The Prey of Gods
In South Africa, the future looks promising. Personal robots are making life easier for the working class. The government is harnessing renewable energy to provide infrastructure for the poor. And in the bustling coastal town of Port Elizabeth, the economy is booming thanks to the genetic engineering industry which has found a welcome home there. Yes—the days to come are looking very good for South Africans. That is, if they can survive the present challenges:A new hallucinogenic drug sweeping the country . . .An emerging AI uprising . . .And an ancient demigoddess hellbent on regaining her former status by preying on the blood and sweat (but mostly blood) of every human she encounters.It’s up to a young Zulu girl powerful enough to destroy her entire township, a queer teen plagued with the ability to control minds, a pop diva with serious daddy issues, and a politician with even more serious mommy issues to band together to ensure there’s a future left to worry about.

The Prey of Gods Details

TitleThe Prey of Gods
Author
FormatKindle Edition
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 13th, 2017
PublisherHarper Voyager
Number of pages400 pages
Rating
GenreScience Fiction, Fantasy, Fiction, Science Fiction Fantasy

The Prey of Gods Review

  • Hannah Greendale
    June 19, 2017
    Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.Set in South Africa in the year 2064, The Prey of Gods unveils the otherworldly circumstances that draw five unusual characters together. Muzi is a teenager who just got his hands on a hallucinogenic drug that causes unorthodox side effects. Nomvula is a little girl with golden eyes and an epic secret. Stoker is a councilman by day and something entirely different by night. Riya is a world-famous pop singer Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.Set in South Africa in the year 2064, The Prey of Gods unveils the otherworldly circumstances that draw five unusual characters together. Muzi is a teenager who just got his hands on a hallucinogenic drug that causes unorthodox side effects. Nomvula is a little girl with golden eyes and an epic secret. Stoker is a councilman by day and something entirely different by night. Riya is a world-famous pop singer with tremendous daddy issues. And Sydney delights in consuming the fear that emanates from dying humans. Those old movies have become her escape from this dull excuse for an existence. She watches her television now, rapt in her hovel of an apartment as the corny, old-time music crackles through her stereo speakers. She laughs at the slapstick comedy and tries to put her crappy day at the nail salon behind her, while avoiding thoughts of the custodial overseer job she’ll go to this evening. “Please,” comes a weak voice from the man currently stretched across her coffee table, “I beg of you. Let me go.”And then there’s that distraction. Sydney’s surprised he still has the strength to speak, much less the will to live with all the hell she’s put him through – skin flayed like a tuna, legs bent at half a dozen impossible angles. She tunes his moaning out and savors the fear lapping at his skin like viscous waves breaking on the beach after an oil spill. She absorbs it – foul, thick, and dark. With wry humor and captivating plot pacing, Drayden blends science fiction, fantasy, mythology, an urban setting and paranormal entities to create an exceptional debut novel. The Prey of Gods is the perfect read for anyone in the mood for something weird, something fantastic, or something that weaves the best elements of multiple genres into one spellbinding book. -Special thanks to Harper Voyager for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • TL
    June 12, 2017
    I received this via Goodreads Giveaways in exchange for an honest review. All my opinions are my own.---Wow... one of those highly-anticipated (of mine) reads that lived up to what I was hoping it would be :).This is a crazy, weird, bizarre ride that drew me in from the first page... overused expression? *shrugs* To some maybe but for me, this was a journey I didn't want to leave for real life (Dang human body needing sleep too, how dare it?!).We get POVs from a few different characters (Nomvula I received this via Goodreads Giveaways in exchange for an honest review. All my opinions are my own.---Wow... one of those highly-anticipated (of mine) reads that lived up to what I was hoping it would be :).This is a crazy, weird, bizarre ride that drew me in from the first page... overused expression? *shrugs* To some maybe but for me, this was a journey I didn't want to leave for real life (Dang human body needing sleep too, how dare it?!).We get POVs from a few different characters (Nomvula, Sydney, Stoker, Muzi, Clever, Riya, Mr. Tau) but it never feels crowded. Each character has a part to play, how big or how small you shall see:). Clues and hints pop up along the way as we get to know everyone involved and what the world around them is like.No one character is perfect, they have their vices/flaws/beliefs what have you and some you won't like very much at the beginning. And the chapters of one may confuse you at first, but just stick with it.. it'll become clear later on.The writing in this... It was delightful and compelling. Miss Drayden blends everything beautifully, no element feels out of place, even the more... bizarre? offbeat? weird? ones. That made me love it all the more and kept wishing the book wouldn't end.At one point I wanted to kick Muzi (and on a separate note, Riya a couple times.. even though I could see her reasoning) and yet was proud of him at the same time.The way the mythology was done was very creative.. .and had me wondering which demigod power I would end up with (Possibly Dolphin... or maybe the crab). That could have been a whole book in itself in my opinion.The ending... had my hope going for everyone involved, and a smile on my face... then, that last page. Holy Crap! I turned the next page hoping for more after that in vain :(. I want more! Will there be more? *looks to Miss Drayden hopefully*Would recommend, hope you enjoy it as much as I did :). Happy reading!
