“You are of the Pantheon. You will be loved. You will be hated. You will be brilliant. Within two years, you will be dead.”
Human history is rife with tales of gods and their miraculous deeds, from the sultry Aphrodite to the wise Odin, every culture that has popped up on this big blue marble has chanted their gods names and whispered their stories to their children. However, these ancient myths are still kicking even in the twenty-first century, with such notable examples as the revival of Marvel’s take on the Norse god Thor in the Avenger’s series. Let’s keep this worship train rolling and take a look at an intriguing new take on the myths of old. Today, we’re answering the question: Should You Read: The Wicked + The Divine?
The premise is relatively straightforward: every ninety years, a pantheon of twelve gods are reincarnated into the bodies of unsuspecting humans through an event known as the Recurrence. From there, they are given two years to accomplish a single task: to inspire the people of the world in whatever ways they can. After their two years are up, they die. Naturally, due to their stints of godhood being so short, each Pantheon tends to assume roles that are particularly influential for a given generation in order to best inspire the masses. What could possibly be more inspiring for the mortals of 2014 than for their gods to resemble the dazzling, enigmatic star studded pop stars we all worship and despise?
The story follows Laura, a rebellious eighteen year-old from London who is ordinary in every sense of the word; she fails to be understood by her parents, struggles to forge her own identity and, more than anything, she wants to be special. As a fervent super-fan of the newest Pantheon, Laura wishes for nothing more from her dull life than to rejoice in their presence, intoxicated by their inspiring messages.
After a chance meeting with Lucifer herself (or, Luci, as she prefers), Laura is inadvertently thrust into a world of supernatural drama and politics that she is ill-equipped to handle. As the mortal companion, or plaything for some, Laura is the outsider looking in. While she becomes actively involved in the affairs of the Pantheon, it never truly feels like she holds any sway over their actions. She offers a very human perspective into the chaotic world of the newly ordained gods.
Laura’s devotion to the Pantheon also serves as an example of how pop stars are glorified in modern society and the danger of blurring the line between passionate fandom and religious worship. This point is further driven home by having the Pantheon aesthetically resemble several larger-than-life real-world personalities that most readers are likely to recognize (e.g. Kanye West, Rihanna, David Bowie, etc.), making these over the top characters seem familiar and real.
Each member of the Pantheon has their own unique message to share when it comes to accomplishing their overall goal to “inspire” the masses. We are frequently reminded that while the stars are literal gods, they are still very human and they behave as such: petty revenge on a jealous ex-lover, struggling for their art to be understood, and coming to terms with their very un-godlike mortality reveals the true nature behind the godly personas that have been built up in the public eye. In these vulnerable scenes, the gods themselves feel like real people one can relate to, after all it was not long ago that they were indeed human. Yes, they’re gods, but they are tormented by their divine status and need to be desired by all. What else is the purpose of a god than to be worshiped? If not, then what is the need for a god?
So, the question is: Should You Read: The Wicked + The Divine? From sex scandals and drug addiction to infighting and murder, many of the events that take place are reminiscent of real-world celebrity tabloid headlines that draw us in and leave us wanting more. The Wicked + The Divine is a new take on old classics, if we may call religious figures “classics”, but provides an intriguing insight into the society we live in today. These gods are fresh, fabulous, and fucked up. Get on your knees and worship. This one is worth the read.