Author: P.C. Cast
Genre(s): paranormal romance, fantasy
Part of a Series: Yes
Why I Read It: The summary seemed interesting
Synopsis: Christine “CC” Canady is a communications officer in the US Air Force even though she does not like to fly. She lives an otherwise average life until the night of her 25th birthday. Celebrating alone with champagne, fried chicken and a movie, CC decides to change her life. She uses an ancient ritual to the Greek goddess Gaea and feels a change in herself. After receiving a talisman from a strange lady, CC boards a plane for her next assignment. Over the Mediterranean Sea, the plane falls apart and she is close to drowning when she makes a deal with a mermaid. She is whisked away to a strange land where the ancient gods exist, where knights are still chivalrous and where danger lurks around her. But amidst this, she may also find love.
Review: I’ve been more interested in paranormal romance after writing my NaNoWriMo project. But except for my Buffy phase many moons ago, I never really got into vampires. Witches and goddesses were my preferences. So when I went scouring for some new reading material (because my “To Read” shelf on Goodreads isn’t several pages long), I was intrigued by the summaries for P.C. Cast’s “Goddess Summoning” series. So I picked up the first one to read on my vacation.
CC drew me into the story. She is a character many women can relate to: she’s average. She’s not some beauty with men fawning over her. Most men, according to CC, treat her more like a sister than girlfriend material. And she doesn’t have the greatest social life; after all, she’s celebrating her birthday alone. But after she performs the ceremony to Gaea, she feels changed. More confident. And other people notice. Including men.
I liked this, when I thought the message P.C. Cast was sending here was that beauty doesn’t come from the outside, but how we feel on the inside. But then this message is blown up when CC switches bodies with the mermaid Undine, who is described as a buxom blonde who does have men falling at her feet. Then it seemed the message was beauty brings its own problems. After all, upon switching with Undine, CC is nearly raped by a merman. Gaea comes to her rescue and changes CC back into a human to protect her. Like in the “Little Mermaid,” CC must find true love with a human to remain one herself. She doesn’t have a time limit to do so, but she does have to return to her mermaid form every three days because of its connection to the sea. During her time as a human, her body yearns for the sea and if she doesn’t return, the pain will kill her. It’s a nice twist and adds some tension to the story.
Before getting to shore, CC meets Undine’s childhood friend and merman, Dylan. He helps her swim to shore in her human form and promises to protect her. Meanwhile, she is rescued on land by Andras, a Welsh knight. These are the two men who form our triangle, except it really isn’t much of a triangle. CC tries to love Andras just because she thinks it will help her remain human but the feelings do not come to her. And the reason isn’t because Andras is a jerk—Cast plays him as a product of his (medieval) time. Dylan, though, isn’t well defined as the other love interest. He is just there to be the ideal lover.
So the romance side of the story is weak. Steamy, but weak. Ms. Cast does little to build a relationship before diving straight into the sex. And Dylan’s prior relationship with the real Undine is a bit troubling and handwaved, in my opinion. It was like Cast crammed too much into the story to flesh out the relationship.
Or the setting. I was a bit confused about where and when exactly the majority of the story took place. At first, it seemed to be some other dimension where the gods and goddesses live together—as Ms. Cast mixes up the gods. The Earth goddess is always referred to by her Greek name—Gaea—while the god of the sea is always referred to by his Irish name—Lir. The reason for the mishmosh is never given, which makes it all the more odd. And then it is revealed Undine is in 12th century Wales. It was like Ms. Cast mixed a paranormal romance with a historical one and didn’t explain things as well as they could’ve. If she was back in the past, why couldn’t people see the gods regularly? Or if they could, why did she have to go into the past?
There are a few other things which bother me about this book. As a Catholic, the flat out statements about Mary and Gaea being one and the same offended me. In fact, I did not see why Christianity was dragged into the story at all. Another thing which bothered me was how much the author left unanswered. Especially about one of her villains, Abbot William. He is a menacing figure who remains an enigma by the end of the book. And there is a major twist which gives rise to the need for more answers.
Bottom Line: What I call a good rainy day read—something to read when you just want to pass the time. Too bad the author seemed to want to say something but never was quite clear on the message.
Sex: Yes and quite a few scenes. There is also a mention of masturbation. And after the body swap, CC explores her new body in scenes which grow quite sexual.
Vampires, werewolves, witches or goddesses?