Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Divine Misfortune

When I want to read something that is funny, entertaining and fresh I know I can rely on A. Lee Martinez to deliver.

I first discovered this author last year when I picked up his debut (released in 2006, yes I am behind the times) Gil’s All Fright Diner and loved it so much I read another of the same author’s books (Monster) as soon as I could track down a copy. Divine Misfortune was always going to be on my shopping list once it was released into mmpb.

Divine Misfortune is A. Lee Martinez’s sixth novel, which makes him fairly prolific, and even more unusually he has yet to write a sequel to anything (I’d personally love to see a follow up to Gil’s All Fright Diner). As always with Martinez the premise is pretty out there, and hilarious mayhem ensues.

Phil and Teri Robinson are a typical young suburban couple who know things can be a little better, but to do it they have to get a god to worship. Most of their friends and neighbours have their own personal deities and it’s working out fine for them, so why not Phil and Teri? A search at Pantheon.com leads them to an unassuming, reasonable with a penchant for Hawaiian shirts and raccoon heads, he goes by the name of Luka, although he prefers to be called Lucky. Lucky is a god of good fortune, he’s great for finding a parking space in a crowded mall or picking up a lot of loose change under your couch cushions, but unfortunately when Phil and Teri sign on with the raccoon headed god they get him as a house guest, and he brings his best friend Quick (most people know him as Quetzalcoatl) who has been a bit down on his luck since the fall of the Aztec empire, and is happy to crash on Phil and Teri’s couch for a while.

Despite Quick’s presence, and the fact that Lucky starts a relationship with Teri’s friend deity groupie Janet, things with the god of good fortune are working out fine, or rather they would have if Lucky had not forgotten to mention that tragedy goddess Syph had never gotten over him dumping her, and still holds a goddess sized grudge about it. Then of course there’s the feud he has with old style chaos and blood god Gorgoz. Phil and Teri may be able to win lots of free stuff, but as long as Lucky is around they’re going to have trouble staying alive long enough to enjoy any of it.

I expect lots of laughs when I crack open an A. Lee Martinez and I was not disappointed with Divine Misfortune. The situations are ridiculous, but contain enough wit and satire to keep the narrative moving along smoothly. Phil and Teri were very real protagonists and refreshingly normal, they were also a great contrast to the totally over the top Lucky and Quick. I enjoyed the buddy relationship between the two gods and came to really like Quick.

As with all his previous works Martinez wraps everything up neatly and leaves room for a sequel if he ever wants to revisit the concept. Highly recommended and has me anticipating Chasing the Moon, his 7th novel, due out in May of this year.

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