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A Reading Vocation

"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton

This is where I chronicle my reading life.  I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.

 

SPOILER ALERT!

Book 64/100: Alpha Goddess by Amalie Howard

Alpha Goddess - Amalie Howard
I tried to read this book last year and couldn't get into it. I knew I would struggle with it this year, too, but it was the only book on my shelf that fit a certain reading challenge item, so I soldiered on.

If I were to sum this book up in one word, it would be "sloppy." The sloppy writing is what was off-putting the first time I tried to read it, and it doesn't get better as the story progresses. Part of it is that the prose is just incredibly overwritten -- I would have taken a red pen to so much of it if I were its editor. It's full of redundancies such as, "Everything will be fine," she said reassuringly. And it was littered with enough typos -- maybe a couple every 50 pages or so -- that it could have easily been mistaken for self-published. Luckily, the author did not commit the amateur mistake of "head-hopping" throughout the dual viewpoint narration; the points of view of the two main characters were neatly divided by chapters.

To be fair, part of my dislike of this book may not have been totally fair. It's a retelling, which I like, but it also follows the tropes of paranormal romance, which I do not like. It feels more like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" than the Ramayana, and teenage goddesses battling demons has never really been my cup of tea. I felt like I couldn't really judge whether the plot "worked" as a paranormal romance because the genre does so little for me even when it's written better than this was, but I do know that it felt bogged down with two many characters and different types of deities, the plot seemed to slip-slide from one place to another, and the love triangle did absolutely nothing for me (one of the dudes in the triangle was a total bore, the other more interesting but too much of a "bad boy" to really make a good partner unless he spent years in therapy dealing with his issues, such as, you know, the fact that he [helped demons kill gods in gruesome ways.])

It was a little more gory than I expected, which was also off-putting. I can't really comment on how well it works as a retelling because I know so little about the Hindu mythology on which it is based. The author's father is apparently a Brahman, so she should know her stuff, but a lot of the reviews I've read imply differently. While I like the multi-cultural approach to the genre, Sera's family doesn't really feel Indian -- her mother is at one point described as having a "typical" Indian look, and at another point as having blond hair. O-kay .... I was tempted to give this book to a friend whose father is Indian to get her insight on the Indian elements, but I just couldn't in good conscience foist such a bad book on someone I love. (I gave it to a stranger instead through a book-swapping site).