Imagine a world where the Greek gods are still worshipped, their temples can be found around the world, and their half-human children walk among us. Now imagine living as a cursed being, doomed to a life on the run. That my friends is Raye Wagner‘s series about the Sphinx. I was fortunate enough to receive the first book along with the second for review and I have to tell you they were AMAZING!! I devoured them this weekend and am still suffering a book hangover. If you enjoy urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and Greek mythology, you don’t want to miss this series! Book two Demigods and Monsters hit shelves yesterday, so now is the perfect time to catch up.
I received this book via Lady Amber's Book Tours. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.Curse of the Sphinx by Raye Wagner
Series: The Sphinx, #1
Published by Self Publish on 2015-08-11
Length: 344 pages
Reviewing eARC from Lady Amber's Book Tours
How long can a monster stay hidden in plain sight?
Seventeen year-old Hope Nicholas has spent her entire life on the run. But no one is chasing her. In fact, no one even knows she exists. With her mom, she’s traveled from town to town and school to school, barely staying long enough to meet anyone, let alone make friends. And she’ll have to keep it that way. It’s safer.
When her mother is brutally ripped away from her, Hope’s life shatters. Is this the fulfillment of Apollo’s curse, murder from the shadow monsters of the Underworld, or have the demigods finally found her? Orphaned and alone, Hope flees again, but this time there’s no one to teach her who to trust—or how to love.
Set in a universe where mythology is alive and well in the modern world, Curse of the Sphinx irresistibly blends action, suspense and romance.
Curse of the Sphinx by Raye Wagner is the first book in this urban mythology series, and I have to say, it blew me away! Hope is the daughter of the Sphinx, and like her mother, cursed by Apollo to change into the mythical monster two days and one night a month. As a monster, she and her mother live their lives on the run, constantly in danger from Skia and other demigods who would kill them if they were found. When Hope’s mother is killed, she has to learn how to survive on her own for the first time while trying to figure out what happened.
I really liked Hope! She’s a strong character. The author shows her through the grieving process and learning how to figure out life on her own. It’s truly a remarkable way to show this character’s growth. She starts the book as a sullen teen, never had a friend, never been kissed, always on the run. She’s bitter and wants a change. After her mother’s death, she’s lost. She understands why her mother had all the rules and reasons behind their constant moving. She makes mistakes, but she learns from them.
Then there is Athan, a demigod son of Hermes. He’s first introduced in the prologue when his father gives him the task of finding the Sphinx’s daughter after they witness her death. They promise her they will find her daughter and protect her. When Athan reenters the book as a new student at Hope’s school, I was on the edge of my seat. Athan is kind, charming, and he was a bit hard to figure out. I wasn’t sure if Hope could trust him or not. I wanted to trust him though….does that count?
The plot centers around Hope and the reasons behind her mother’s death. At 16, Hope never thought she’d have to live on her own so young. Her mother was immortal as long as she didn’t break the rules of her curse. So why was she killed? Hope has to learn to live on her own. Her “aunt” Priska is off searching for answers behind her mother’s death so Hope’s by herself.
The world-building is phenomenal! I’m a sucker for urban fantasy and this one really blew my expectations out of the water. Raye Wagner created an alternate reality in which the Greek gods are real, are still worshipped and their children live among us. Everything in the mythology is fair game for the book which was a real treat! If you enjoy mythology, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance, I highly recommend you grab a copy of this book! And BONUS it’s a clean read 😀
I received this book via Lady Amber's Book Tours. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.Demigods and Monsters by Raye Wagner
Series: The Sphinx,
Published by Self Publish on 2015-04-25
Length: 273 pages
Reviewing eARC from Lady Amber's Book Tours
Can Apollo’s curse be broken?
Seventeen-year-old Hope Nicholas is done running. Apollo’s curse has ruled her entire life, limiting her choices and robbing her of the things that matter most. But she refuses to live in fear any longer. In fact, she’s ready to do whatever it takes to break the god’s power over her existence.
When the goddess Artemis instructs Hope to impersonate a demigod and infiltrate a conservatory to get access to the Olympian library, she doesn’t hesitate. As she sees it, there’s nothing left to lose.
But once inside, Hope discovers the only way to get what she needs is to work with her sworn enemies. As the lines between demigod and monster are crossed again and again, Hope has to dig deep for the courage to accept her fate or fight for the freedom to save herself.
Hope gaped at the goddess of night. Artemis’s dark umber skin contrasted with her pale, almost silver hair. Her slight figure was clad in black, fitted garments, and as she pulled the silver bow and quiver of arrows from off her back, her midnight eyes settled on Hope.
“You are very young.” She set her weapons on the spongy moss and stepped up to Hope. “Very young, but not too naïve, I think.” Her gaze held Hope captive for a moment, and then the goddess contemplated the puppy struggling in Hope’s arms. “Who is this?” Artemis giggled as Angel licked her face.
“She’s . . . she’s for you.” Hope held the pale Labrador out.
Artemis peered from Hope to Priska and back to Hope again.
“You are giving me an offering?” She raised her brows but did not take the dog.
Hope shifted her gaze to Priska for help. Hadn’t she said she would do the talking? Priska was studiously examining the night sky.
“No . . . I mean, yes. Yes.” Hope shook her head. “We got her for you.” She extended her arms again, the dog’s back paws dangling in the air.
“Hope wants to break the curse,” Priska said, taking the puppy from Hope. “The Lab was my idea. She comes from a long line of hunters. She will be loyal and easy to train.”
