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Literature / Gods and Monsters

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Gods and Monsters, by Kelly Keaton, is a young adult fantasy series that began in 2011. It has three books, Darkness Becomes Her, A Beautiful Evil, and The Wicked Within.

The first book introduces Aristanae Selkirk, a white-haired teenager who seeks to know the truth about her parents. Upon finding a message from her mother, she goes to the New 2 (New Orleans reconstructed after some hurricanes) and realizes nothing is as it seems.

No relation to 1998 film Gods and Monsters, which was about movie director James Whale.


Be wary of unmarked spoilers. This work contains examples of:

  • Alas, Poor Villain: Athena dies just as her son begins to live again.
    • Although an Anti-Villain, Josephine definitely gets this, especially from her grandson, who admits that although he hated her, she was still the bane of his existence.
  • Asshole Victim: Josephine is beheaded and laid in the town square with her head lying just a few inches away from her neck, and even those who hated her can't help but be stunned at her brutal death. Exactly who killed her is never revealed.
  • Badass Boast: Ari actually has one.
    Aristanae: You created us both, the gorgons and the Sons of Perseus. And now you will die by our power.
  • Big Bad: Athena.
  • Big Good: If the Novem can truly be viewed as good, but they do have the position.
  • The Chessmaster: According to Ari, all of the Novem play the game to an extent.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Appears to be one of Athena’s hobbies.
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  • Creepy Child: Violet acts... creepily. She is not afraid of anyone, not even of a goddess, and more than once she suggest killing, in a completely stoic tone.
  • Cryptic Conversation: Josephine tells Ari about Pandora's Box in a conversation like this. Her invitation to Sebastian to go to Church with her also relayed to him the location of the Hands of Zeus.
  • Decapitation Presentation: Athena is implied to keep the heads of the gorgons in her temple, and she outright tells Ari that she beheaded her mother's corpse.
    • A brutal example would be Josephine. Her death is never explained, but her head is placed just a few inches away from her body, in what Ari theorizes was someone's attempt to send the Novem a message.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Ari punches Athena in the Arnaud ball, forcing the goddess to retreat. Both she and Athena are stunned.
  • Epic Fail: Athena cursing Medusa and forgetting to exempt the gods from her power. As Ari puts it, the goddess of wisdom created a god-killer.
  • Evil Matriarch: Josephine acts like this, openly admitting she only wants to control the members of the Arnaud family. She does, however, care for her grandson, in her own twisted way.
  • Feuding Families: The Novem are somewhat implied to have once been this, as they mention they "put aside their differences" in order to become allies and fight Athena.
  • Forced to Watch: Athena does this to Ari as she tortures her father.
  • Genocide Backfire: Ari isn’t very happy about all the gorgons that have been killed…
  • Good Is Not Nice: Oh so very much. Bran spends most of his time fighting, sparing and almost using inappropriate words in front of young children. Josephine is an outright jerkass who admits to tricking Eleni and turning Theron over to Athena. Pretty much everyone on the side of good qualifies. Not even Ari is not nice; she openly taunt Gabriel and admits she is fine with Theron making Josephine pay for what she did one day.
  • Gorgeous Gorgon: Ari is described as eerily beautiful, but is she does turn into a full-blown gorgon…
  • Hereditary Curse: The cause of nearly every problem in Ari’s life, as everyone wants to kill her because, as a future gorgon, she is a god-killer.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: τέρας hunters are this, as while they are meant to protect the gods from monsters, but they ended up being even crueler to the "monsters", who are in fact people who have succumbed to curses of the gods.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Athena might be a victim of this. Everything she has done, she has done to get her son back.
    • Ari, as well. She knows most monsters were once human, but she kills many just to get to Athena whenever a fight breaks out, and admits she'd do anything to kill her.
  • In the Blood: Ari has her father’s instincts as a hunter, as proved by her reaction to being threatened. She snatches the hunter's blade when it falls and kills him with it, without even being able to see.
  • Kill the God: Ari swears to commit deicide at the end of the first book, after learning
  • Manipulative Bastard: Athena is the greatest, followed closely by Josephine, who’s supposed to be a good guy.
    • The full extent of Josephine's schemes is alluded to when she manages to hide the Hands from virtually everyone, even from the gods. Sure, it didn't end particularly well for her, but the Hands were only found because she left a cryptic message to Sebastian when she invited him to Church.
  • Medusa: The entire series scream this.
  • Mentor Archetype: Michel becomes Ari's legal guardian, Bran trains her in the art of fighting and her father Theron teaches her on how to use her hunter powers.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Ari, after stabbing and killing the hunter sent against her. She did not know what he was, and she genuinely feared she had killed a man with his whole life ahead of him.
    • Also when she beheads a monster in the battle at the cemetery, momentarily freaking out at how effortless it was once she got her hands on a sword.
    • And when she turns Sebastian to stone.
    • Athena of all people reacted like this when she realized she had just had a gorgon kill her baby in her attempt to kill Zeus, and she spent a thousand years trying to get him back.
  • Necessarily Evil: The Novem have done some… questionable things, capturing anyone who might be useful to their fight. Josephine betrayed Eleni and Theron, handing him over to Athena and leaving Eleni and Ari pretty much defenseless.
  • No Name Given: Eleni’s mother and the gorgon who killed Athena’s child, though neither appear physically.
  • Oh, Crap!: Athena, when she realizes Ari is turning her to stone. It does not work, but still.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Vampires such as the Arnauds and the Baptistes are different from the soulless revenants, as they are Born instead of Made.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Ari is aiming to kill a goddess.
  • She Knows Too Much: Josephine, of all people, is implied to have fallen victim to this, and though the details of her death, even who killed her or exactly why, are never revealed, she was killed just as everyone planned to ask her about the Hands.
  • Suicide Is Painless: Most descendants of Medusa chose to die before becoming gorgons.
  • Taken for Granite: Every person who has fallen victim to a gorgon.
    • Briefly, Sebastian.
    • They can be brought back, as Ari did.
  • The Hunter Becomes the Hunted: Theron, by Athena.
    • And the old τέρας captured by the Novem heirs.
  • This Means War!: Athena and the Novem declare war over Ari.
  • Title Drop: The second book gets this.
    Josephine: Pandora was the same way, you know? A deceptive package. The Greek writers called her Kalon Kakon, a beautiful evil.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Eight-year-old Violet spends most of her time acting creepily and encouraging her friends to kill their enemies.
    Violet: We’re going to make sure Athena wishes she had never been born, Ari.
  • Vampire Monarch: Josephine is the Bloodborn Queen by ascendance, making her the heiress to the vampire kings of France. The River Witch claims that her title means nothing, though.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: All Athena wanted was to have her baby resurrected.
    • Josephine might qualify, as she betrayed many of her allies to achieve her goals, and though the exact reasons for her actions are never fully revealed, she did save the Hands from falling into the wrong hands.
  • Would You Like to Hear How They Died?: Subverted, when Athena tells Ari about what she did with her mother’s head and how her father is suffering.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Ari first thought her curse was this… That isn’t her curse…
    • Though most of her ancestors viewed it as so.


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