Berkley Sensation, $6.99, ISBN 0-425-20196-1
Fantasy Romance, 2005
Reading PC Cast’s Goddess of Spring is like trying to have a conversation with a Mary Sue heroine. I fast become bored of the fact that the world has to revolve around her and wish that something interesting, be it a piano falling from the sky right onto Mary Sue or something more benign, will happen.
Zeus decides that his children have grown too spoiled and they are taking things for granted so he decides to stick them in mortal bodies and send them down to earth. To Vegas, which we all know is the bastion of stability in human civilization. In this story, our heroine Pamela Gray has a mysterious client that wants her to renovate a Vegas holiday home to resemble Caesar’s Palace and she is aghast at such an idea until she meets the mortal version of the god Apollo. A lot of other things happen in this story – a lot – to the point that the romance is just a drop in the ocean, so to speak, in the story. There are Bacchus scheming to get rid of his sisters and brothers from Vegas and Artemis shouting at me to buy her book, for example. The gay thing pervalent among the Greek gods, as pervalent as incest, is of course absent here. Apollo’s lost loves are Daphne and Cassandra, with Narcissus being taken out of the equation. The only thing gay here is Pamela’s assistant who is of course straight out of the Bobby Trendy hall of fame. Oh, and Pamela’s ex wears female undergarments but that’s not really gay – he’s just into crossdressing as much as adultery.
I find Pamela pretty flat because her character is rarely developed beyond the fact that she’s been cheated on by her ex and she’s all-round perfect and hot. She and Apollo fall in love over ten days or so but I suppose it’s understandable given how perfect Pamela is and how everyone loves her. Apollo is completely retconned – between the previous book Goddess of Spring and this one he’s been stripped down of most of his melodramatic “I’m a man slut because I’m hurt by love, baby!” angst to the point of flatness. Ms Cast’s explanation is simply that his love for Pamela changes him into a better person. See? Pamela is perfect and she makes this world a better place if you can only love her. I find Artemis and Bacchus more interesting than the main characters so if this author is going to do to them what she’s done to Apollo here, I’m now scared for them.
The story is very busy but because I find many of the key players in this story one-note and inadequately developed characters, I find myself not really getting into the story as much as I’d like. I get some laugh out of some unintentional comedy in this story, though, such as Pamela saying that Apollo will never control her like her ex-husband did. I think of all the things Apollo was said to have done to those women who rejected him in the past in the last book alone (forcing Daphne to turn into a tree, punishing Cassandra to such a degree just for saying no to him, and burning what’s-her-name for cheating on him) and burst out laughing. Ms Cast isn’t subtle at all in her retcon of Apollo from the creep boyfriend who can’t take no for an answer to Mr Mary Sue in this book.
Goddess of Light is a very busy book in which I have to be intensely enamored of the characters in order to get into the celebration of all things Pamela and amazing, and unfortunately I don’t. This book is primarily fluff with little consideration given to character development or continuity. Ultimately, it’s just too light in substance for my liking.