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The Dig: Zoe and Zeus by Audrey Hart
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The Dig: Zoe and Zeus

by Audrey Hart

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Showing 5 of 5
Originally reviewed at Witchmag's Boekenplank

As you guys know by now I just can’t say no to anything with mythology in it. The world of the gods, goddesses and all those mythical creatures is just too intriguing to let it pass. Therefore I was very enthusiast after reading this blurb. Zeus as a teenager? Bring it on! My mind was already brimming with all the possibilities! Unfortunately all that enthusiasm and optimism soon faded. This book just wasn’t it for me and I had to give up. I tried though, oh I tried. Repeatedly. I so wanted to love this book…. But it was just not possible. From the moment I started reading I had trouble with getting into the story, to form a picture in my head, to bring it to life, to find the magical wardrobe inside my head that would bring me to a brand new and fantastic world…

Zoe, our main character, didn’t help me much with finding that wardrobe. On the contrary, she made it even harder for me to keep on reading. I don’t know how to explain it, but she felt “wrong,” from the first moment on. I did not like spending time in her head. Not that she had weird thoughts or something like that, it just didn’t feel natural, her way of thinking. I can’t describe it any other way. Something was off. I hoped that I could get used to this, when I got to know her better, but alas, I only resented it more.

Add to that her less than stellar behavior. She felt too guarded, to stoic for me to really enjoy spending time with her. Even in moments where the toughest sailors sailor would scream for mommy, she acted like a zombie. Still functioning, but without feeling. Besides her lack of empathy she’s also one of those annoying YA heroines who always manage to NOT think before doing something and consequences be damned. Yeah, so not my thing. The cherry on top was definitely the major case of insta love. Just SECONDS after meeting him… That’s just not credible and it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I quit.

I still wanted to give the book another chance, to hopefully find something that would make finishing this book worthwhile, so I decided to skip to the ending. Maybe that would intrigue me enough to struggle to the rest. To no avail, it even backfired. I finally got to know who that nice BLOND young man was. And I was unpleasantly surprised. POSSIBLE SPOILER AND RANTING AHEAD –> thread with caution ;) Seriously? Off all the gods out there she had to choose him? The god that everyone has heard off? The god all-known for his extramarital affairs? (And she made him Blond!) Okay if the story would have been a bit different I might have applauded for this twist, this new way of portraying him (except for the blondness). Even raved about the new way to get to know him, but. Yeah, BUT too much history of him, his family and children was omitted or rewritten. Without a plausible explanation. If you use the Greek gods, there are some things that just can’t be altered or forgotten in my mind, like how they were created. Therefore if Dad is still a teenager, it’s just not possible for his children to walk around, so don’t use those Gods in the story or think of an alternative way for them to still exist. END POSSIBLE SPOILER AND RANTING Sorry, but it went too much it much against everything I’ve read about the Greek Gods. It just felt totally wrong, like reading that Germany won WW I (sorry couldn’t find a better comparison). I don’t mind reading about an alternative history of the Olympians. However somethings just can’t be rewritten or omitted, without an explanation.

Conclusion

DID NOT FINISH. There was too much that I didn’t like in this book. This was mostly because of Zoe, with the way she acted, and the writing style. Add to that the insta love and the way the whole history of the Greek Gods was butchered and I hope you can understand my point. I have no problems with reading altered versions, as long as vital points of the original story still stand or there is a logical explanation for why they were altered. ( )
  Iris-Boekenplank | Dec 22, 2013 |
My reactions to this book were really mixed. I loved the concept quite a bit and the writing wasn't too bad. The sense of humor that shows through at certain parts was also quite excellent. Unfortunately, there were also some aspects that really didn't work for me, including the sickeningly and terrifyingly quick romantic relationship between Zoe and Zeus.

Putting aside the giant iPhone that was apparently built in ancient Greece (I really hope this gets explained in a later installment), I loved the whole time travel thing and the fact that there were Greek Gods running around. These are things that make for an excellent premise, especially when some humor is added in. Certain books can't take themselves too seriously or they're not going to work out right. Hart did a great job with that at the outset.

What really frustrated me about this story can be boiled down to two different factors. First is the mythology. Hart is doing what has been done with so many other topics and reimagining the Greek gods. This has been done, of course, but it's pretty safe to say that her envisioning is original. I'll definitely give her that. Unfortunately, I had trouble buying into it. For one thing, there are only 12 gods on Olympus. Where's everyone else, like Hephaestus, the guy who was actually with Aphrodite? Plus, she's matched them all up into couples like a CW show (and they all stopped aging at 17 and are gorgeous). And, to do so, she had to change Hermes' gender to female. Why not just let there be a gay couple? I would give her props for that. Also, can we really ignore the fact that Zeus was a serious womanizer and that sometimes he raped women in animal form (ex. Leda and the Swan). This can be rectified with explanations of how his image changed in history, but it's really hard for me to get past thinking of him that way.

The second thing, which is even tougher for me, is that Zoe does not seem at all a consistent character. The Zoe of the beginning chapters is a loner and happy about it; she only vaguely cares about dressing up or boyfriends or what people think about her. Then, as soon as she meets a cute boy, she can think of nothing but those things. I liked the fairly confident, unique girl she was in the beginning, not the hair-flipping, mindless, immediately in love, Zeus-obsessed girl she became. This too could be rectified in the next installment. Perhaps after the honeymoon phase of their relationship, she will recover her normal personality. I hope so.

