Gods & Lies, by Elizabeth Vail

gmzzn's review against another edition

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Gods & Lies is a fun, quick-paced murder mystery with a hint of romance, and it was a really enjoyable read. The book follows two points of views: Iris, who serves the goddess Themia, of Justice, and Andy, a demi-god who she has met before and has conflicting opinions about.

Iris is called to Wind God's Aestros' temple, after being called by Themia, to visit a crime scene. Andy, at the same time, visits after being hired by a human family, to get in touch with their daughter, Pippa Marwol. They find the corpse of Pippa, killed and changed into a bird inside Aestros' own temple, and work together to solve the mystery of who did it, and bring justice to the dead girl.

Iris and Andy are great characters - Iris follows the truth and justice, while Andy is dealing with having to do things by himself instead of messing up and being punished by his Mother -, and I felt like they complimented each other well; at first I didn't quite feel the connection between them, and I wish we could see a bit more of their past meetings, but deeper inside the book they just got so tender and caring for each other I was rooting for them at the end, even if it felt like the start of a fragile relationship, instead of a true love thing (which I do hope gets developed in a following season/book!).

For the most part the murder mystery kept me going; I was curious, and the confusing hints the characters discovered added to the desire to learn, along with them, who killed Pippa and what were their connections to the deities. It was really interesting to see how gods and goddesses were around the world so easily, fitting well in every part of how the characters interacted and lived, especially Iris, since she's a human, but I wanted to get a bit more of worldbuilding, a bit more of information on how the worship came to be, how normal people (outside of Iris' job as a Justix, outside of Andy's personal issues) dealt with all that.

The ending wasn't as satisfying as I hoped for, but it did make me more excited for a possible sequel/next season, so I hope we get more of Iris and Andy's relationship and all that!!! I really enjoyed reading it.

(received a free digital copy through netgalley!)

madelyn91's review against another edition

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I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Firstly, I love good retelling. Gods & Lies is exactly that. Gods and Lies is an urban retelling where the gods of old are still alive and well and people go out of their way to gain their favor. Gods and Lies does a lot with little. It is a fast-paced mythical murder mystery with lovable characters, Iris & Andy.

You wouldn't think that ritualist murder, Gods and Demigods, and romance go well together but Gods & Lies it did well. I didn't see the ending coming which is a huge plus for me. If you are looking for a fun, well-written, quick-read, Gods & Lies is a great choice. Would recommend!

zoes_human's review

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If you enjoy the snark of formula fiction rooted in the interplay between a friendly, roguish archetype and an abrasive cop on the scene, then this may well suit you. I, however, find it tiresome. The characters are two-dimensional and, typically in these types of stories, do not evolve. The mystery portion doesn't particularly intrigue me and solving it appears to be a matter of talking to other stock characters.

justjaqueline's review against another edition

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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for sending this to me!

First of all, this book reads like a tv series which is uh, amazing?
The style keeps you engaged with the story, which is very fast-paced and action-filled - just an heads-up for whoever's looking for characters driven stories, really.
Not to say, however, that characters are not well developed. Au contraire, we get a backstory and motivations for both of our protagonists, without having to sit trough exposition. We also get notions about the world in this "show, don't tell" way, which feels natural and doesn't slow the plot down at all.
I could do without the inkling of romance (which is minimal, really), but that's just me.
Hope to see more things set in this universe!

bookishjaybird's review against another edition

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adventurous funny mysterious tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? N/A
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No


I was pleasantly surprised by this! I started it initially and read a few pages and didn’t think I’d be a fan so I set it down for a few months but ended up picking it up against and finishing it in 3 days. 

It was a fun mystery, even if that may not be the right word, and I loved the world and pantheon building. I wish we had gotten more pantheon building or more background on them at least, especially the situation with Iris and the sun god! 

The only issue I had was the set up I think as far as the whole Episode 1, 2, etc but I got used too it after a while. Other than that, such such a good book and cannot wait for “season 2.”!

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dbguide2's review

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adventurous funny mysterious fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


 I absolutely loved this book – actually looked just now to Amazon and Goodreads to see when the second book is coming out, couldn’t find anything, so I went to the author’s website. Apparently it’s available as an audio fiction podcast which I’m excited about! Now I can reread the first season (I suppose I could call it that?) before I listen to the second one. 
The story is filled with action and quite a bit of humour, which I very much enjoyed. There’s mythology in, and honestly anything mythology is always going to get my attention – I’m just glad that it was well-written too. Iris and Andy were two fun characters to read, especially Andy. I feel like they played off of each other well and that they paired well with each other too. 

kaa's review against another edition

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Gods & Lies is a quick, fast-paced urban fantasy/mystery. I really enjoyed the world-building, but wasn't as much of a fan of the mystery or the developing romance. I'll consider reading the next season of the series, which finished recently.

