Review of Protogenesis (Before the Beginning) by Alysia Helming

17 year old Helene Crawford is a California girl struggling to fit in with her peers, she lives with her mother and their hoard of cats.  After a day at school like any other, Helen comes home to chaos, her mother is missing presumed dead and in the space of just a few hours, she goes from school girl to running for her life – the only person Helene can go to is a Godfather she has never met or even heard of before…….who lives in Greece.  When Helene arrives she is swept up into a world of myths and legends whilst trying to find out what really happened to her mother and balancing that with rebuilding her life in a new Country.

There is a ton to love about Protogenesis and for the most part I didn’t want to put it down. It’s a fantastic adventure full of mysteries to be solved, hidden rooms, strange portals, Gods and Monsters.  There is a seamless science fiction element woven into the mythology which I really enjoyed. Helene is a difficult character to pin down though, at times I really enjoyed her snark and her willingness to boldly jump into all sorts of situations to help her in her quest. But she is also incredibly ditsy and I often struggled to reconcile the fact that she was so easily distracted from her task of finding her mother.  Granted, her search is hampered by her Godfathers insistence that she attend school but her all encompassing distraction by the “Greek boys and their eyes” gets a little tiresome and is one of my biggest pet peeves – what I did enjoy however is that the author herself has a little tongue in cheek dig at this, which was refreshing.  I enjoyed the school element however, it really drove the plot forward and I liked seeing Helene being able to open herself up in way she never could in her old school, it brought balance to her life and I found this more believable than a 17 year old being allowed to run amok in a strange country on her own.
I sometimes found it difficult to put an appropriate age bracket on this book and I’m mindful that I am not the target audience, in light of that I found it easy to forgive a lot of the angst and bratty elements but there was one paragraph that was filled with really bad language which was really out of tone and felt a bit forced.  
The start was shaky but once we got to Greece this book really comes into it’s own, it gives you a nice little reminder of Greek mythology and I found the world building nicely paced with just enough information to really have you wanting more for the next book in the series.  Keep an eye out for Bestat, she is a bit of a scene stealer!  This is a really light and easy read which quickly pulls you in and despite the bits which weren’t really for me (it’s quite tropetastic in places) I found it actually quite a joy to read and it’s a series that i will want to stick with!

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