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  • Nathan
    June 12, 2017
    Nicky Drayden answered a few questions about her debut novel in this awesome Q and AThere are time when all the pieces come together. Sometimes that is because the pieces are made to be together; a dark lord chasing the orphaned farm boy and the like. But to make all the pieces come together when said pieces are a virtual grab bag of randomness takes a bit more skill. Robot uprising, pissed off demi-god, young girl with the power to naturally nuke a town, hallucinations that are real and not rea Nicky Drayden answered a few questions about her debut novel in this awesome Q and AThere are time when all the pieces come together. Sometimes that is because the pieces are made to be together; a dark lord chasing the orphaned farm boy and the like. But to make all the pieces come together when said pieces are a virtual grab bag of randomness takes a bit more skill. Robot uprising, pissed off demi-god, young girl with the power to naturally nuke a town, hallucinations that are real and not real and real again. All tied together in a neat little...oh who I am kidding, it was a glorious mess. But a glorious mess that all works out if one is really paying attention.The Prey of Gods starts with a young man worrying about the state of of his private parts and mentally cussing out the man who decided circumcision should come by ritual in the teens rather than infancy. We can go ahead and call his story the sanest plot line of the book followed by a politician with a secret wannabe pop star identity. From there all the crazy elements are introduced one by one, then moved around in a wonderful whirlwind until everything important comes together in flash bang of a conclusion. Yes I just mixed metaphors like a boss, but that is only because I wanted to get in on this crazy game.Make no mistake one would have to enjoy a health dose of weird to enjoy this book. I wish I could recommend this book with no reservations but there are still a good number of people who don't enjoy Bas Lag so obviously some will be put off by people discovering their inner sexual crab. Assuming that is you then you have permission to skip reading this review but please know you are missing out.Are all the boring people gone?Cool. Beyond the weird The Prey of Gods is a book that has a whole lot to say but makes the reader work to decide what exactly that is. In a near future where things generally seem to be getting better there is a bit of optimism. Yet a pissed off ancient demi-goddess threatens to tear it all down; a decidedly fatalistic look at was an optimistic future. Another character goes from young innocent to monster before possibly making the turn back. Hell the entire pop star's story-line had enough going for it to be its own contemporary novel (minus the mystic drug dealer, perhaps). I suppose the real question is how many times in a year I can call different books 'debut of the year' and get away with it (by my count this might be the third). The Prey of Gods has the depth, excitement and action, and just enough humor to make up for its apocalyptic body count. Each character's point of view feels unique and not one character of the diverse cast feels unneeded. It may requiring altering ones mind to accommodate the insane set up but the payoff is worth it in the end.Another highly anticipated debut that didn't disappoint. 4 Stars Copy for review provided by publisher.
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  • Anya
    April 23, 2017
    Absolutely fantastic, most imaginative and refreshing sci-fi I've read in years. The beginning was a little rocky, but don't let the circumcision scare you away ;). Things are just getting started and I can't wait to find out more about these Demi-gods hidden in plain sight and the drug that brings out all of our secret powers! Awesome blend of scifi and fantasy!Also sweet m/m romance :D
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  • Book Riot Community
    March 29, 2017
    Go read the first chapter of The Prey of Gods, which is up on Drayden’s website. I’ll wait here. Okay, you’re back. What did you think? Wild, right? When’s the last time you read a chapter that ended with a crab and a dolphin having sex? And believe me: the rest of the chapters (the next one features a robot coming to consciousness watching that cross-species sex scene, FYI) keep the surprises coming. Set in South Africa, The Prey of Gods is an imaginative, raucous, queer-as-hell adventure where Go read the first chapter of The Prey of Gods, which is up on Drayden’s website. I’ll wait here. Okay, you’re back. What did you think? Wild, right? When’s the last time you read a chapter that ended with a crab and a dolphin having sex? And believe me: the rest of the chapters (the next one features a robot coming to consciousness watching that cross-species sex scene, FYI) keep the surprises coming. Set in South Africa, The Prey of Gods is an imaginative, raucous, queer-as-hell adventure where each turn is unexpected but utterly delightful. It’s part urban fantasy with gods (think Gaiman’s American Gods or Wigmore’s The Wind City) and part robot uprising (think Westworld or Terminator). There are demigods expanding their powers, a new club drug giving humans a taste of their own divinity, robots coming to consciousness, a trans politician-turned-diva, a pop star with MS, queer teens, and more.— Derek Attigfrom The Best Books We Read In January 2017: http://bookriot.com/2017/02/01/riot-r...
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  • Jenna Friebel
    January 11, 2017
    YESSSS this book was awesome. Robots and demigods and awesome diverse characters. I devoured this and had so much fun reading it.
