Goddess of Light
What if you have never experienced love in your existence as an immortal god? And if you have found true love with a mortal woman, can you find a way to stay with her forever? These questions are answered convincingly in the third book of P.C. Cast’s Goddess series. From the beginning, the charm of the couple and their romance made me smile widely, and I kept that smile to the very end.
Zeus gazes at the frolicking gods and goddesses in Mount Olympus. He’s proud of them for their dazzling physical beauty and allure, but thinks they’re lacking something. They have, he realizes, grown arrogant and unfeeling from being worshipped, from having immortal powers and eternal life. Zeus decides to send them down to earth, to capture the sense of humanity and genuine joy that only people seem to have.
Zeus chooses Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas because of its ostensible worship of the Greek gods. Zeus asks his son, Bacchus, to escort the others. Bacchus considers Las Vegas his realm and doesn’t want to share it, balks at his father’s request, but Zeus, asserting his authority, prevails. A resentful Bacchus then leads Artemis and Apollo and a bevy of giggly nymphs to Caesar’s Palace through a portal.
Pamela Gray, a bright, attractive divorcee who owns a successful interior design business, has an appointment at Caesar’s with a new client. Having never been to Vegas before, Pamela is stunned and appalled by her client’s request to recreate the gaudiness and tackiness of Caesar’s Palace’s décor for his vacation home. She’ll have to use all her wits to steer him toward more tasteful design choices. In the meantime, Eddie, the client, generously gives her a free weekend at the casino before she starts work the following week.
While Artemis and Apollo drink martinis, they watch mortal men entranced by the lovely nymphs. Artemis can’t help noticing her brother’s pensive mood, and prodded by her questioning, Apollo reluctantly reveals that he longs for a taste of love and doesn’t have a clue of how to get it. Although perhaps best known for being spurned by both Daphne and Cassandra, he has successfully seduced countless women. But now he wants something different, something more fulfilling.
A commotion from the nymphs catches the attention of the two gods. To their horror, they see the nymphs casting an authentic binding ritual, which could place a god under a mortal’s power. Before they can stop it, the ritual is completed, and Artemis finds herself bound by the ritual to fulfill the heart’s desire of one Pamela Gray. And Pamela has just wished for romance and a godlike man to enter her life. Hmmm, where to find a handsome, godlike man to romance a lonely divorcee?
I’ll have to admit the first fifty pages are difficult due to sorting out the various characters, but the writing is consistently engaging and readable. Cast captures the quick temper of Zeus, the emotionless intelligence of Artemis, and Apollo’s prodigious abilities. She skillfully integrates much of their history into the story, even including some ancient Greek songs. Not all the mythology is replicated faithfully; Cast twists some of it to show how the gods change and grow from their interactions with mortals.
Once the courtship begins between Pamela and Apollo, the story smooths out. The attraction between mortal and god blossoms into love in an amazingly short amount of time, but the story is well paced and, hey, this is Fantasy, after all. Toss in a cranky, haughty Artemis who demands to be unbound from the ritual, a bitter, jealous Bacchus who takes drastic measures to eject Artemis and Apollo out of his realm, and the eccentric, tasteless Eddie, who hides a big soft heart, and you have a well written, entertaining read.
Pamela is a wonderful heroine. She’s smart, warm, and funny. She’s quite talented and capable at her job, and the author provides enough just enough – but not too much – information about interior design. Pamela has been hurt very badly by her now ex-husband, and Cast adds compelling depth to her fears. Don’t worry, you won’t be forced to listen to that old broken record of “I’ve been hurt by a man, so now I can’t trust a man anymore.”
Apollo is simply adorable as he tries to win Pamela with his merits, not his powers. He wants her to love and accept him as a man, not a god. He becomes a little bewildered when problems arise given how effortlessly they fell in love, but tries hard to work things out with Pamela and then later fights hard to keep them together. Their scenes are sweet and passionate.
There are a couple of minor annoyances. Some details are outlandish but mostly unnecessary. For instance, I can believe a story of a woman divorcing her husband because she caught him cheating with his 21-year-old assistant, but why was it necessary that he wear women’s panties, pumps, and a blond wig during the act? The plethora of fashion name dropping also induces some eye rolling. It’s unbelievable how casually these people can buy Jimmy Choo and Prada shoes, Armani clothing, and so on.
Even with those niggles, I found this to be a great romance with warm, unpretentious writing. What could be better than showing how the power of love can drive a god to his grateful knees?