Berkley Sensation, $6.99, ISBN 0-425-19749-2
Fantasy Romance, 2004
When I was twelve, I loved to write stories. Every story would star a beautiful little girl who looked just like the ideal me in my fantasy – tall, strikingly beautiful, has big breasts, talks to and bonds with animals, super talented and ambitious, yet feminine enough to be “respected” as a woman, everyone falls in love with her, and every other woman is wildly jealous. Okay, I have long grown out of shameless self-pleasuring fanfiction designed solely to have me place myself as the perfect (but oh so oblivious to it because she’s so ditsy – and cute, OHMIGOSH, SO CUTE!!! – that way – DID I MENTION CUTE?!!!!!) heroine wandering in some la-la land.
You know what reading PC Cast’s Goddess of Spring reminds me of? Wading through the sewers of a fangirl board and enduring countless asinine discussions like “Ryan+Marissa=Maryan 4eva!!!!”, “cLaY AiKeNz RuLeZ!!! FaNTaSiA SuX bCuZ ShE Is NO cLAy (MARRY ME CLAY!!!!11111)”, and “Two Tree Hills: Exploring the Freudian homoerotic undertones in the Hemingwayian feud between Luke and Nathan”. Okay, I made that last up just to rile up the silly girlies on those boards. This book makes me feel like I’m reading a Mary Sue fiction of a week dedicated to daydreamy thirteen-year old girls everywhere and trust me, in this instance, it’s not a good thing.
The Mary Sue heroine, appropriately named Carolina Francesca Santoro (I was partial to Crystal Aurora Maximilliana Nightingale myself in my twelve-year old doodling, but I think Ms Cast has one up on me there), is a baker who bakes like, oh my god, the best bread stuff ever. Crystal, by the way, is the best vet ever and she even heals wounded birds for free, which is how she met the hunky Max Kennedy Arthur Powerstuff when he was fighting the evil Russians and he ended up at her doorstep needing help – oh, how romantic, but let’s get back to Lina. Lina’s evil accountant ran off with her money so now she is broke and worse, owing the IRS a huge pile of money.
Lina decides to get some dough by moving into the catering business and tries out a recipe in Recipes and Spells for the Goddess in Every Woman even if it asks for her to do some bizarre things to Demeter. The recipe works in a way: Lina is sent before the Greek goddess Demeter where Demeter offers a trade: Lina will switch bodies with Demeter’s daughter Persephone and spend six months making the good souls comfy in Hades. No, we’re not talking about setting up brothels (come on, Mary Sue heroines don’t give out) – Lina will have to make everybody happy, especially the hunky Hades (Mary Sue heroines love safe men pretending to be tortured ).
And so the story goes. Fans of plot will have a hard time mustering patience as Sweet Perfect Lina gambols in the Elysian fields like some happy hee-hee heroine. Everyone loves her, of course, from Hades to Apollo, because she’s so beautiful, so perfect, just the way she is, and the ones who hate her are just jealous and they will so PAY PAY PAY when Lina and Hades get married and kick all their asses to Hades, so there! Ah, sweet, sweet Lina, how sweet she is, how wonderful she is: a perfect lover, a perfect sweet and innocent little girl with a porn star’s body, so sensitive and understanding, so talented and extraordinary without trying – she’s just created perfect. Just like Crystal. Which I created when I was twelve. Since it’s been ages since I was that much of a twit, I’m afraid I have little patience for thinly-veiled Mary Sue fantasies masquerading as a romance novel. For the next book, how about some real conflict? Let’s leave the daisy-plucking self-pleasuring doodling to the real adolescents.