  • Jessica Woodbury
    May 28, 2017
    Even if you are not a huge sci-fi reader, I think The Prey of Gods is worth a try. I don't read a lot of sci-fi because I get kind of tired of the same tropes, but hardly anything in this book is something you've read before. It feels like a different kind of sci-fi novel in that way that sometimes a new sci-fi movie will make me feel invigorated. There are probably a couple too many pieces here. Overall it ended up for me at 3.5 stars due to a rather bogged-down third act, but I round up for en Even if you are not a huge sci-fi reader, I think The Prey of Gods is worth a try. I don't read a lot of sci-fi because I get kind of tired of the same tropes, but hardly anything in this book is something you've read before. It feels like a different kind of sci-fi novel in that way that sometimes a new sci-fi movie will make me feel invigorated. There are probably a couple too many pieces here. Overall it ended up for me at 3.5 stars due to a rather bogged-down third act, but I round up for enthusiasm and creativity because those things were there in spades. I would very much like Nicky Drayden to write more books and to see what else comes out of this brain of hers.The hype around this book exists for a reason, and you'll only get a few pages in before you know what I'm talking about.
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  • Allison
    March 8, 2017
    HA omg. This was .... explosive? Awesome? Yeah, I hate comparing this to Nnedi Okorafor because Drayden has a distinct voice, but this DID remind me a bit of Lagoon, except with robots + ancient gods + hallucinogens, and set in South Africa instead of Lagos.Longer review later, but I'm not typically a Voyager fan, and this was truly amazing. Been looking forward to this for a looooooooooong time and so happy it didn't disappoint.
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  • Jessica
    January 21, 2017
    Read this book on the plane AND IT WAS EVERYTHING!!!!!!!
  • Martha
    June 20, 2017
    Holy moses. This was the most fun I've had reading in a very, very long time -- staring at my Kindle grinning is something I really don't do very often, and it basically never happens for the length of an entire book. It happened with The Prey of Gods, tho, because it's freaking AMAZING. I'm not even going to try to summarize it, but: there are sentient robots, lots of gods dealing with very human issues, the odd tree person, and a lot of pop music. Oh, and also a little bit of inter-dimensional Holy moses. This was the most fun I've had reading in a very, very long time -- staring at my Kindle grinning is something I really don't do very often, and it basically never happens for the length of an entire book. It happened with The Prey of Gods, tho, because it's freaking AMAZING. I'm not even going to try to summarize it, but: there are sentient robots, lots of gods dealing with very human issues, the odd tree person, and a lot of pop music. Oh, and also a little bit of inter-dimensional travel. You know, just for good measure. Just ... go with it, ok? I promise, it'll be worth it.
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  • Dave-Brendon Burgh
    June 13, 2017
    What grabbed my attention from the beginning was how well Nicky handled the balance between excellent characterization and inventive world building. Character-wise, you're going to meet wildly different folks, from wildly different backgrounds, all exuberantly-chillingly-sympathetically written, all having their own unique 'voice' and their own very important place in the tale. You'll meet a teenager on the cusp of what will probably seem to you to be an incredibly weird manhood ritual, a nail t What grabbed my attention from the beginning was how well Nicky handled the balance between excellent characterization and inventive world building. Character-wise, you're going to meet wildly different folks, from wildly different backgrounds, all exuberantly-chillingly-sympathetically written, all having their own unique 'voice' and their own very important place in the tale. You'll meet a teenager on the cusp of what will probably seem to you to be an incredibly weird manhood ritual, a nail technician working in a beauty parlour with a dangerous and awesome secret, a little girl living in a township, a councilman forced to play two roles and really only enjoying one, a pop star on the verge of a breakdown, and a couple of nifty personal robots. These are the main players, and some of their connections won't be immediately apparent, while others are connected by a very strange drug. What they do, and how they interact, is the meat of the story (as it should be), and Nicky brings them all to vivid life.In terms of world building, I discovered a South Africa (or Azania, which could actually be damned cool, should that realize; but has no bearing on the novel) which easily overshadows the South Africa Lauren Beukes revealed in Moxyland. In Nicky's SA, for example, you've got personal-assistant robots and genetically engineered and extremely cute pests - you'll have to discover the rest. The SA of Nicky's imagination has moved past all the trouble we're currently having and, though not perfect, is suffused with hope and a still vulnerable trust; the cyberpunk aspects of this book are bright and beautiful and crazy and exciting, though that keen edge of danger and darkness can be sensed glinting between the details. But there are also aspects of Fantasy to this read, and those aspects have an abiding mythic feel, as if we've been given a glimpse of a world of gods and motivations we hadn't even guessed could exist.But there aren't only wonderfully captivating characters and excellent world building in this book - there's heart, humor, empathy, beauty and ugliness, too. And the action scenes are almost Manga-esque in the crazy-cool epicness. That robot and that little girl? You won't believe what they're capable of - and I mean 'won't believe' in terms of, "Oh, wow. Oh WOW."All in all, Nicky has created not only a world I would love to read an entire saga in, but characters who feel both known and excitingly unique - if this book doesn't completely capture you and leave you feeling a combination of excitement and utter exhaustion, then you really should dig up a mad scientist and get him to bring you back to life. At the very least, I'm pretty confident that you'll agree with me that it's a cool, wild, awesome ride.'The Prey of Gods' was absolutely brilliant. Read it!
