|4 out of 5 stars|
It’s a great day for Greece when Perseus defeats the dreaded kraken. But victory begins to lose its lustre when tonnes of tentacles start to swamp the shores and fishing nets of the Aegean. Now after weeks of kraken cakes, kraken kabobs, kraken fritters and kraken stew, everybody is getting decidedly sick of kraken—none more so than Chef Pelops.
In response to the "kraken crisis", the city of Athens announces the inaugural Bronze Chef competition. Normally, Pelops would jump at the chance to prove himself the best celebrity chef in Greece. The trouble is, the competition’s secret ingredient is sure to be kraken—and, having once offended Poseidon, Pelops can’t cook kraken to save his life.
To make matters worse, the Chef has serious cash flow problems and the woman he secretly loves is about to marry his best friend. Meanwhile, his loathsome rival Mithaecus has vowed to win the contest by fair means or foul.
Now, Pelops must overcome the sea god’s curse to prove once and for all that he is the better chef—a task made all the more difficult by the insufferable antics of a most unexpected relative...
A worthy follow up to Food for the Gods. A quick disclaimer here: the author is a friend of mine. I was fortunate enough to go to a reading from Kraken Bake held here in Calgary, and I therefore have the advantage of hearing her lovely voice in my mind’s ear telling me the tale.
Chef Pelops is in quite a state—in fact, he has got himself so worked up that he is being an insensitive jerk to pretty much everyone around him, even the friendly gods, Dionysus and Hermes. And he has enough unfriendly gods to deal with—Hera has it out for him and Poseidon holds a deity-sized grudge. The result of the latter is that activities requiring water and/or sea creatures do not run smooth for Pelops. He cannot successfully cook Kraken under any circumstances.
I love the combination of historical facts (bread dildos, anyone?) with (somewhat altered) mythology (a Pegasus who stomps rainbows and farts flowers?) and a liberal dose of the author’s imagination (why does Perseus talk like a surfer dude anyway?). Throw in some current pop-culture (a Bronze Chef competition, you say?) and this book is a salad of fun. Karen’s sense of humour appeals to me strongly, as you might expect.
But some more serious issues are examined through Pelops’ struggles—how do we establish and maintain our reputations? How important is career success to a happy life? Who are the most important people in our lives and are we doing what we need to in order to maintain those relationships?
It’s not necessary to have read Food for the Gods in order to enjoy Kraken Bake, but what the heck, go read it too before you begin this one. We need to support originality, not to mention the Canadian publishing scene. I can’t guarantee that you will enjoy this book as much as I did, but I encourage you to give it a try.