Book #22

The Shield of Nike by A.P. Mobley

Valeria is in love with her best friend, Greg, and has been for years. But they can’t be together, because after they graduate high school they’ll be on opposite sides of the country. This seems to be Valeria’s greatest dilemma—until a freak storm ambushes the two on a hike a few miles outside their town. 
During the storm, Greg is injured, and a strange shield falls from the sky and knocks Valeria unconscious. When she wakes up, her whole world is turned upside down. Greg is missing, her town has been annihilated, deadly creatures roam, and the disembodied voice of a woman she knows nothing of talks to her from inside her own head. 
The woman says Greg has been taken, but that Valeria can save him and survive the perils awaiting her if she harnesses the “gifts” she was given at birth, and if she uses the shield that fell from the sky. But how can Valeria trust a woman she’s never met? 
She'll have to rely on herself and face horrors she could never have imagined to save her best friend. And, in the process, discover her true identity. 

Last year I read the first instalment of the War on the Gods series, The Helm of Darkness, and loved it. I was delighted when Mobley got in touch again to ask me to review the companion novel, The Shield of Nike.

It’s a gorgeous little insight into the storm we experienced in Helm, and I enjoyed the idea that more people were affected by it than we initially realised. It’s a difficult task to talk about this one without spoiling anything; it’s so short and fast-paced that it’s pretty much impossible to do so.

As with Helm, I loved that our world and that of the Greek gods collided together with confusion, malice, and love. Mobley honourably personifies these mythical beings, and it’s utterly glorious. Our protagonist’s ultimate acceptance of her powers, and her birthright, was wonderfully written. I think demigod is my new favourite word.

The action scenes were a perfect blend of intensity and speed. Nothing riles me more than a convoluted fight, so for our protagonist to polish off these mythical monsters efficiently was a big tick for me. I was far more interested into Mobley’s narrative on the monsters’ appearances and origin. I’ve also always wanted to be the owner of a terrifying two-headed dog; reading about them seems to be my only alternative.

It was wonderful, but really lacking in length. A lot more could have been done with characterisation here, and I do think it could be padded out a bit more. There is, of course, the possibility that this is all part of Mobley’s grand plan, and that this story is a mere cog in the War on the Gods machine - which I imagine is the case. With that said, I found the way the story ended to be horribly intriguing - I’m completely and desperately anxious to find out more.

Many thanks to Mobley again for asking me to read this - please never stop asking me!