Urban fantasy is not my favorite genre but I am a huge mythology fans. Countless speculative fictions in all kind of mediums--even when they're highly original--most likely were influenced by something else; when you really think about it, claiming that mythologies from around the world are the origin of all kind of stories is really not an overstatement.
Paternus: Rise of Gods, the first book in The Paternus Trilogy by Dyrk Ashton, is what happens when an author implements a plethora of mythologies from around the world to and adds them into an urban fantasy, creating a highly original and compelling experience for fantasy readers.
“A wielder of words is a wielder of power.”
Other than the fast paced second half and intriguing plot developments, the mythology aspect is without a doubt the strongest driving force of the book; I seriously can't praise Ashton enough when it comes this factor of the book. Judging from the content and prose, it's really evident that he has done tons of research to bestow the reader with an intricate mythological background in a fun and thrilling way.
I'm talking about mythologies from around the world: Chinese, Japanese, Roman, Celtic, Norse, you name it. You know what? To tease you further, I'm going to list a FEW of the figures that appeared here: Baphomet, Minotaur, Gungnir, Tengu, Ao Guang, Asura, Lamia, and of course, the staples ofurban fantasy, werewolves and vampires (real vampires, not those glittering one). Yes, these are a FEW of the mythological references I'm talking about. If you love mythology and legends in your stories, Paternus is a must read!
What stopped me from giving this book a full five-star rating is that the first part of this book is a bunch of hit-or-miss scenes for me. In one part, I loved all the mythological world-building in this section, but the characters and the stories felt like the start to a poorly cliched YA Urban fantasy. I'm talking about the super-duper-perfect male main character that the quirky girl can't help but fall in love with for no reason other than he's so perfect at everything; and it's stated repeatedly, too. Plus, the writing during the first part also felt a bit off and was hard for me to get into, especially with the non-stop changing of POV that could happen with each paragraph, instead of each chapter, as fantasy fans have come to accept and even expect. However, this applied only to the first part of the book; once the book reached part two--around 35 or 40% of the book--Paternus has found its own voice and became one heck of an exhilarating action-packed read.
Paternus: Rise of Gods won third place in last year's SPFBO (Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off) that's held by Mark Lawrence. It came third out of three hundred books and it's for a solid reason. If it wasn't for the weak beginning, I could see this book ranking higher or even winning the whole competition. Overall, this is a stunning debut. If you're a fan of Urban fantasy or mythology in your stories, let me repeat it once again, you MUST give this book a try. It goes without saying that I am already looking forward to how the series will develop from here.