual urban fantasy characters consisting of werewolves, vampires and wizards. When such a cast of characters is assembled, it is obvious that a war will be brewing and who better than Hades, the God of the underworld to start it in his attempts to take over and rule the world?
This all, of course has no bearing upon the wonderful story which the author has created. It is a time tested formula of two people who can never be together, but yet fall in love. Complicating their relationship is their families who are ready to go to war.
Hades is bent on world domination and to set his plan rolling, he puts his only son and heir, Damien in a position, where he has to kill his one true love Selene. Selene being a Goddess is reincarnated and Damien realizing his mistake leaves his father’s side and his twisted plans behind. He vows to protect Selene from his father and switches sides in the coming war. Being a demon, he is now shunned by Hell and is distrusted by the Gods. Caught in the middle, we can see him treading a fine line as the creatures of Hell try to lure him, but his love for Selene holds him back. Much of the remaining book is dedicated to Selene growing up and we see little glimpses of the plans afoot to start the war between the good and evil sides.
All the Gods in the story are wonderfully adapted to the modern world. They are portrayed as being almost human, who use cell phones to communicate (albeit ones which can cross the boundaries of the mortal world and make calls to ‘heaven and hell’). They also live in the mortal world at times and are seen having relationships with mortals. They have all the fallibilities of humans even though they have some superpowers. They have emotions like love and hate, jealousy and pride and can be injured and killed. They are quick to judge and quicker to react. They have wants and desires and they are willing to work towards making them come true.
Even the urban fantasy characters are adapted to this ‘divine’ tale. The vampires are demons from hell, while the Gods look to create werewolves to fight them. The wizards are the only humans playing a role in the story.
I was quite disappointed at the place at which the story in this book ended. The book feels like one long prologue to the actual story. There are huge indications of the coming war between good and evil right from the first page. However, we never get to it till the end. In this book, just the ‘warning shots’ have been fired and the book ends right before an actual war is declared, and that just seems wrong. I would have the author to commit to the war in this book, rather than leaving it to the reader’s imagination and asking them to wait for the next book to find out how and when it all starts. This by far is my biggest gripe against the book, one which takes it away from a five star read. It is like hanging the proverbial fruit right before us, but keeping it just out of reach. I can understand the need to set up a series with the backstory and help readers understand the ‘why, when and what’ to give depth to the series, but devoting the entire first book to this resulted in it ending in a frustrating note for me.
I am sure the remaining book(s) will continue this wonderful story, and for that I give it four stars.