The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden

“Nicky Drayden’s debut novel “The Prey of Gods” (Harper Voyager) is delightfully unlike most science fiction out there. Drayden mixes folklore, urban fantasy and science fiction in her futuristic South Africa to dazzling effect. In this entertaining tale, a new drug called Godspeed hits the street. It causes users to hallucinate, to see themselves as animal creatures; sometimes it draws out peculiar powers. Teenage Muzi, grappling with his sexuality and his heritage, finds that the drug lets him manipulate people. His path, and that of his personal AI bot, crosses that of a pop star at the pinnacle of her career, a young politician who dreams of stardom and a little girl from a poor village learning to control her awesome power. Together, they must stop a goddess hungry for world-domination. The plot can get a bit (too) twisty and complex—memories! gods! AI revolutions! But it showcases characters not often seen in popular fiction, and amid the fast-paced action, touches on relevant race and class issues. Ultimately, it’s a book about coming to terms with your true self.” — Washington Post