Once they ruled the world. Now they’re the subject of myth and legend. But the Greek gods and goddesses of Olympus are still very much a part of the world, as Kate Winters found out. Kate may be one of them now – immortal and god-like – but she is still getting to know these people who have become her family. In this collection of stories, readers are given glimpses into the private lives of the gods and goddesses, glimpses that may help explain how they become the people Kate knows.
This is not technically a review of Aimee Carter’s The Goddess Legacy. I’m didn’t officially finish reading the entire book, so I don’t think I could do this book – and Carter – justice by reviewing it. However, since I did have ALL THE THOUGHTS about some of the stories (and, in particular, the characters), I did want to write something. So here are those thoughts.
In Carter’s Goddess trilogy novels, Hera/Calliope is the antagonist and source of conflict for our heroine, Kate. In the first novella in this collection, Carter tries to show readers how Hera became the villian, detailing her frustrations and disappointments. We see her chafing against gender expectations, pushing back against Zeus and his leadership. We see her pain and heartbreak over his betrayals and affairs, her constant desire for more – more responsibility, more power, more control. Carter tries to show readers the other side of Hera, the side that is constantly beaten down by those around her, constantly thwarted as she reaches for her goals.
I certainly understand what Carter was trying to depict and I know I was supposed to feel differently about Hera after learning her history, but… I didn’t. I still loathed Hera. If anything, I hated her more after reading her novella. From the very start, she is bitter, petty, vengeful and proud. Every setback, every obstacle in her path serves only to harden her resolve and make her more determined to seek revenge on those she sees as being against her. Maybe I could have forgiven her for these character traits if I saw some sign of growth or change in perspective. But the Hera at the start of the story is the same as the Hera at the end of the story – she thinks only of herself and how events and decisions affect her. She attempts to manipulate the other gods and goddesses towards her own selfish goals and vows retribution when it doesn’t work. I just….hated her.
Since Hera’s story came first in The Goddess Legacy, I found it difficult to move on to the other stories. I was tempted to give up reading the book altogether, because I truly disliked Hera’s character that much. In the end, I ended up skimming and speeding reading the other stories, just to get a sense of them. My intense dislike of Hera in the first story affected my enjoyment of the rest of the book. Perhaps if the stories had been reordered, I’d feel differently. But I just found it hard to move past that first story and enjoy the rest of the book. I wish I had been able to.
As far as the other stories went, I felt as if Carter was trying to justify the behavior of the gods and goddesses, when there wasn’t a lot of legitimate justification. Like Hera’s story, Persephone and James’ stories intended to show these characters in a different light, explain their histories and ask readers to consider them from a new perspective. Ultimately, though, I still didn’t feel swayed from my original positions. There just isn’t a lot that redeems these characters and, with Kate’s absence from the narrative, there wasn’t a lot to keep me interested.
I will still read Carter’s The Goddess Inheritance when it’s published next spring. I’m anxious to know how Kate’s story will end and I’m simultaneously hoping for her happy ending and Hera/Calliope’s comeuppance. I appreciate what Carter was trying to do with The Goddess Legacy, but ultimately it just didn’t work for me. Luckily, since it serves as a complement to the main novels in the series, you can still read the full-length novels and enjoy them.
I received an e-ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
[Photo Credit: Goodreads]