Law student Lex Trent’s world is inhabited by fearsome magicians, ageing crones and a menagerie of Gods and Goddesses. And while Lex is seemingly dedicated to his legal studies he’s always enjoyed a challenge – which is why he leads a double life as the notorious cat burglar ‘The Shadowman’ who has been (luckily) evading capture for years.
But Lex’s luck is about to run out because the Goddess of Fortune has selected him to be her player in the highly dangerous Games. Losing is not an option for Lex (particularly as it so often involves dying) but can he really win each of the perilous rounds? Given that the reward for doing so is money, fame and glory – all things that Lex is quite keen on – he’s going to do whatever it takes to make sure he will… and he’s certainly got good experience of cheating. (From Amazon.co.uk)
When I was sent this book for review I wasn’t at all sure it would be my kind of thing. It’s literally a world away from my usual girly tastes and fantasy like this isn’t something I’ve ever really read before. I wasn’t expecting to like it all that much, and admit to putting it off for a while. However I was pleasantly surprised by how readable and enjoyable I did find it.
Lex lives on an earth split into two by the gods, who inhabit the lower section, while humans and magical and mythical creatures inhabit the top section. I found it easy to get to grips with this and fascinated by this new world Alex Bell presented. She manages to give enough description so that I found it easy to imagine and believe in, without going into over detail that I might have found boring or confusing.
Seventeen-year-old Lex Trent was also very different to the characters I usually read about. He’s a cheat, a thief and completely selfish seeming to only care about himself and his quest for notoriety. I tend to enjoy characters I can relate to in some ways, and while there is nothing about Lex that I could, I still found him an intriguing and compelling character. I also felt that despite his bravado, there was something rather vulnerable about him. He constantly claims to be lucky, but to me he really wasn’t. Lex is the type of character that the phrase ‘if something can go wrong, it will’ was made for. I’m fairly certain that the author intended some irony in that he felt himself lucky by cheating his way out of scrapes, when the truth is, luck (or good sense?) would have been avoiding them altogether.
I also really liked reading the games, in which The Gods use people as players. They were filled with adventure and danger and were quite exciting. Rather than struggle through the book, I found I was really keen to find out what was going to happen and would read large chunks without even realising. I did struggle with some elements of the book, although I think that may have been down to my lack of experience in this kind of writing. I wasn’t sure if this ‘fantasy world’ was set in the future or the past as at times it could have been both, and that left me a little disconcerted (of course it could be neither and just something I didn’t get). I also thought that even though it was fantasy, some elements were less believable than others. The binding bracelet concept sounded a good one to begin with, but then often seemed to be brought up only when the author remembered, and brushed off at others.
I think Lex Trent Versus The Gods is a fast and action packed adventure, and while I can’t compare it to other novels of this genre, I quite enjoyed reading. Unlike most of the books I read, this would also really appeal to teenage boys who enjoy this type of fantasy. Personally, I’m not ready to ditch my chick lit and romance, and probably won’t rush out to buy similar books, however I wouldn’t be so hesitant in future to give them a go. Stepping out of my comfort zone was a fairly enjoyable adventure after all.
Thanks to the publishers (Headline) for sending me this copy for review.