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  • Megan Lyons
    May 4, 2017
    3 1/2 stars. This was one of the stranger books I've read, which, if I'm being honest is the reason I requested it. The strange description of disparate elements intrigued me. It could have ended up a messy experimental disaster, but it actually worked fairly well. The disparate elements fit together quite seamlessly. It was an action packed book, but I feel like the author did deal with some social issues throughout. There was an interesting juxtaposition between futuristic technology and easy, 3 1/2 stars. This was one of the stranger books I've read, which, if I'm being honest is the reason I requested it. The strange description of disparate elements intrigued me. It could have ended up a messy experimental disaster, but it actually worked fairly well. The disparate elements fit together quite seamlessly. It was an action packed book, but I feel like the author did deal with some social issues throughout. There was an interesting juxtaposition between futuristic technology and easy, middle class lives, against a much poorer area in which the people's basic needs were barely met. Artificial Intelligence was contrasted with oral storytelling. One character in particular felt like a microcosm of society as a whole. Can people, or countries, really move fast past atrocities, or are they forever tainted? The discrimination and second class status of the robots are in some ways mirroring South Africa's past. There was a huge amount of diversity in the cast. There were queer characters, a trans-gendered character and a character with multiple sclerosis. Good characters did terrible things, which is refreshing, though the villain was perhaps a little too villainous. I think she was supposed to be over the top (she reminded me of Gory from season 5 of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"), and there were times that I did sympathize with her, but only for a moment or two. I wish she had been a little more grey. This may be a bit too weird for some people; it starts with the teen protagonist talking about having a ritualistic circumcision, and then taking drugs and having sex with his best friend while they are in the guise of a crab and a dolphin. It will definitely not be for everyone, but for adventurous readers looking for something new and different, I think it will have appeal. Also, I am super nerdy, and a conversationalist and translated some of the computer code (it's in ASCII) so I could see what the computer was thinking, "I think therefore I am". :P*I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books and Music in exchange for an honest review*
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  • Tonya
    June 13, 2017
    First I have to say I was given a copy of this book to read by Harper Voyager because I am a SuperReader!Alright, let’s get to it – I went back and forth from not liking this book, to finding it funny, to liking it, to not really sure what I was reading. The thing is I don’t want to be too critical of this book because I think Nicky Drayden has a lot of potential as a writer. She is witty and very creative. I mean the entire idea of the book – gods and robots set in futuristic South Africa – is First I have to say I was given a copy of this book to read by Harper Voyager because I am a SuperReader!Alright, let’s get to it – I went back and forth from not liking this book, to finding it funny, to liking it, to not really sure what I was reading. The thing is I don’t want to be too critical of this book because I think Nicky Drayden has a lot of potential as a writer. She is witty and very creative. I mean the entire idea of the book – gods and robots set in futuristic South Africa – is really cool. And she writes strong female leads which I love. In fact, the girls rang strong in this book, while the men, yeah not so much. And Drayden is funny. I actually laughed out loud a few times. It’s a wicked sense of humor that you just have to go with. If you don’t get dark, you will not get this book. The thing is dear reader, I want you to go out and buy this book and read it. And I don’t want my negative comments to put you off. I think a lot of people are going to dig this book. Overall I could not get into it because of some writing flaws. So take my criticisms as what it is – my opinion only.The book felt way to fast. Like she was skipping parts. Hurried, rushed. I would have loved to have had more information on each character. Really take her time and dig in. I wanted the book to be longer. I wanted more details. Sometimes I felt like I had stepped into a living room and someone was on the last part of the story they were telling. Wait, what? Go back. There was also a lot of Deus ex machina. Suddenly there was a broom and all was solved. I wanted more stress and I wanted the characters to stop finding the rope in the corner so they could swing themselves out of the corner they had just painted themselves into.I did not care for the male characters. Muzi, who is a main character, is way to fixated on his penis. I was hoping there might be a point to it. Okay, manhood thing and all, but really. Not picking it up. Ha! His story was the romance in the novel and I just didn’t feel it. Of course they are teenagers and that love is well full of aghast. Elkin, his love interest reminded me to much of Spicoli. All the kids wanted to do was make out and smoke weed. I know there are those of you saying to me right now – is that such a bad thing? The other male character was a cross-dressing politician. This story felt short. There was so many holes. His mother was kind of thrown in there and then all the sudden she had this major plot twist and then poof, it was gone. But I’m not sure what the cross-dressing had to do with the plot beside the fact the alter-ego was funny as hell. But I needed more. More please.Now let’s get to what she does well – strong female characters. Nomvula was your main character and I really liked her spunk. You could tell you were inside the head of a little girl but a fierce one at that. Her story line was simple yet made sense. All this little girl really wanted was a mother. A family. And that came through loud and clear. Sydney, the bad girl, was funny. But I never really figured out what she wanted. Total power? More gods? Kill the world? To fit into a sequined dress? I got lost somewhere with Sydney and the dik diks. And I clearly missed something because there was something about spreading a disease through the animals but I never caught back up to it. The other female lead was Riya, once again funny and this was a character looking for love. Looking for a family. Searching to find herself, trying not to be controlled by a man, finding her independence. This was a good story line. Oh and the robots – well they were just way cool. I would have liked it to be a bit longer with their story line as well. Hopefully in the second book. So what can I say, to me the book has too many flaws, BUT I’m hoping they fix that in the second. I do encourage you to read this. She’s got talent. Drayden just needs more time to hone her skills and then I think we’ve got a great female sci-fi writer on our hands.