Obviously, I did have some concerns about the novel. However, I do imagine that it will be quite popular with teen readers and it is certainly better than some of the teen fare I have read in a similar vein. Also, if the CW doesn't pick this up for their lineup, they are missing out. ( )
  A_Reader_of_Fictions | Apr 1, 2013 |
We teach Greek Mythology every year at school. It has never been one of my favorite subjects. However, recently there have been some great books out that deal with Greek mythology in a different light. This is one of those books and it is great.

Zoe is the type of young girl that teens will be able to relate to. She suffers bullying at the hands of those in her boarding school because she doesn’t fit it. I will have to say here that she doesn’t really try very hard to fit in. When she ends up in 1000 BC, Ancient Greece her life changes. Suddenly, the most popular boy (Zeus) has fallen for her. I loved the idea that the gods and goddesses were portrayed as teenagers instead of the way we teach about them.

She realizes that these gods and goddesses are not much different than the teens she left behind at the boarding school except here they all have powers. This is just the first book in the trilogy and the second one is a definite must read. After all, we must see how things progress for Zoe. ( )
  skstiles612 | Jun 22, 2012 |
I received a copy of this from the author for free. This in no way influenced my review of the novel.

As I read Dig, I kept smiling through it and thought, what other book had me smiling like this as I read it. I realized it was Stephanie Perkins Anna and the French Kiss. This is a lot of light romance but does he or doesn't he. And it's light and fluffy and was fun to read. I don't know if the author intended it that way, but I never really felt a sense of doom and gloom in the book.

Zoe's parents are dead and she lives with her aunt and uncle who are archaeologists. Zoe attends boarding school during the year and spends her summers with her aunt and uncle at whatever archaeological site they are working on at the time.
She's a bit of recluse, a social outcast by desire, and a bookworm. She's awkward with people unless it's on a dig site.

In this novel, she is getting ready to leave for summer to an archaeological dig in Greece. When her aunt and uncle pick her up they are excited because the site is a previously undiscovered Temple. Zoe breaks the rules and wanders in it before it's been explored by the archaeologists and time travels back to 1000BC. I won't tell you how, but it's a bit unorthodox.

The book blurb pretty much tells the whole story so I'll tell you my impressions. I enjoyed the book. It was a nice break from some of the other things I've been reading lately and from writing. I loved reading about the gods and goddess of Ancient Greece as teenagers. They acted a little like teenagers but they are much older. They've been teens for 500 years.

Hera of course is supposed to be with Zeus so she is understandably threatened when he pays attention to Zoe. She is a first class b****. She knows how to make a dig sound like a compliment and Zoe in her unconventional clothes and awkwardness is a perfect target. The other gods and goddesses are no better following Hera, they snub her.

Zeus is not the Zeus we are used to reading about and Zoe is aware of that. She keeps picturing the older Zeus with his anger and his lightning bolt. She conveniently forgets his dalliances with other women, but Hera alludes to the fact that she's not the first girl he's toyed with.

Yes, you have to throw out all your old preconceived notions of the gods and goddesses. There are a few surprises. And the ending definitely makes me wonder how it will affect the world of Ancient Greece and the mythology we've grown up with.
I can see a lot of problems in store for Zoe and Zeus with the next novel.

Overall, it was an enjoyable break from more intense novels I've been reading. The writing was easy to read, not loaded down with descriptions and every time Zoe started to feel sorry for herself, she stopped, so she was likable as a character. Zeus, not so much to me. I can't forget who he is in the mythology that I've grown up with so he's got all that against him. And his back and forth with Zoe was heartless considering she was friendless. I hated the other gods and goddesses. But there was a cute nymph, Creusa that I liked and could prove to be helpful in the future. I guess the ending was a little predictable in that I knew whatever happened the main characters survived. This is a trilogy.
I think YA lovers that don't mind a totally different view of the gods and goddesses would enjoy this novel. And anyone looking for a light read, this would be good. Yeah, there's insta love, but come on, he's a Greek god!

Heather ( )
  hrose2931 | Nov 20, 2011 |
http://sarahliveslovesreads.blogspot.com

What would you do if you suddenly found yourself stranded in the past, with no cell phone coverage, facebook, or twitter? That's the problem Zoe Calder has found herself in. While on a dig in Greece, with her Aunt and Uncle, Zoe wanders into a restricted area and winds up in ancient Greece. Far from home and completely unsure of how to get back, she sets off in hopes of finding someone who can help her. With the help of a new nymph friend, Zoe discovers some things about herself she could have never imagined and takes off on a journey to find a way to make it home.

She ends up on Mount Olympus with all of the Greek gods and it's not quite the awesome experience you would imagine. The gods think she is the enemy, because they don't know where she's come from or how she is able to do what she can do. Then there is also the matter of the jealous goddess, who isn't too happy that Zoe has taken to the god that she wants for herself. If there is one thing you don't want on Mount Olympus, it's to be on the bad side of one of the goddesses.

This is a cute, fun read with some adventure thrown in. And a cute boy, of course. It was a bit of a slow starter for me, but once it got going it was a quick read. I love reimaginations of Greek mythology and this was fun new one to add to the list. I even liked all the references to technology and media, because it seems like no one wants to survive without a smart phone or twitter anymore. The ending was tied up enough that you feel like the story was complete, but there is definitely more you want to learn about our main characters. This is the first in a trilogy, so we will get to see their future after all :0) ( )
  TheBookLife | Nov 19, 2011 |
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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. 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...… (more)

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