Ever wonder about what the gods of Greek mythology would be up to if they existed in today’s world? Well, Josephine Angelini has decided to put her own spin on it with a YA trilogy that began with “Starcrossed” and has concluded with “Goddess”.
“Goddess” wraps up the story that began with Helen and Lucas, both descendants of the Greek gods. Remember all those trysts with mortals that the gods indulged in? Well, the results are demigods, called Scions. All the Scions belong to one of four houses, and each Scion is born with the face of a well-known Greek figure, such as Paris of Troy, Achilles, Menelaus, Agamemnon, and so forth. It actually becomes difficult to keep track of who is what figure as more and more characters are introduced, since the reincarnated faces do not align themselves with specific houses.
There is a prophecy by the Oracle that when the blood of the houses are mixed, a Tyrant will appear that is capable of bringing complete and utter destruction. This is to be one of the Scions, but it remains a mystery to all, including the Tyrant, as to who it is. Each Scion is born with different powers, e.g. produce lightening, determine truth from lies, descend to the Underworld, fly, etc., and one of the houses is doing everything it can to eliminate the other houses. When that happens, another prophecy will be fulfilled, one that grants immortality and gives rise to Atlantis once again.
Before that happens, a play must pan out with a very specific ending determined by the Fates. Until this ending is achieved, all the major players in that play are reincarnated to try again. The twelve major Greek gods, who were previously imprisoned after the last war, are now unleashed, accidentally by Helen. In an attempt to correct their previous mistake of allowing their offspring to survive, the gods are eliminating all the mortals they have an “encounter” with, in addition to unleashing their wrath on the earth in the form of unprecedented natural disasters.
Compared to the first two books, a lot more character development and plot unveiling takes place in “Goddess.” It almost seemed to me that because this was to be the wrap-up book, all the details that were withheld in the other books were all of a sudden being dumped out. At the same time, still more characters are being introduced while others change into different roles. Trying to keep track of who is what Greek/Trojan character and their part in the Fates’ drama becomes a bit tedious, taking away from what would otherwise be a very fascinating worldbuild.
Then there is the so-called love triangle between Helen, Lucas, and Orion. A key ingredient in YA novels today, this particular love triangle fell rather flat very early on in “Goddess” after it was introduced in the second book. It is very obvious where Helen’s heart lies, and Orion himself doesn’t put up much of a fight. Hardly worth all the hype that was built up around it.
I love the complexity of Orion’s character and his triumph despite his past. If his character been written to be more of a close confidante rather than the required third party in the triangle, it would have brought more intricacy to the plot and be a lot more satisfying, in my opinion.
Speaking of complex characters, Helen’s mother, Daphne, was one that really kept surprising me with her consistently selfish motives and actions. I kept expecting her motherly instincts to make some appearance, but no. It was not to be. Even her sacrifice at the end was made out of vengeance. The fact that it happened to benefit Helen while putting herself in a good light, was just a bonus that she even admitted, albeit only to the reader. Helen gladly embraced this ultimate sacrifice by her mother as the revealing of Daphne’s true character. Just goes to show no matter what sins the parents commit, their children still crave their love and acceptance and readily grasp at whatever straw shows itself.
An interesting layer to the worldbuilding was the weaving in of other myths. Camelot and King Arthur became part of Helen’s past as she relived her memories through her dreams. Morgan le Faye was a Scion that created Avalon with her powers, and Atlantis was also another world created by a Scion.
There is a lot going on in this book to bring everything to a close. Even so, it didn’t become a real page-turner until more than halfway through. The world of Scions and their part in the Fates’ machinations was intriguing enough. I rather liked the secondary characters like Orion and Hector so much more than Helen and Lucas. I’m still glad I saw this trilogy to the end and would recommend it to those who want to read an interesting twist on Greek mythology.
Review also posted on Fantasy-Faction.com