I generally like secondary-world urban fantasy better than urban fantasy set in variations of our own world, and I really like what Vail has done with the development of her setting here. This was the best part of the book for me. The pantheon seems pretty clearly based on Greek and Roman gods, but with some interesting twists (I loved the idea of the Threemothers, for instance). Partially because of similarities to our world, it was pretty easy to grasp how things worked and what the rules were, generally. I felt the author was successful in creating a cohesive system of gods, humans, and other entities, and then examining the conflicts that might arise out of that system as it changed over time. I enjoyed the way those conflicts were used to support the main plot of the story.

Where I had more trouble was the plot itself. While I had fun racing around with Iris and Andy to try to solve the mystery, I found the actual solution predictable and disappointing. This was somewhat ameliorated because of other aspects of the resolution that I enjoyed - the way this case related back to the bigger picture of human-god relations, in particular - but at the moment of the big reveal I was seriously considering giving the book only 2 stars. Additionally, I found the romance boring. Iris and Andy are fairly shallow characters, although they both do have potential, but a romance between them seemed a bit out of character and not especially supported by anything in-text beyond the fact that it might be expected of this type of story/relationship.

The writing was, on the whole, engaging and easy to read. However, there was some annoyingly exposition-heavy dialogue in the middle that I would have preferred to skipped - the information could have been introduced much more gracefully.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me an ARC of this book.

marshd2's review against another edition

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I recently received a copy of this as a Goodreads giveaway.

Overall, I really enjoyed this story. The characters were interesting and well-developed, especially for such a short story. It was a quick read and I'm looking forward to the next installment!

rbritt515's review against another edition

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Percy Jackson for grown-ups! In a world where the patronage of a god or goddess is necessary to succeed, Iris, priestess of the goddess of Justice and the disgraced demigod son of the Seamother team up to solve the murder and transmorgification of a young woman found in the temple of the wind god. A thoroughly enjoyable story exploring agency in a world where humans are expected to obey the gods. Honestly, my main complaint is that I think it could've done an even better job of really digging into that idea with a little more length. Nonetheless, a really fun read.

quirkycatsfatstacks's review against another edition

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Gods & Lies is the latest Serial Box adventure that I decided to dive into, and man was it worth it! Written by Elizabeth Vail, and narrated by a combination of Cary Hite and Sarah Mollo-Christensen, this is an iconic read (or listen, depending on what you decide to do).

Has there ever been a tale involving multiple gods where they didn't make things more difficult for their human worshipers? In this world, there are gods everywhere, and in order to survive, you generally have to pick one to primarily worship, and hope that they keep the other gods off your back.

Enter Justix Iris Tharrow. She believes in the Goddess of Justice, and it's her job to investigate human crimes and bring justice to them. It's a tough job, but it is also certainly her calling. As opposed to Andy, a demigod trying to go clean from his life of crime, and struggling to do so.

Yet thanks to a murder, these two unlikely allies are about to end up working together. It is never easy to solve a murder, a fact that could never have been more true when the gods and their faithful get in the way.

“I knew something was wrong the moment I stepped out of the car.”

Warnings: Gods & Lies does touch upon a few heavier subjects, but the larger (and more dominant) moments and themes include sacrifice and animal death.

Will I ever get sick of diving into a series full of mythology? No, I don't think I will. Gods & Lies is full to the brim of gods, goddesses, and the humans who worship them. It is without a doubt the most unique take on this world that I've ever seen, and I feel like that's saying something.

This is a world where the old gods of legend exist, yet. But there are plenty of other gods to deal with as well. The god of traffic for example, or the one that loves all things text or phone based. Any convenience humans are used to is helped (or hindered) by the gods.

It's impressive and fun, all at the same time. And that's without taking the murder mystery into account. That in itself is a whirlwind of an adventure, fitting in thriller elements into a world that should be full of magic and lore.

Iris and Andy are such unique characters with huge personalities. It took me a little while to really get (and like) both of them, but once I did, I found myself fully invested in their stories. So much so that I'm basically sitting here waiting for an announcement about season two (which I'm assuming will be a thing, but I don't actually know that for sure).

“If you can't trust a priestess of the Goddess of Justice, who can you trust?”

Gods & Lies was the shortest Serial Box series I've tried, and yet the punch didn't feel diminished at all. Actually, I almost feel like a shorter format was better suited to this experience. It was quick, fun, and easy to impulsively dive into. It fit the world quite nicely in that sense. Here's hoping that any future season sticks to that format as well.

Check out more reviews over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks