When Elliot wished on a star to save his mum, he didn’t expect a constellation to crash into his dungheap. He certainly didn’t expect to spend his day releasing Thanatos, the evil Daemon of Death. They need the noble King of the Gods and his wondrous steed! …they get a chubby Zeus, and his high horse Pegasus. They’re going to need a lot more if they’re going to save the world.
This book was Waterstones’ Children’s Book of the Month, and I am so happy I picked it up! It was a really cheery, funny little children’s read.
I thought that the topics discussed in the novel were actually quite adult for being a children’s novel. For example: Elliot is a young carer for his mum, who (I think) has a degenerative disease like early onset Alzheimer’s. Elliot’s house is about to be repossessed by the bank and/or sold to the interfering and really horrible next door neighbour. He experiences some really real, and really horrible, things throughout the novel, but his love for his mother was so sweet and heartbreaking I was nearly in tears.
On the flip side, some of the book was really rather ridiculous; such as a scene with our dear monarch! It did make me roll my eyes, but I am clearly not the intended audience and I can just picture little kids giggling hysterically at that particular scene. The book also ended on a well-that-cleared-that-up ending, which again was expected in a children’s book. However, it is a series! I would really like to read the second when it comes out.
The dual plot was a really nice add in. I think that a surprisingly amount of kids will (sadly?) be able to relate to Elliot’s plot line with his mum and interfering neighbours, but the fantastical story line really distances. However, as weird as the latter line is, it actually makes a lot of sense; Evans really made it proper magical realism! (Even using road works, for goodness’ sake.)
I really loved the characters in the book. They were quite caricaturish, but that’s also what made them great! There was a scene where Pegasus was curled up reading Black Beauty that I particularly loved (it being one of my favourite books and one of my favourite mythical personas and all!) and I thought that they were really rather 3D once you carried on reading (for example, Zeus seems to be a complete caricature, but I actually really loved him as we went on). Evans’ take on the gods was really hilarious.
The myths packed into this really rather short novel were also brilliant! I feel like this would be a great book for a primary school class learning about Ancient Greek mythology to read. The updatedness of the myths was also hilarious, like Hermes drinking coffee in “Cafe Hero” using his iGod. (Oh yes, the puns were fabulous.)
Little things, aesthetically, also made the book so appealing – like little Pegasus trotting along at the bottom of each page, and having the endings sprayed orange with a lightning bolt on it. Chicken House has obviously worked really hard on this book, and it’s played off.
So all in all, I really enjoyed this book. At times, it seemed a little childish (hence, on Goodreads my original rating was 3* – I quickly amended it to 4* because…) but it also has some really rather mature story lines, like being a young carer. I thought that this was handled so well by Evans, and really empathetically. I’m interested to see where it goes next, and would definitely recommend this novel.
(Also, the title is frickin’ awesome.)
TITLE: Who Let The Gods Out
AUTHOR: Maz Evans
GENRE: Children’s Magical realism
PUBLISHER//YEAR OF PUBLICATION: Chicken House // 2017
NUMBER OF PAGES: 371
PERSONAL SOURCE: Bought from Waterstones