Friday, March 4, 2011
REVIEW: Dark Goddess
Appetizer: Set three months after the events of Devil's Kiss, Billi has not really recovered from the death of *someone* (to avoid a major spoiler) she cares about. She feels nothing, and while committed to her duties as a Knight Templar, she does not really want to help nine-year-old Vasilisa, a Russian girl who is a possible oracle whose family was killed by werewolves who hope to sacrifice her to an ancient goddess.
Vasilisa is too much like Billi, who also has lost people she loved and found herself committed to the Knights Templar with little choice in the matter. To try to keep the young girl safe, they will have to go to Russia and partner with the equally secret group, the Bogatyrs.
After I began reading Dark Goddess, I quickly realized I was enjoying this book more than its predecessor, Devil's Kiss. I liked the foil between Billi's past and Vasilisa's initial concerns. I liked Ivan (one of Billi's new Russian friends in the Bogatyrs) as a love interest. I understood the tensions Billi had with him more more easily than I'd ever understood what was going on between Billi and Kay.
Generally, it was easier easier to get into Dark Goddess than I did Devil's Kiss. In this book, I already knew where the characters stood with one another, so it was easier to ease into the drama and adventure.
I did have a little trouble with Billi's redefined relationship with her father. In the first book, their difficult relationship was at the heart of the novel. Toward the end of that book, I learned more about why their relationship was so pained. Devil's Kiss did leave the possibility of some resolution. My issue with Dark Goddess was that from the beginning of the sequel, Billi and her father seemed *so* much better. The narration doesn't address their past conflicts. I really wanted the book to address that they had changed, that Billi was adjusting to her kinder, more humorous dad.
"The rottweiler's head lay in a bush, just off the snow-sprinkled path. The boy was several yards farther, its chest carved open so the ribs stuck out of the skin like a row of gruesome lollipops.
Billi covered her face with her sleeve. The cold night air was fresh with January frost, but the corpse stank of spilt intestines. The dog was, had been, brutishly big, but its size had not saved it from being torn apart" (p. 1).
"They'd been hunting the werewolf for over four months, following its bloody trail from Cornwall, Devon, through the southeast, all the way to here--Thetford Forest in East Anglia. Thirteen dead across five counties. Werewolves were territorial and only went off reservation if they were hunting something, or someone, very special" (p. 3).
"The werewolves would call her a Spring Child. They believe the goddess will reward them with a good spring and bountiful hunting if they sacrifice Oracles to her during the full moon. The spirit of the child is taken by the goddess, renewing her, and the body is eaten by the pack.
Good God," whispered Mordred.
"They're called the Unholy for a reason," replied Billi" (pp. 35-36).
"Billi knew she should feel differently by now. But there was a hollowness inside her that nothing filled. No matter how much she trained, how hard she fought, the emptiness only seemed to grow. She'd cared too much, and only realized how she felt after he'd gone.
She sat in the kitchen, looking at the tray Lance had left.
Elaine was too soft. But then she could afford to be: she wasn't a Templar.
Billi had her priorities, and looking after a little girl was way, way down on the list. Her job was to fight the Bataille Tenebreuse, the Dark Conflict. There was no room for weakness" (p. 41)
Tasty Rating: !!!!