Review of “The Goddess Legacy” by Aimée Carter

Ever since I opened my Ancient Greece history book in the 4th grade, I’ve been circling around the mystery and intrigue of Greek mythology.   Greek myths hold a lot of potential for retelling.  They present a new angle of life and observation.   And I already know someday I’m going to join the club of authors who have retold many Greek myths in new and exciting ways.

Aimée Carter is one of these authors.  I really enjoyed The Goddess Test but got in a huff over Goddess Interrupted.  The former introduced an amazing main character and a new twist on my favorite Greek myth.  The latter ruined my perception of the former and…I thoroughly did not enjoy it.  But The Goddess Legacy was…inspiring.

When I first read the synopsis, I already was thinking this novel by Carter was going to be different.  Happily, it was extremely different.  Five major Greek gods get to tell parts of their life stories in their own words: Hades, god of the dead; Hermes, messenger of the gods; Aphrodite, goddess of love; Persephone, queen of the Underworld; and Hera, goddess of heaven.  Calliope had no scruples and appeared to be dominantly evil.  At first I liked James, but Goddess Interrupted turned that opinion around.  Henry seemed so strong a character, but when it came to emotions, he also seemed to lack backbone.  A flirt from the start, Ava’s personality needed expanding.  And as for misunderstood Persephone…here is a love-hate story unlike any other.

The Goddess Legacy surprised me.  Enlightened me.  And gave me a new perspective of Greek mythology that was bright and dark at the same time.

The author made me feel for each of the characters.  Reading each novella separately, I was rooting for each of them—except perhaps James, whom I still didn’t like much anymore.  Some of the main characters were against each other, but understanding each of them helped me to see so much more behind every story as the novel progressed.  I sympathized with Hera’s need for loyalty and her longing to be loved, as well as her agonizing marriage with Zeus.  I enjoyed Aphrodite’s quest for true love and how she found it in an unexpected person.  Persephone only wanted the freedom of choice and to find happiness, but she only ended up hated by everyone…until she found the wonderful Adonis.  With James…he learned about the pain of loss indeed through a biting lesson.  Hades’s narrative wasn’t as disappointing as reviewed; I liked how Carter circled back to Kate and explained Henry’s low self-esteem and lack of faith in love.  And there were so many Greek myths entwined into the novellas!  The first-person narration was an insightful choice, even though Henry managed to evade that.

The style of the narrative was very thrilling, as by the end I felt that The Goddess Legacy had successfully pieced together its puzzles and matched all the characters’ experiences in one time frame.  The emotions portrayed were warm and deep, the storyline credible and very realistic.  Humanity was mirrored by the gods’ personalities and problems, all their vices and weaknesses relating back to Carter’s original thoughts on the deities in The Goddess Test.  The reader has a chance to see through the eyes of the protagonists and the antagonists…and then decide that judgment is impossible.  For a story about gods and goddesses, The Goddess Legacy has a very human edge to it, an edge that makes it captivating in the midst of a very detailed, very unusual lost world of beginnings, endings, and eternities.

I had fun with The Goddess Legacy.   It’s a touching retelling of Greek myths unlike any other.

Natalie Gorna

Uncertainty is a killer – so is inactivity

Thought #1: Me and the Examiner.  Not.  I’ve made my decision to publish infrequently in order to keep my webpages active, but I’m at a standstill.  What’s next, you think?  What direction I am headed in now?  Resounding silence from my creative spirit.  Of course.

Thought #2: I just looked at a site which compiled hundreds of freelance writing gigs.  I was immediately exhausted.  Totally exhausted.  One look, and you’d understand what I mean.

Thought #3: Why does there have to be a 2-week hiatus until the next Once Upon a Time episode?  They’re torturing us fans with suspense and longing over here. (loud growls from fellow spectators)

Thought #4 (a big one):  What do they mean, they don’t want any outside ideas for Merlin?  One of the best TV shows out there today and they won’t even consider new scriptwriters or even stupendous ideas for the plot!  Like mine, for example.

Now that Arthur and Gwen are married (thank you, season 4), the romantic spotlight has to be shifted significantly on either Merlin or the Knights of the Round Table.  First idea: Gwen has a job opening.  For a lady-in-waiting/servant.  Well, she was Morgana’s servant for years, after all.  And if Arthur has Merlin, why couldn’t Gwen have a lady-in-waiting?  After all, someone else needs to find out about Merlin’s secret, provide some sort of romantic touch to the story.  Perhaps this mysterious new female figure could be Merlin’s romance?  No worries about royal status.  She even become friends with Merlin and Gaius, be interested in magic.

From left to right: Guinevere, Gaius, Morgana,...
From left to right: Guinevere, Gaius, Morgana, Merlin, Arthur, and Uther

Or if this new girl turns out to be another traitor like Agravaine, we could look to the knights for an uplift.  Gawaine is pretty famous for his part in the Arthurian legend about Lady Ragnell.  I can totally see Merlin‘s Gawaine forced to marry an enchanted beastly woman on a matter of honor and then find true love when the spell is broken through the right actions of his own just heart.  Or what about Tristan?  Is he going to become a Knight of Camelot?  Don’t forget Mordred.  Not only does he know Merlin’s secret and his secret identity, he’s friends with Morgana.  Even in the “original” legends, Mordred spelled trouble in bold, big letters.  Then there’s the matter of the baby girl dragon, and Lancelot’s death.  I’ve been thinking about how Merlin deviates from the basics of many Arthurian legends but sticks to the true fundamentals, like how Merlin’s weakness is his compassionate heart or how Arthur’s weakness is his tendency to trust people too deeply and surely.  It’s a great show.  Season 5 is going to be big.  But I still want to be a part of Merlin somehow.  Despite the indirect rejection.  Because I have a LOT of great ideas for it.  Hmph.

Thought #6:  I really have to start thinking seriously about the novels I want to write.  Creating sub-plots for a TV show are just the tip of the iceberg that is my creativity wanting to break out and melt over my mind.  I have awesome ideas (well, they are!) for a Helen of Troy story intertwined with the Iliad and the Odyssey stories and another for retelling the Greek myth of Persephone and Hades.  I know the finished product could be splendid if I work hard.  I just don’t want to mess up, or worse, find out that I’m no novelist, just some pathetic review writer.  I want to be able to create.  Creating something of that magnitude, like a book, is as momentous as child-bearing.  You’re creating new life, a new world.  You’re building a brand-new door that other people, including yourself, will be able to open forever and see into your mind, your soul, and the souls of the characters you’ve resurrected or brought to life.  It’s magnificent, that feeling of being and making and modeling…art brings a sense of purpose to a person.  It’s…magnetizing.  But I have to get over my fears and try…at least brainstorm.  And who knows…maybe once I start, I won’t be able to stop.

Thought #7: I’m done thinking and analyzing for now.  I want to read.  Maybe write.  Thanks again, NetGalley, for thrilling new reads currently unpublished. 😉

Natalie Gorna