Gods & Lies: Season 1, Elizabeth Vail; Cary Hite & Sarah Mollo-Christensen, narrators (Serial Box, $9.99, 7 episodes, digital download, 5.5 hr., unabridged) November-December 2019.
Serial Box continues to fuel my love for SF/F buddy-cop dramas with this slightly predictable yet incredibly adorable romantic mystery mini-series.
Set in a modern city in an alternate world where the gods take an active role among mortals, Justix Iris Tharro, priestess and investigator for the goddess Themia, Huntress of Justice, is tasked with looking into the mysterious death of Pippa Marwol, Favored of the wind god Aestros and discovered in the form of a mutilated kestrel. She reluctantly accepts the assistance of Andymion “Andy” Eriki, a demigod with a slightly shady reputation who has his own interests in the matter. Their inquiries lead them to the dangerous black market of forbidden divine relics, and into a number of snarky dialogues and misunderstandings that bespeak a quickly growing, and potentially ill-advised, attraction between the two. As Andy’s protective feelings for Iris bring him perilously close to invoking the wrath of his divine parent, the Sea Mother, Iris is unpleasantly reminded that it is not only mortals who flout the law, but that pursuing justice against the gods is outside of her remit.
There’s a sprightly he-said, she-said flow to the story, recounted through the alternating perspectives of Iris and Andy and each voiced by a separate narrator. As per most Serial Box productions, the story provides an entire audio landscape, with sound effects that turn this from an episodic story into a fully dimensional sound drama reminiscent of old radio serials. Serial Box offers subscribers the option to switch back from text to audio; my advice is to always try the audio, which I think is a more immersive experience and tends to suit the story better. For example, when the gods speak in the text, it’s rendered in Italics; when you switch to audio, that dialogue is remixed with a ringing, metallic tone that injects that extra dash of the otherworldly.
Not many surprises, but charming and comic; sure hope there’s a season two.
This review and more like it in the April 2020 issue of Locus.
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