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  • Olivia
    June 28, 2017
    Trigger Warnings Below!Non spoilery/general TW: Drugs, Sex, Violence Potential spoilers: (view spoiler)[Circumcision, Rape, Gore, Self Harm, Misgendering, Implied Sexual Abuse of a Child, Child Abuse/Neglect, Death (hide spoiler)]The Prey of Gods deserves ALL the hype! It’s a rollercoaster through genres, emotions, and unique, realistic characters. The surreal meets with the bizarre in an explosion of action, hilarity, heartbreak, affirmation, and excitement. Accelerating alarmingly fast, the pa Trigger Warnings Below!Non spoilery/general TW: Drugs, Sex, Violence Potential spoilers: (view spoiler)[Circumcision, Rape, Gore, Self Harm, Misgendering, Implied Sexual Abuse of a Child, Child Abuse/Neglect, Death (hide spoiler)]The Prey of Gods deserves ALL the hype! It’s a rollercoaster through genres, emotions, and unique, realistic characters. The surreal meets with the bizarre in an explosion of action, hilarity, heartbreak, affirmation, and excitement. Accelerating alarmingly fast, the pace is quick and heart-pounding with each turn of the page until you feel like you’re heading straight towards a disaster and WAM! Climax! Falling action! Possible hook for a sequel!Worth noting is Drayden’s fantastic use of voice. Each chapter is told from one of six different main characters, and even if Drayden hadn’t listed whose perspective it was being told through at the beginning of the chapter, the reader can tell the characters’ unique voices apart. Personality-wise, each character is likable in their own way, with understandable motivations and flaws. Side characters are not excluded! All characters feel real, with fathomable reactions to the fantastic. Mixed in with daring twists and unexpected turns are beautifully ordinary details, like the mural on Muzi’s wall or Sydney noting that her boss’ coffee always tastes faintly of acetone. With everything that’s happening, tidbits like these add so much depth and realism to the story. As outlandish as certain aspects of The Prey of Gods is, it still feels true, as if it could be happening before your very eyes.Nicky Drayden’s debut novel is everything you never knew you needed in a book. I am beyond grateful for stumbling upon the first chapter on her blog, which led to me preordering it that day and becoming a part of her launch team, which in turn led to my local library obtaining a copy for the public. The Prey of Gods is the perfect, trippy summer read, and I cannot praise it enough. Check it out today!
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  • Jackie Oakes
    June 29, 2017
    Wonderfully weird. This is a wild ride that could have fallen apart through all its twists, tangles, interactions, subplots, and worldbuilding, but it doesn't. Instead, it works surprisingly well. It comes together in a really satisfying way that says that we've moved out of disaster mode, but the world is far from perfect and may never be. This book has battles for power through belief (reminiscent of American Gods), sentient robots, powerful lgbt and poc representation, flying little girls, to Wonderfully weird. This is a wild ride that could have fallen apart through all its twists, tangles, interactions, subplots, and worldbuilding, but it doesn't. Instead, it works surprisingly well. It comes together in a really satisfying way that says that we've moved out of disaster mode, but the world is far from perfect and may never be. This book has battles for power through belief (reminiscent of American Gods), sentient robots, powerful lgbt and poc representation, flying little girls, tons of death and destruction, drug experimentation, family secrets, bioengineering, and attempts at keeping traditional beliefs alive in a futuristic world. I also loved the unique creation story and the mythos in general. This book really has a little bit of everything in it and while it does get a little messy, it's still an incredibly impressive debut. This was a truly fresh story and I was content to get lost in it without thinking too hard about details or looking for too much foreshadowing. I couldn't equate it to anything I've read recently, or really ever, so I never felt like I knew what was going to happen, because it could have been anything. 4.5 stars.p.s. That being said, I have a feeling this would start to fall apart under scrutiny. It doesn't seem to be 100% thought through, but on the surface it's really really really fun.
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  • S.A. Chakraborty
    June 6, 2017
    This book is so much fun. It is completely bonkers and shouldn't work, but Nicky Drayden is such a darn good writer that she manages to weave together all these distinct, fantastic voices into a book that I couldn't put down, one that made me shout in delight at nearly every other page. I loved all the characters, but Muzi won my heart first and foremost and I was rooting for him until the end. Read this; it is fantastically enjoyable and I look forward to more from this author. And perhaps even This book is so much fun. It is completely bonkers and shouldn't work, but Nicky Drayden is such a darn good writer that she manages to weave together all these distinct, fantastic voices into a book that I couldn't put down, one that made me shout in delight at nearly every other page. I loved all the characters, but Muzi won my heart first and foremost and I was rooting for him until the end. Read this; it is fantastically enjoyable and I look forward to more from this author. And perhaps even this same world again, hint hint!
