Review by Mariella Hunt
Rating: 5/5 stars. Best read I’ve had all year.
inkpop has taught me to be very picky over young adult books as I read them and review them. I’ve developed standards over my time that I participated there regularly. Firstly, the beginning of a book—right down to the first sentence—has to be 100% perfect. The character has to be relatable, the plot gripping, and the action has to leave me dizzy when I put the book down. I’ve reviewed a few books this year and The Dig by Audrey Hart has lifted my standards when judging for a good book.
Other books I’ve read were good. Would I read them again? No, I don’t feel enticed to. Would I read this book again? Honest to goodness yes, this was an adventure in escapism that I wish I could find more often! I want to get back into the world that she created, see this new take on the Ancient Greek world, meet the characters again. I want to be Zoe again, slowly discovering my powers and wandering into traps that—despite my knowledge of Greek mythology—still manage to outsmart me. The best part is that none of the times Zoe was outsmarted turned out to be random. The whole entire story flowed together so well that I feel just lost now that it’s over.
I’m sorry, I just have to compare this to Percy Jackson. I know there’s an age difference and the plots are considerably different, but I want to compare the worlds and how both authors developed their stories. The Dig is clean, easy to picture, and absolutely not a forced read. You can clearly see one plotline and there’s not so much going on that you don’t know what’s a subplot and what isn’t. While I’ve given every Percy Jackson book 3/5 stars for being—for lack of better word—messy, The Dig is 5/5. My mind is blown.
Audrey Hart has created an Ancient Greece that’s both realistic and appealing, at times homey and others incredibly hostile. She turned the Gods of Olympus into people I can picture in my head, and finally, finally Zeus is more—human, without being lame or cheesy. The main character, Zoe, is the perfect balance between damsel-in-distress and tough-girl I-can-handle-this-on-my-own hero. No emotion is ever overdone, be it confusion or anger. She’s mastered the whole orphan background and managed to fit it in without shoving it in the reader’s face, which would have made it cliché and annoying.
Description was down. The minotaur, the smells, the fear, everything was all around me. She didn’t overdescribe, either. There was no purple prose. I could feel each scratch, every heartache, every bout of fear. Downsides? I can’t remember a downside except that it was too short. In short, this book was amazing. I predict great things from it. Whatever book I read next has a really huge bar raised for it. I can truly say that I escaped into Audrey Hart’s Ancient Greece, I became Zoe, I encountered a minotaur, I saw a different version of The Maze. I can’t wait till book two.