Paying off a debt to the gods is never easy in Food of the Gods.
It’s not unusual to work two jobs in this day and age, but sorcerer and former triad soldier Rupert Wong’s life is more complicated than most. By day, he makes human hors d’oeuvres for a dynasty of ghouls; by night, he pushes pencils for the Ten Chinese Hells. Of course, it never seems to be enough to buy him a new car—or his restless, flesh-eating-ghost girlfriend passage from the reincarnation cycle—until opportunity comes smashing through his window.
In Kuala Lumpur, where deities from a handful of major faiths tip-toe around each other and damned souls number in the millions, it’s important to tread carefully. Now the Dragon King of the South wants to throw Rupert right in it. The ocean god’s daughter and her once-mortal husband have been murdered, leaving a single clue: bloodied feathers from the Greek furies. It’s a clue that could start a war between pantheons, and Rupert’s stuck in the middle. Success promises wealth, power and freedom, and failure… doesn’t. (via Goodreads)
I received an eARC of this novel from Netgalley and the publisher, Abaddon, in exchange for an honest review!
Despite the image I used for my post, this book is not vegetarian in any way shape or form.
Food of the Gods by Cassandra Khaw dives right into some pretty terrifying stuff – cannibalism, dead fetuses wanting to unionize, and Rupert Wong’s undead wife and step-child.
Wong is offered all the riches he can’t even imagine in exchange for a quest for the King of Dragons that seems undoable. If he fails, of course, he forfeits his eternal respite. As the book says, human scapegoats are all the rage for conflicts like this, and that definitely turns out to be the case in these short stories.
Cassandra Khaw’s writing is like poetry. I could imagine all of these terrifying creatures in my mind once she’d described them, even though I am not as familiar with the Chinese and Malaysian mythological creatures that make up so much of this story.
Khaw is of Southeast Asian descent (her social media profile does not go any further into detail than that), and so is her main character. You can feel her love for the story in every line. I can’t speak to the representation, though.
Frankly, there were a lot of good things about these two short stories novelized together, but these were way too bloody for my wimpy tastes. This book was freaking me out when I was reading it at night, and even in the morning when I went back to it.
So, if you love horror, real mythological creatures, and a whole lot of gore, this might be a much better fit for you. Khaw’s writing is beautiful and I think I would have loved a different story by her a lot more.