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  • Jon
    June 8, 2017
    Nicky Drayden's debut is basically Neil Gaiman meets Christopher Moore. Yes, really. I had to think about it because I kept getting flashes of Moore, but this wasn't the Joke-A-Minute of Chris, even though Nicky definitely has his sense of humor. But it's more...I don't know, not subtle because you'll definitely laugh out loud, but with more heart. Thus Gaiman, because she's a little darker like him, but funnier. Think Anansi Boys or Coyote Blue. Religion meets science in a kind of Douglas Adams Nicky Drayden's debut is basically Neil Gaiman meets Christopher Moore. Yes, really. I had to think about it because I kept getting flashes of Moore, but this wasn't the Joke-A-Minute of Chris, even though Nicky definitely has his sense of humor. But it's more...I don't know, not subtle because you'll definitely laugh out loud, but with more heart. Thus Gaiman, because she's a little darker like him, but funnier. Think Anansi Boys or Coyote Blue. Religion meets science in a kind of Douglas Adams-y way.Anyhow, all I know is when Muzi went full 380 (you'll understand when you get there) I pumped my fist in the air and yelled "YES!!!" and permanently added Drayden to my favorites list. This lady is going places. Thanks to Harper Voyager for the eARC in return for an honest review, because honestly this book kicked ass.
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  • Princess
    June 29, 2017
    Original and crazy -- and above all, done so well. We get exciting action of demigods fighting and wonderfully-drawn characters. There are a lot of characters and POVs, which I don't usually like, but the author did a wildly impressive job of crafting this novel.Top-notch writing, characters, action, and world-building.
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  • Melissa
    June 24, 2017
    This book is completely bananapants. It's like American Gods had a baby with Batteries Not Included that crash-landed in District 9. The Prey of Gods is a wild, enjoyable brain-bender of a story, perfect for summer reading.
  • Lynn Williams
    June 7, 2017
    This was so good, so original and so damned crazy - full review to follow
  • Coolcurry
    June 19, 2017
    Review pending.
  • Larisa
    June 20, 2017
    I just heard a glowing review of this book on a podcast I listen to and thought, "Oooh, I wanna read that." Then I come here and see Nicky's picture and realize HEY! I know her!! She used to be in a book club I'm in, but I didn't recognize her pen name. Well, of course, now I have to read it.
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  • Amanda
    June 15, 2017
    I've had Prey of the Gods on my to-read shelf for months, but nothing could have prepared me for it. It is an absolutely wild ride, and things get a little freakier than even I could have expected. It's a testament to Nicky Drayden's skill that it all still works together. We get sentient servant robots, DNA altering drugs, gods and demigods in a futuristic setting, kids with powerful abilities, and yet none of it feels shoehorned in. Drayden also writes GREAT characters. Muzi, who is a teenage I've had Prey of the Gods on my to-read shelf for months, but nothing could have prepared me for it. It is an absolutely wild ride, and things get a little freakier than even I could have expected. It's a testament to Nicky Drayden's skill that it all still works together. We get sentient servant robots, DNA altering drugs, gods and demigods in a futuristic setting, kids with powerful abilities, and yet none of it feels shoehorned in. Drayden also writes GREAT characters. Muzi, who is a teenage boy trying not to disappoint his traditional grandfather while being in love with his best mate and maybe developing superpowers. Nomvula is your average (ha!) an eleven year old girl who has gone through a lot and is also probably the daughter of a god, and sister to Sydney, who sees Nomvula as a threat to her own demigoddess status. Councilperson Stoker, who oversees the Department for Economic Affairs, Environment, and Tourism, and doesn't understand how these huge problems keep landing in their lap (you'll appreciate this reference once you read the book). These are just my favourite characters, but the book is full of entertaining personalities. Prey of the Gods is fun and fresh, and even though all loose ends are tied up by the end, I'm crossing my fingers hoping for a sequel!(view spoiler)[ I do still have a few questions about the demigods and their powers. For example, Nomvula is born of a god and a human, Stoker by a tree mother and a human (presumably?), Riya, Muzi and Elkin by two humans (once again presumably). Is this what accounts for the difference in their power levels? Also, maybe it was just because I was excitedly speeding through the novel, but is any explanation given for Rife's abilities? (view spoiler)[(hide spoiler)] (hide spoiler)]
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  • ZD
    June 3, 2017
