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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Rise of Ancients by Allen Rebot begins with the discovery of a sarcophagus. What’s meant to be a grand discovery quickly turns into the beginning of destruction. When the sarcophagus is unearthed, it soon releases a dangerous god that has been imprisoned for thousands of years. Matt thought the worst thing to happen in his life was the loss of his marriage but when he reaches out to a friend, he’s drawn into the aftermath of a horrific crime and uncovers shocking revelations about his past. After being freed from his prison, Hades embarks on a quest to bring back the love he lost and sets out to punish those he holds responsible. Darkness grows throughout the city, which pushes Matt to rely on help from surprising allies to stop it.
Matt is facing a downward spiral which brings him face-to-face with the Greek gods and up against the god of death. The perspective shifts between Matt as he discovers this world and Hades as he wakes up determined to bring back the love he lost and get revenge against those he blames. Each of their journeys is rooted in the discovery of a new reality, with Matt learning the truth about the Greek gods, and Hades navigating a modern world. Darkness is rampant throughout the story, beginning with Hades' release and increasing as the plot progresses with instances that are violent and bloody. Interludes about a boy and his pet lizard are threaded throughout, telling the story of lost innocence that develops with a darker and more violent tone. The imagery transitions with a specific purpose from the outlook of an innocent child to a grittier perspective of a man as he faces the landscape of war and loss. Allen Rebot’s writing style creates unique visuals such as a comparison to a depressed dragon hoarding empty bottles and scales beneath the eyes, a nightmare unfolding under the smiling face on the department store’s sign, and vines of glass leaping from the unholy rolling cloud. Rise of Ancients is a story of revenge, resurrection, and destruction that weaves a fresh take on Greek mythology.