When Helene's mom dies under suspicious circumstances, she's sent to live with her godfather, Janus, who she has never met or even heard of. Worst of all, she's being sent halfway around the world to Athens, Greece. Once she arrives, she finds herself surrounded by mysterious people, gorgeous men and an all-powerful crime organization.
I initially picked up this book because of it's link to Greek mythology. I've studied mythology a lot through History and through my Latin studies. The title was also intriguing. You don't often see a mix of science and myth, especially in Young Adult Fantasy novel.
With the setting of Greece, this book was interestingly unique for this genre. Clearly, the author has a personal connection to the country and as I researched her and her previous novels, it definitely seems like she has experience here. Her descriptions of the political and economic climate of the country really added to the story and enhanced the main characters interactions with others. It was interesting to see her navigate this foreign country in about the same way I would, with wonder, excitement and wariness. I give the author full marks for her choice of setting and how it contributed to the plot.
The plot of this novel was intricate and complex. There are a lot of moving parts and I can tell the author works hard to line everything up to work the reader towards the eventual climax. We work through Helene's coping with her mom's death or potential disappearance, as well as learning about a new city, falling in love, dealing with criminal organizations, and discovering the power she has within herself. There was so much going on, that the book did at times feel exhausting or confusing, but the pieces are cohesive and I'm not sure if there is any specific element I'd recommend taking.
The biggest struggle I had with Protogenesis was with the characters. The main character, Helene was difficult to like as she was judgmental and unreliable. While this is a great example of a well rounded character it was difficult to cheer for Helene and want to follow her throughout her journey. The side characters, such as Helene's love interest were more one-dimensional, flat and predictable. I wish they'd been more dynamic and original, rather than stereotypes that I've seen in many other stories and novels.
Protogenesis by Alysia Helming has a beautiful setting and complex plot but the characters fall short. This would be a perfect quick read for a plane flight or while you're on vacation. The love triangle and intrigued is great in this novel, making it a perfect quick, fun read. Just go in, knowing your characters will be fairly predictable.