    To be honest, I'm not much of a reviewer, but I received an ARC of this book from a Goodreads giveaway so I figured I'd try my best.I really liked the futuristic, but not too futuristic, setting, doubly novel to me since my only exposure to South Africa (via pop culture or otherwise) has been the confusing whirlwind that was Charlie Jade. This book was definitely weird, but in a way reminiscent of magical realism, and I think the author fused the fantasy and science fiction elements pretty well. To be honest, I'm not much of a reviewer, but I received an ARC of this book from a Goodreads giveaway so I figured I'd try my best.I really liked the futuristic, but not too futuristic, setting, doubly novel to me since my only exposure to South Africa (via pop culture or otherwise) has been the confusing whirlwind that was Charlie Jade. This book was definitely weird, but in a way reminiscent of magical realism, and I think the author fused the fantasy and science fiction elements pretty well. I'll be honest, there were a few times when I felt things going off the rails (view spoiler)[a penis turning into a snake? Muzi, Elkin, and Clever4-1 all switching bodies? (hide spoiler)], but I never wanted to stop reading. I especially loved the depiction of robots ("alphies") and how they think.Most of the problems I had with this book stemmed from the pacing, and the fact that I think some characters and narrative threads could have been integrated a bit better into the overall plot. Whenever a book has a cast of multiple main characters, I always seem to want the characters to be fleshed out more than they are, so it might just be a personal preference. I loved all the characters, I just wanted more, and I felt similarly about the setting - I wanted even more world-building!The characters and plot threads really take up most of the novel, so there was a lot for me to love, but perhaps it was a bit too much. I almost find myself wishing that this was a series of two or three books. This is why my rating is more of a 3.5, but I've rounded up because the whole concept of the book was cool, definitely not like anything I've ever encountered, and I really enjoyed reading it. I'm definitely hoping I'll get to read more from this author!
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  • Marsha
    May 30, 2017
    This novel is a terrific thrill ride that doesn’t shy away from gore, viscera and uncomfortable subjects. From the first page, where we find a young man uneasily contemplating an adult circumcision to the gory details of a demigoddess stretching out a human meal while watching one of her favorite old black-and-white movies, you know you’re in for one unusual reading experience.But oddity isn’t enough to keep anyone enthralled (it didn’t work for that Howard the Duck movie, did it?). You need cha This novel is a terrific thrill ride that doesn’t shy away from gore, viscera and uncomfortable subjects. From the first page, where we find a young man uneasily contemplating an adult circumcision to the gory details of a demigoddess stretching out a human meal while watching one of her favorite old black-and-white movies, you know you’re in for one unusual reading experience.But oddity isn’t enough to keep anyone enthralled (it didn’t work for that Howard the Duck movie, did it?). You need characters and Ms. Drayden gives us characters to spare. Her people are filled with gritty, rough edges and commit appalling acts from illicitly reading minds and wiping memories to torching an entire village. No one is innocent and few people keep their hands clean. But what glorious characters they make! The author pulls us into their lives and makes us feel for them, even the reprehensible, secretly lonely murderous aforementioned goddesses. Like anything in the world, nothing is unalloyed bliss or pain and each needs the other to be meaningful. Betrayal is found in any friendship and love can look a lot like vicious hatred…and vice versa. In a world where people only want to be loved, worshipped or adored, can we fault a near-goddess for craving the same?This book combines its elements of sociopolitical commentary, old-world mythology and modern cybernetics into a truly heady brew and Ms. Drayden serves it up with relish.
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  • Jocelyn
    June 29, 2017
    Caveat: I received my copy from the author. All my opinions are my own.I've been looking for fresh new voices and non-America settings in the techno/magical genre, and wow. PREY OF GODS delivered. It broke tropes that have become ridiculously uninteresting. It went in directions I was not expecting. Forgotten ancient goddess. Baby demi-goddess. Genetic engineering smorgasbord. Stompy robot uprising. Viral outbreak. Talking tree people. Plague of dikdiks. Apocalyptic meteor shower. Spirit animals Caveat: I received my copy from the author. All my opinions are my own.I've been looking for fresh new voices and non-America settings in the techno/magical genre, and wow. PREY OF GODS delivered. It broke tropes that have become ridiculously uninteresting. It went in directions I was not expecting. Forgotten ancient goddess. Baby demi-goddess. Genetic engineering smorgasbord. Stompy robot uprising. Viral outbreak. Talking tree people. Plague of dikdiks. Apocalyptic meteor shower. Spirit animals. Sex crabs (not the virus). Wow. A story lives and dies by its characters, and every character in PREY is a fantastical stunning mess. They're stupid. They're frustrating. They're broken. They're beautiful. They're mean. They're selfish. They're confused. They're lonely. They're angry. In other words, they're complicated. Like real people. They're perfect to follow along with, because you keep hoping they're going to figure it out. It's like the best movie where you're yelling at the screen, "Don't do that stupid thing you're going to do! You're doing it! Stop doing that! It's a trap! I can't stop watching! I have to know what happens!" There is so much I could talk about in this novel. Drayden has created a wonderfully diverse world that gives the reader a lot to think about beneath all the weirdness and we need more of that. I'm looking forward to whatever Drayden writes next.Great fun and so worth the read. Loved the wild ride.The only thing this story lacked was ninjas. And you know. . . now that I think about it. . . there just might have been one of those too.
