“The Divinus” by Casey Paxton“The Divinus” by Casey Paxton https://www.readerviewskids.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/TheDivinus-175x265.jpg 175 265 Reader Views Kids Reader Views Kids https://www.readerviewskids.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/TheDivinus-175x265.jpg
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Independently Published (2020)
Reviewed by Megan Weiss for Reader Views (07/2023)
In “The Divinus: Book One” by Casey Paxton, Willow Harris thinks that her biggest problems are her alcoholic father, high school drama, and how she is going to make her next meal out of her family’s alarmingly bare cupboards. As it turns out, however, she is about to face much bigger problems, not just life and death problems, but the death of the whole world problems. She had been receiving mysterious books from an unknown sender since her fourteenth birthday a few years ago. The books, which tell stories of mythical gods, monsters, and battles between good and evil forces, have been one of the only things that keep her hoping that maybe someday her life will not always feel so trapped and suffocated. Then, strange things start happening. First, an otherworldly creature burns down her house and tries to kill her. Then, she somehow comes face to face with the same three characters she had been reading about. Lastly, she learns that she is a descendant of not just one powerful god, but two. As a result, she has a special power that allows her to see the mortal realm, the godly realm, and the underworld all at the same time. Somehow, the fate of the realms has fallen upon her shoulders.
“The Divinus” was a fun read. I have enjoyed reading the “Percy Jackson” series and subsequent spin-offs since I was a sophomore in high school. Paxton’s book contains a lot of the elements that made those so enjoyable. The three other main characters are quirky but passionate, and fiercely loyal to each other. The life-and-death battles with monsters, outlandish puzzles presented to them by the gods, and a possible oncoming apocalypse are offset by a steady stream of charming humor. Willow is a likable narrator, and I liked how the keys to understanding how to use her power were dependent on her coming to terms with some of the things from her past that have haunted her for years. Being able to understand one’s emotions becomes a vital strategy in figuring out what steps to take next, and this is reflected over and over in the book. This creates a base for an audience to identify with the characters and feel like maybe understanding their own emotions might help them in their lives, too. We cannot change our pasts, but we can change how we let it affect our futures.
I did wonder, however, if “The Divinus” might have been a little too much like “Percy Jackson.” The subject matter is geared a little more toward older teens I think, instead of Riordan’s typical middle-grade audience, but the way the characters were built, the “quest” they are on, and the interactions with the gods were quite similar. I thought the god Malum, for example, seemed a lot like Loki from the “Magnus Chase” trilogy.
Over time, I did really enjoy reading “The Divinus: Book One” by Casey Paxton. As the author’s writing continues to grow and the story deepens, I will be interested to see if some of these similarities that concerned me start to become less apparent. I would definitely recommend it to any teen readers or “Percy Jackson” fans!
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