My Family & Other Deities by Katharine & Elizabeth Corr, authors of Queen of Gods
"As sisters who write together, this was interesting territory to explore!"
This post was written by Katharine & Elizabeth Corr, authors of Queen of Gods.
Our new novel, Queen Of Gods is the second part of the House Of Shadows duology; part one (Daughter Of Darkness) came out last year, and we are so happy with how it’s been received. An original fantasy inspired by the ancient Greek bronze age (think: the time period in which the Iliad is set) together with the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, Daughter Of Darkness follows a group of bronze age Soul Severers (humans bound to serve the god Hades) as they journey into the Underworld to search for Eurydice, dead wife of the tyrant Orpheus. Of course, this being a YA fantasy, things do not go according to plan! The Soul Severers learn the truth about themselves and about Orpheus; some of them die, and Deina – our main character – ends the book trapped in the Underworld. That’s where Queen Of Gods picks up. Deina is held captive by Hades, her friends and her would-be love interest Theron are on the run in the mortal world, and the man who’s hunting them is also searching for a legendary object that offers near total control over humanity. The stage is set for a battle between gods and mortals, with Deina and her friends caught firmly in the middle.
Whereas Daughter Of Darkness was set primarily in the Underworld, realm of Hades, in Queen Of Gods our characters get to explore the realms of Poseidon and Zeus too, which means there are interactions with many more gods. While found family is explored in Daughter Of Darkness, at lot of the gods we encounter in Queen Of Gods are actually part of the same family – and it’s one of the most dysfunctional families you’ll ever meet. A family bound together for eternity, even though none of them is particularly happy about it. As sisters who write together, this was interesting territory to explore!
For example, in Daughter Of Darkness, Deina and the others interact with Hades. In Queen Of Gods, they get to see the dynamic between Hades and her siblings, Zeus and Poseidon, the three most important Olympian gods. As you’d expect from the King of the Gods, Zeus gives off an elder sibling, ‘do what I tell you or else’ kind of vibe, even though he was actually (according to the myth) the youngest of his siblings. Poseidon, meanwhile, is self-obsessed (even for a god) and would rather be checking out his muscles in a mirror than dealing with uppity mortals. Hades is smarter than both of them, and she knows it. We’ll leave you to guess who she thinks should be ruling over the other gods. (Hint: it isn’t Zeus.)
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We also meet one of the parents of Hades, Zeus, and Poseidon. Cronos, a Titan rather than an Olympian, was the previous king of the gods. Knowing of a prophecy that one of his children would overthrow him, Cronos tried to avoid his fate by swallowing each of his babies whole as soon as it was born. Unsurprisingly his wife, Rhea, was not particularly impressed by this. She swapped the last baby, Zeus, for a stone, and Cronos somehow didn’t notice the difference. When Zeus grew up, he attacked his father, freed his siblings (still alive in their dad’s stomach!), and launched the Titanomachy – the war between the older gods and the younger gods for control of the realms. The younger gods won and took up residence on Mount Olympus. Cronos was condemned to Tartarus, the worst part of the Underworld, meaning one of his children (Hades) became his jailor. In Queen Of Gods we discover that Cronos, unsurprisingly, doesn’t feel the least remorseful about the whole baby-swallowing episode, and is certainly willing to do anything that will potentially help put his annoying children back in their place.
However, our favourite immortal family dynamic in Queen Of Gods is that between Thanatos, the god of Death with his “stunning good looks and sunny personality” (his words) and his brother Hypnos, god of sleep. Two of the children of Nyx (Night), Thanatos and Hypnos bicker – there’s no other word for it. Hypnos thinks Thanatos is over-bearing, self-important and devious. Thanatos thinks Hypnos is lazy, unreliable, and too used to other people cleaning up his mess. Yet, they’re still fond of each other, in a deep-down, eye-rolling, ‘I can’t believe I have to put up with you as a brother’ kind of way. Thanatos reveals that he’s got Hypnos out of several scrapes involving disappointed nymphs. Hypnos shows up for Thanatos more than once when he needs his help during Queen Of Gods, though he’s not exactly happy about the way Thanatos gets him involved:
The god of sleep gulped.
‘What do you want, then? You always want something. It’s never just, “Hello, dear brother, why don’t we spend some time together, and how about a nice cup of nectar?”’ Hypnos’s voice rose into a whine. ‘I’m going to tell our mother exactly how you treat me one of these days.’
‘You do that,’ Nat retorted, ‘and see if she cares.’
As siblings, we can definitely relate to this dynamic. Mind you, Queen Of Gods is the eighth book we’ve written together and the seventh we’ve had published, so we probably get along a little better than Thanatos and Hypnos! Just as long as no one asks us which one of us is the god of death and which is the god of sleep…
Get your copy of Queen of Gods by Katharine & Elizabeth Corr here.