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  • Everdeen Mason
    June 5, 2017
    Nicky Drayden’s debut novel “The Prey of Gods” (Harper Voyager) is delightfully unlike most science fiction out there. Drayden mixes folklore, urban fantasy and science fiction in her futuristic South Africa to dazzling effect. In this entertaining tale, a new drug called Godspeed hits the street. It causes users to hallucinate, to see themselves as animal creatures; sometimes it draws out peculiar powers. Teenage Muzi, grappling with his sexuality and his heritage, finds that the drug lets him Nicky Drayden’s debut novel “The Prey of Gods” (Harper Voyager) is delightfully unlike most science fiction out there. Drayden mixes folklore, urban fantasy and science fiction in her futuristic South Africa to dazzling effect. In this entertaining tale, a new drug called Godspeed hits the street. It causes users to hallucinate, to see themselves as animal creatures; sometimes it draws out peculiar powers. Teenage Muzi, grappling with his sexuality and his heritage, finds that the drug lets him manipulate people. His path, and that of his personal AI bot, crosses that of a pop star at the pinnacle of her career, a young politician who dreams of stardom and a little girl from poor village learning to control her awesome power. Together, they must stop a goddess hungry for world-domination. The plot can get a bit (too) twisty and complex — memories! gods! AI revolutions! But it showcases characters not often seen in popular fiction, and amid the fast-paced action, touches on relevant race and class issues. Ultimately, it’s a book about coming to terms with your true self.Read more: http://wapo.st/2swby1p
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  • Galen Surlak-Ramsey
    June 24, 2017
    Tldr; If you’re looking for a unique SF with a healthy splash of wild and awesome characters, you’ll want The Prey of Gods.Spoiler-free summary:As mentioned everywhere, Prey of Gods is Nicky Drayden’s awesome debut novel that combines plenty of sci-fi, a near-future South Africa, and a slew of fantastic and well-thought out characters. The narrative follows several different characters throughout the novel, each unique. While at first, their escapades are separate, they begin to cross in places Tldr; If you’re looking for a unique SF with a healthy splash of wild and awesome characters, you’ll want The Prey of Gods.Spoiler-free summary:As mentioned everywhere, Prey of Gods is Nicky Drayden’s awesome debut novel that combines plenty of sci-fi, a near-future South Africa, and a slew of fantastic and well-thought out characters. The narrative follows several different characters throughout the novel, each unique. While at first, their escapades are separate, they begin to cross in places not often forseen (in the best of ways).There’s plenty of action throughout, and how could you not with hallucinogenic drugs, robots, and a pissed off goddess that wants to…well, we’ll just leave it at she has issues. And that’s just a small bit. There’s tons of heart and humor (and everything between) throughout. It definitely as the Christopher Moore feel throughout (I saw it mentioned elsewhere, and I completely agree).So if you're in the mood for something different and flippin' amazing and not your run of the mill, sci-fi, do yourself a huge favor and pick this one up.
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  • Alex
    June 18, 2017
    An interesting melangeI didn't expect this book to include a giant mecha made out of thirty three other robots. Of course I didn't really know what to expect from the book. What I got was a melange of new wierd, urban fantasy, South African myths, griffins, and a love story. It starts with a circumcision and for the first twenty percent it's sorta hard to know what's going on. After that, there's some story beats that don't really add to characterization or plot. They just seen to be there. That An interesting melangeI didn't expect this book to include a giant mecha made out of thirty three other robots. Of course I didn't really know what to expect from the book. What I got was a melange of new wierd, urban fantasy, South African myths, griffins, and a love story. It starts with a circumcision and for the first twenty percent it's sorta hard to know what's going on. After that, there's some story beats that don't really add to characterization or plot. They just seen to be there. That's about as negative I can go though. The book was paced well, drawing me along, and I constantly wanted to know what happened next. Highly recommended for fans of urban fantasy, new wierd, or books set in non US locations. Props for a nonsteroypical same sex relationship and trans character.
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  • Cathy
    June 7, 2017
    I received this book due to entering a Goodreads drawing.Because so much is happening from the beginning of this book, I had some trouble getting into it. Humanity, gods and robots set in a not too distant future in South Africa is a bit much but Ms. Drayden does a great job converging all the story lines. I believe it helps that all the chapters are named for the characters and what is happening in their thoughts and lives. Also the book is fast moving due to the short chapters and the increasi I received this book due to entering a Goodreads drawing.Because so much is happening from the beginning of this book, I had some trouble getting into it. Humanity, gods and robots set in a not too distant future in South Africa is a bit much but Ms. Drayden does a great job converging all the story lines. I believe it helps that all the chapters are named for the characters and what is happening in their thoughts and lives. Also the book is fast moving due to the short chapters and the increasing action as the book progresses. I didn't think I was going to like this book very much after the first few chapters but because of the imaginative story and the good writing I had a hard time putting the book aside once I got halfway through the novel. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes science fiction and to those who would enjoy reading something different.
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