Godly Heathens

A Novel

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Pub Date Nov 28 2023 | Archive Date Dec 12 2023
St. Martin's Press | Wednesday Books


Godly Heathens is the first book in H.E. Edgmon's YA contemporary fantasy duology The Ouroboros, in which a teen, Gem, finds out they’re a reincarnated god from another world.

Maybe I have always just been bad at being human because I’m not one.

Gem Echols is a nonbinary Seminole teen living in the tiny town of Gracie, Georgia. Known for being their peers’ queer awakening, Gem leans hard on charm to disguise the anxious mess they are beneath. The only person privy to their authentic self is another trans kid, Enzo, who’s a thousand long, painful miles away in Brooklyn.

But even Enzo doesn’t know about Gem’s dreams, haunting visions of magic and violence that have always felt too real. So how the hell does Willa Mae Hardy? The strange new girl in town acts like she and Gem are old companions, and seems to know things about them they’ve never told anyone else.

When Gem is attacked by a stranger claiming to be the Goddess of Death, Willa Mae saves their life and finally offers some answers. She and Gem are reincarnated gods who’ve known and loved each other across lifetimes. But Gem – or at least who Gem used to be - hasn’t always been the most benevolent deity. They’ve made a lot of enemies in the pantheon—enemies who, like the Goddess of Death, will keep coming.

It’s a good thing they’ve still got Enzo. But as worlds collide and the past catches up with the present, Gem will discover that everyone has something to hide.

Godly Heathens is the first book in H.E. Edgmon's YA contemporary fantasy duology The Ouroboros, in which a teen, Gem, finds out they’re a reincarnated god from another world.

Maybe I have always...

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ISBN 9781250853615
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Average rating from 547 members

Featured Reviews

I loved The Witch King duology and had high hopes for Godly Heathens as well. I was not disappointed! Edgmon does such a great job inserting humor into situations that are often quite heavy. Morally gray, reincarnated Gods who are also currently teenagers- this book was chaos in the best way!

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If there’s one thing H.E. Edgmon does well it’s write morally grey, chaotic characters that I love rooting for, but also want to give a good shake! This book was bo exception to that!
I had a blast and absolutely loved the world building in this one!

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This was one of my most anticipated reads and it did not disappoint. I loved the story, the world building and meeting the different characters. I felt completely immersed in the story and couldn't stop reading it.

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Oh, this one is raw and real and I am so happy that trans, non-binary, and indigenous teens will see themselves in this book. It's feral and queer as heck and full of complex emotions and situations that I feel are sometimes often overlooked in YA. Teens go through shit and sometimes that shit is dark and immoral. Gem is also an excellent narrator - I loved their voice - compelling and unique and not afraid to be outspoken and make unwise decisions.

H.E. Edgmon has built an awesome first book and that ending!! I loved reading about this found family stuck in a complex web of bad decisions, deceit, and yearning, and can't wait for the next installment!

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What did I just finish reading?! Seriously, I wasn’t expecting this ending, and I will need a few days to get over how it ended. I also need November to come so that way others will have read it, and I can discuss it with them.

The book’s plot is fascinating, and why I wanted to read it. I love a good mythology story, and having an original mythology was captivating. Edgmon’s world-building is so well-done that I kept forgetting these weren’t a real pantheon of Gods. There is one tiny aspect of the book that was a bit frustrating, and that was mainly the middle. Once Gem finds out who/what he is, the middle of the book drags at points. It’s still good, and I still wanted to read it. But it didn’t feel like a lot was happening. However, the characters were fascinating enough to have a high rating for this book.

Ugh!! The characters are the greatest. I don’t even know how to describe my love for all of the characters in this book, which is definitely surprising for me. I would say the Mountain has incredible, naturalistic powers and is absolutely gorgeous, but then there’s Poppy, who just seems like a cinnamon roll that could kill me, and I would thank her for the privilege. But Buck is too adorable for words, and I want to befriend Gem and then wrap him up in a blanket to protect him from the world. I don’t know if I have ever come across a novel were not only do I like/love all the characters, but also where I can understand and sympathize with their motivations. Cheers to Edgmon for creating such wonderful characters!

I couldn’t not mention the diversity present in this review. Obviously, Gem is our nonbinary Seminole teen, but there’s representation of other indigenous peoples in Willa Mae and Enzo. Not only that, but all the gods are transgender. Willa Mae actually says the line, “there are no cis gods.” Yes, please! Because, let’s be honest, gods are too omnipotent for strict gender lines. With all of them as transgender gods, Godly Heathens fully embraces the hypocritical stereotype of queers as monsters. If you’re going to treat me like an abomination, then I’ll give you one.

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Flew threw this! It was mad interesting and good, I loved the inclusion of a NB main character, it was so refreshing.

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This is, honestly, one of, if not the best books I've read with a trans main character, yet.

Especially with a powered of a reincarnated God.

Gem is one of those kinds of characters that stick with you: They're thrown into a fantastic world that even they don't believe is true & also is trying to find their place in it.

H.E. has made each of the characters stick out & blend in as much as they could in this world.

The characters like Willa Mae, Indy, & a pint-sized Death, are a fantastic addition, as well as Gem's texting buddy (whose name escapes me, at the moment) all make this world believable & you really get to delve into the history behind the lead & Gem's own family which adds another wrinkle into Gem's life, which you see play out in the pages of the book.

I won't spoil much but, honestly, like the Duology series H..E. has also written, get this book, too, because, not only is it another hit on his hands, but, it's one of the most heartfelt books I've read in a while!

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This book is grimy. It’s dirty. It’s dark, feral, queer, and just so good. It’s hard to decide if I actually like the characters or not- it’s so hard to pick who to root for. This is a book about trauma, choosing who you are, what you are. It asks you who the villain is, and it doesn’t quite anwser it. Do you believe Gem is in the right? Are they the villain? Is anyone actually in the “right”?

It’s about generational trauma, how the cycle can be reversed broken changed. It’s about how you choose to deal with that trauma, how you can conquer or succumb. It’s about being the villain, morally grey, and what that entails. It’s about the choices that are made to become the villain, how those choices are made. It’s about flaws, and how people choose to meet them.

This book is an overall gritty masterpiece questioning what it means to be yourself, and how you can come to terms with what that exactly means. It’s genuinely funny at times and I absolutely loved Gem. Maybe not their choices all the time, but they’re a very compelling main character and H. E. Edgmon brought them justice. I absolutely cannot wait until the sequel drops and I can dive into this world once more.

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