Goddess of the Sea
Maybe I’ve been watching too much Newlyweds, but every time I think of the title of this book, I think tuna. It’s just too close to Chicken of the Sea. Goddess of the Sea combines lavish descriptions, modern sensibilities and mythological characters for a mildly entertaining story.
Christine Canady (CC), an Air Force sergeant, decides that she needs a little magic in her life as she celebrates her 25th birthday alone. Drunk on champagne, she executes an impromptu goddess-summoning ceremony. When she wakes up the next day, surprisingly not hung over, there do seem to be hints of magic around her. Men start falling all over her as they never have before, a woman no one else can see saves her from certain death, and a stranger gives her an amber amulet. CC chalks it up to weird coincidences and prepares to leave on her temporary assignment out of the country. Afraid of flying – despite being part of the Air Force – CC’s worst fears come true as her plane crashes into the ocean. On the brink of death, CC is saved by a beautiful mermaid. The only catch is, the mermaid switches bodies with her. CC is left in an unfamiliar time with an unfamiliar body.
CC faces a major threat in her new life as the mermaid princess Undine. Sarpedon, her brother (ick!!!) and fellow merman, wants to marry her. He nearly rapes her and sends her running. The goddess Gaea, Undine/CC’s mother, rescues her and gives her a human form. As long as CC is on land, Gaea, goddess of Earth, can protect her. She finds shelter in a monastery while pretending to be a shipwrecked princess with no memory. As in The Little Mermaid fairy tale, CC must find true love to retain her human form.
Right off the bat, I had a problem with Cast’s style of writing. Her descriptions are so lavish that they border on purple. She definitely gives readers a great sense of what’s going on, but she could scale back on the lavish descriptions. I started skimming on about page 15, and that’s never a good thing.
CC is an engaging character, but sometimes she is too exuberant. Her enthusiasm for life is obvious, but she comes across as too youthful sometimes. CC has only a few moments of disbelief at her new life, then accepts it. On the one hand, there was nothing she could do about it, so not whining was refreshing. On the other hand, her gusto for her new life was a little unsettling, shouldn’t she be a tad uneasy?
The hero, merman Dylan, is a sensitive, romantic kind of guy. He was almost a little too sensitive for my taste. “I will always be here waiting for you, my love.” Well, hey, if the guy has nothing better to do. Seriously, though, Dylan was a pretty one note guy. A nice, loving guy, but there still wasn’t much to him.
CC and Dylan come together about midway through the book. They know they love each other, thus ending part of CC’s mandate. However, they still faced the external conflict of Sarpedon since CC will have to keep her mermaid form to be with Dylan. The Big Miscommunication in the book is not between CC and Dylan, but is between Gaea and Lir, god of the sea and Undine/CC’s father. I thought their story took entirely too long to resolve. CC and Dylan clearly belong together, and the resolution to their story was satisfying.
The secondary characters especially CC’s maid, Isabel, and the kitchen servants added some levity to the story and a good dose of girl power. The threat from Abbot William of the monastery and Sarpedon added a sense of urgency, but they also managed to clutter up the story.
There were several good things in the book. Gaea was a wise, motherly creature who added the perfect touch to balance the somtimes flighty CC. Their relationship truly was mother/daughter, even though they really weren’t. CC’s humor helped defuse some of her bad situations. When Gaea and Lir came together to resolve the situations at the end, they truly seemed like great gods. I’d have liked more of them together in the story.
Mermaid sex, girl power, Holy Mothers and mythological creatures – Cast covers a whole lot of areas in this story. If you can take all that, more power to you. Personally, I could have done with less CC and Dylan and more Gaea and Lir.