Leif: Won't know until you don't try.
Zeus Is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure is a comedic contemporary fantasy novel by Michael G. Munz.
Just about three thousand years ago, Zeus, the immortal king of the Olympian gods, commanded the entire pantheon to withdraw from the mortal world. That changed nine months ago when someone found a way to assassinate him. With Zeus out of the way, the Olympians returned to the public eye, and soon had their own temples, casinos, and media empires. Some of them are even on Twitter.
The only god not having a grand time of things? Apollo. With the modern global population at over seven billion, and a bursting portfolio that includes the sun, literature, music, medicine, truth, light, prophecy, archery, gelatin desserts, etc., the amount of email he receives from rapacious mortals turns his life into a living hell.
His only way out may be to somehow bring Zeus—and his withdrawal decree—back to life. With the aid of Thalia, the muse of comedy and science fiction, Apollo will risk his very godhood to help sarcastic TV producer Tracy Wallace and a gamer-geek named Leiftwo mortals who hold the key to Zeuss resurrection. (Well, probably. Prophecies are tricky buggers.)
This novel provides examples of:
- A Lady on Each Arm: Dionysus is first seen sitting on his recliner-throne playing video games while flanked by no less than three women, two of whom are dressed as cheerleaders.
- All Myths Are True: Averted. Hera specifically states that while the Olympian gods ARE real, other gods such as Thor, Loki, Anubis, and Elvis Presley are not.
- Artifact of Doom: The Unmaking Nexus.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Quotes from fictional in-universe sources are used at the start of every chapter, but one chapter begins with a quoted conversation between some of the Muses who, mid-conversation, realize the quote is showing up at the start of a chapter.
- BrotherSister Team: Apollo and Artemis, though Apollo spends some of the book keeping Artemis in the dark because he doesn't want to risk her safety.
- Call to Adventure: Leif refuses this for a little while when Apollo comes calling, reasoning that refusing to help Apollo is less risky than helping him and getting a bunch of other gods angry.
- Classical Mythology: The book is entirely about Greek gods in the modern world.
- Daddy's Girl: Aphrodite. Zeus outright declares her his favorite.
- Deus ex Machina: At one point when Apollo saves them, Leif comments that he doesn't mind being on the receiving end of a Deus Ex Machina. Thalia immediately laments that they've therefore become cliché.
- Divine Parentage: One key to bringing Zeus back lies with one of his mortal children. The trouble is figuring out just which mortal it is.
- Eskimos Aren't Real: At the gods' first press conference, Hera specifically states that while the Olympian gods ARE real, other gods such as Thor, Loki, Anubis, and Elvis Presley are not.
- Geas: Any oath sworn by the River Styx (figuratively or literally) is binding, even for a god. Hermes even wiretaps the Styx so he can spy on anyone who utters such an oath in secret or in unthinking rage, and uses this to blackmail Zeus.
- Glamour Failure: Invisibility, when used against humans, works pretty well, but gods can still spot other invisible gods if they concentrate.
- Hermes spots Apollo, despite his appearing in disguise, because Apollo apparently has a habit of re-using faces.
- Global Warming: Artemis seems to have come up with global warming in an effort to get mortals to respect the environment more.
- God Job: Arguably, Marcus, who apparently got tricked into an agreement with Charon and now has to spend six months out of the year taking Charon's place running the Acheron ferry to Hades.
- Godly Sidestep: Jesus Christ is mentioned to exist, but he and the Greek gods aren't on speaking terms. Beyond that, nobody's talking about it.
- The Hedonist: Dionysus. Hedonism is part of his divine purview.
- Idiot Ball: The Muses have access to the actual Idiot Ball, which is usually kept safely in conceptual form in their Hall of Creative Abstract Concepts on Olympus. Thalia has the other muses coalesce it into physical form for her as part of a plan to free Leif and Tracy from Dionysus's casino. Then she loses track of it. Problems occur.
- Immortality Inducer: The Large Hadron Collider at CERN.
- Immortals Fear Death: The fact that someone discovered a way to kill Zeus freaks out the entire rest of the pantheon to the point where even talking about the murder becomes nearly taboo.
- Jerkass Gods: Multiple instances, including: The gods sink Iceland in order to raise Atlantis just so they can return to the world with some style. One god, purely for kicks, tosses a minotaur into the mix during the running of the bulls in Spain. Aphrodite collapses a supermodel's clifftop home for trying to sue her over a botched facelift.
- Keeper of Forbidden Knowledge: The Moirae (a.k.a. The Fates), though they're not evil so much as they are very, very detached. And strict.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Numerous instances. The Fates refer in vague terms to the reader upon their introduction. Thalia discusses Leif's refusal to accept his call to adventure. The narrative addresses the reader on numerous occasions.
- Manipulative Editing: On a Monster Slayer shoot outside Las Vegas, Tracy mentions that they can edit out some of the monster's cuter moments to make Jason killing it seem more heroic. The monster in question becomes far more fearsome shortly thereafter.
- Mobile Menace: The swarms of "razorwings" (i.e. playfully feral kittens with bat wings who spit paralytic poison, chew through metal, and bifurcate when killed) that roam the southeastern United States, not to mention gods who can teleport if they know where to find you.
- Monster of the Week: The concept behind the in-universe reality TV show Monster Slayer. Jason Powers stalks and kills a new monster each week.
- Oh, Crap!: A pantheon-wide brawl screeches to a complete halt when the gods realize that someone has managed to release the Titans from their prison.
- One-Gender Race: Of a sort. After Helen of Troy, Zeus stopped fathering daughters; partly to avoid another Trojan War, but partly because he didn't like there being attractive women he couldn't have sex with. This is why no one considered Tracy might be his child until she had the vision revealing the fact.
- Reality TV: Since mythological creatures returned soon after the gods, there is a show called Monster Slayer that's akin to Dirty Jobs but with the star traveling around slaying monsters.
- Running Gag:
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Literally. Zeus and his siblings sealed the nine most dangerous Titans in actual cans.
- Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: The gods' original withdrawal was Zeus's attempt to outwit a prophecy of his murder, which, eventually, made it come true.
- Serious Business: Pomegranates for Hera. Enough that she'll force Apollo to mess with the sun so more can grow.
- Shapeshifting: Many of the immortal characters do this at some point, from turning into animals to simply disguising themselves as other people.
- Soap Box Sadie: Wynter, aka Brittany Simmons, became a loyal follower of the Goddess Hectate only to mess with her family. When she turned out to be real, getting her family's support took the fun right out of it.
- Surprisingly Sudden Death: Jason. "Oh, gods! No one survives a plummet!"
- Talking the Monster to Death: Thalia tries this against the Erinyes. It doesn't work so well. It does, at least, delay them long enough for Apollo to arrive and do it better.
- Threshold Guardians:
- The "guardian-tree" at Zeus's old temple.
- Marcus, who runs the ferry to Hades six months out of the year when Charon takes vacation.
- Cerberus, guarding the gates to Hades.
- The Orthlaelapsian Wraith, which guards the nine cans in which the Titans are imprisoned...in the back room of an antiques shop in Swindon.
- Zombie Apocalypse: Invoked by Hermes at a press conference when speaking of Hades:Hermes: He's actually a decent enough chap. A bit inexorable. A tad strict, perhaps, but it's his job to keep the dead out of the world of the living. You dont want someone like me in charge of that. One good distraction and wham! Zombie apocalypse!