Artemis extended her hands. “Loyalty is difficult to come by. I will accept this with gratitude.” She took the puppy and set her on the ground. The pale fur glowed in the moonlight, and the puppy scampered about. “What do you need my help with, Hope? It was my brother that cursed you, not I.”
Hope shifted her weight. “Yes, but do you know anything that could help me? Has he said anything to you?”
Artemis drew in a slow breath and closed her eyes.
Hope again looked to Priska, but she’d chased after the puppy, leaving Hope alone with the goddess.
“She’s scared,” Artemis said, breaking the silence. “She feels responsible for what happened to your mother. And she feels bad about what could’ve happened to you.” She grabbed Hope’s chin and forced her head side to side. “You want to break the curse?”
“It won’t solve your problem,” the goddess warned, dropping her hand.
I loved Curse of the Sphinx, so I had high expectations for its sequel. Demigods and Monsters by Raye Wagner exceeded all of them! Like the first book, this one starts with a prologue from Athan’s perspective. He’s looking for Hope, who ran after overhearing him and his father talking about her. He has no clue where she is but he wants to find her because he loves her despite that she’s a monster. Hope is back with Priska in Seattle. She is determined to break her curse, but in order to do this she has to find help in the most unlikely place, a conservatory for demigods.
Hope is tired of hiding, she’s tired of lying, and she’s tired of her curse. She wants what everyone wants….freedom. Hope wants the freedom to live her life, choose who to love, and just be herself without the fear of death hanging over her shoulder. I liked Hope in the last book, but I loved her in this one. She is determined and nothing, not even her feelings, will stop her.
Athan….oh Athan! So while reading the first book, I thought he was just a little too charming but seemed sincere with Hope. With him MIA through the first half of the book, Hope finds out some disturbing information about him and his methods of bringing in new demigods. She feels used and rightfully so. BUT I do believe he is sincere where she is concerned. He’s promised that he never lied to her and I believe him….that’s my opinion anyways.
In order for Hope to enter a conservatory, she first has to be invited by and “discovered” as a demigod. Enter Xan. Xan is the demigod son of Ares. At first I didn’t know how to take him. He was a complete jerk (and that’s putting it nicely). He says what he thinks without a filter and makes no apologies for it. The good thing about this is you always know where you stand with him. When he finds Hope and brings her to the conservatory, I had a bit of eye rolling. I knew where it was going, the inevitable love triangle. BUT I’ll be the first to admit that it works well. Xan is a hard character to dislike and as things turn sour with Athan, he becomes Hope’s confidant and most importantly her friend. I have to admit I jumped ships! #TeamXan
The plot of this book really focuses on Hope’s curse and how to break it. I just thought there was a lot of world-building in the last one! This installment is packed full of mythology woven into the unique twists that Wagner writes. It’s seamless! The mythology is a big draw to the book for me and I love seeing it in this urban setting. Seriously the demigods have cell phones! Kind of made me snicker.
Overall I loved every word of this book! I was cheering Hope on and was on the edge of my seat afraid something was going to happen while she was surrounded by demigods. And that ending!!!! UGH!!! I cannot wait to see what will happen next. For fans of the series, you will not be disappointed with this book!
Origin of the Sphinx by Raye Wagner
Series: The Sphinx,
Published by Self Publish on 2013-06-06
Length: 68 pages
Reviewing eBook from Kindle Owner's Lending Library
In Ancient Greece, the invocation "May the Gods watch over you" was more than a spoken blessing. It was an entreaty for divine benevolence.
Phoibe, daughter of Hera, is content. Raised by her aunt, her life is quiet, filled with milling grain and spinning wool. But after her Hestia celebration, Eros, god of love, visits the small town of Belen.
And now Phoibe will have to choose—
If she marries a mortal, she risks eternal solitude for a moment of love.
If she follows her heart, she risks spurning a god.
The gods are enormously powerful, but they don’t fix problems.
They make bigger ones.
Uncover the curse. . .
Origin of the Sphinx by Raye Wagner is a prequel novella to the series, The Sphinx. It tells the story of Phoibe, daughter of Hera, and how her daughter (Hope’s grandmother) became cursed as the Sphinx. To fans of the series it is an absolute must read! While it doesn’t have any bearing on the plot of the series, it does give some important background, namely the events that led up to the curse.
Phoibe is a young girl when her father has to make the decision between raising her and having a family with his wife. Ultimately he makes the decision to send Phoibe to live with Priska, a wise woman in the village, another demigod. She is only 6 when this happens and it affects her more that I think she realized. Phoibe is naive with a heart of gold. She’s kind, sweet, and all to trusting.
During the festival of Hestia, the summer Phoibe becomes of age, she meets and falls in love with another mortal. However she also catches the eye of the arrogant god Apollo. Apollo claims he wants only friendship and as Phoibe is lonely living with her “aunt” she finds comfort in the god’s attention. As she ages, she realizes her mistake and must chose between her mortal and the sun god.
This is the crux of the story, Phoibe’s choice. Does she choose a moment of happiness and love in her immortal life with a mortal? OR does she choose to be a consort of Apollo? I really enjoyed this short novella. It gives such insight into Hope’s curse and really is a heart-breaking tale. Phoibe’s choice is pure and of the heart, but Apollo tugged at my heart as well. He wooed me as he wooed Phoibe. Overall this is insight for the series and things to come. I can’t wait!