Monday, September 5, 2011

On Mermaids: A Review of Goddess of the Sea by P. C. Cast

A Painting by Josephine Wall
Goddess of the Sea was one of the books I attempted to read this weekend. When it comes to paranormal romance I try to suspend disbelief and just go with the story, trusting that either the author will create a plausible world or that the story will be so amusing that I won't care about implausibility. This book is a rare case in which the author wasn't successful in either manner to my great disappointment. I did a lot of skimming to the end of this book.

The premise of the book is that on her 25th birthday CC is lonely and drunk and performs a ritual in which she asks the goddess of the earth, Gaea, to bring magic into her life. The result of this is that CC switches places with Gaea's mermaid daughter, Princess Undine. She is also sent back in time to about 1014 I believe. CC is allowed to return to land as a human (in Undine's very beautiful form) but she must return to the water and transform into a mermaid every 3 days. The only way to break this cycle is to find a man, fall in love, and have him accept her completely. On land Undine is "rescued" by a hansome solicitous knight who she assumes will be the man for her. Meanwhile, she has already encountered a merman who she is drawn to, Dylan, and they enter into an erotic relationship.

Now in fairness this book had it's good parts. I liked the use of mythology/fairy tale that made the story seem familiar and comfortable. I liked a lot of the discriptive ideas, like the scene where she actually becomes a mermaid--very well written. The setting was fairly intrigueing, all though the time travel portion of it was somewhat pointless. The romance was passable. And from what I could tell, there are some interesting plot twists thrown in to keep things fresh.

My issues with this book are many. The humor is at best awkward and clumsy. It's never fully commited to. The openning scene of the book has the heroine talking to herself and pathetically drinking alone. At the same time we are supposed to believe that she's a smart professional member of the United States Air Force. I guess my problem with her character and this part of the premise is that I wanted to like her, but she's inconsistantly written. I think that the author either need to commit to making a humorous slightly ditzy character, or a smart well put together one. Or give us some background to justify the lack of consistancy. This problem carries over into the actual story as well. Half of the time the effort is made to give good logical reasons for things, and half of the time no explanation is given at all. The other major issues is that the characters are, for the most part, flat and underdeveloped. An effort is made to show that CC has a meaningful change in her worldview and character...but thats about it, everyone else is fairly static. Overall the writing is rough. 2 stars.


  1. The premise sounds fascinating. A book centered on the mythology of the Goddess Gaea and her mermaid daughter Undine sounds incredibly interesting. I do understand though how inconsistency in character or plot can affect how enjoyable a book is. Too bad, this sounds like it could have been a great book.

  2. Booker, it felt like the book was written in many drafts--like at first the author was writing a comedy, but then decided she'd rather write drama. But yes, it's a fantastic premise--maybe try it out if you can find the book cheap/free?

  3. Great review - thanks for the warning! I think I would have been interested if I had come across the book in a store, but your review makes it very clear I wouldn't enjoy it :)


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