Berkley Sensation, $5.99, ISBN 0-425-19279-2
Fantasy Romance, 2003
Former independently-published author PC Cast’s latest offering Goddess of the Sea can’t be accused of being formulaic. This take of The Little Mermaid is an interesting and imaginative romance story. Shame about the actual execution of the story. Now, I wonder if I can get someone to make me a grilled fillet out of the supremely annoying mermaid heroine Christine “CC” Canady.
Christine is an Air Force Sergeant. I would expect someone to have graduated from military training will be able to get her act together, but Christine is a mess. The first chapter alone sees her talking to her phone (her phone, not someone at the other line), and I’m supposed to find this adorable, I guess. Then Christine announces that she’s scared of flying. And she’s an Air Force Sergeant? And they sent her to the Middle-East to do that terrorist-asskicking thing? Is Ms Cast joking? I guess I can accept an Air Force Sergeant whining about her single state, but it is a really tough buy that this ditz is a military person.
An old lady gives her some magic talisman and spell thingies and our heroine casts a goddess spell. When her plane crashes into the ocean – there’s a punchline here somewhere, I bet – she wakes up to find herself a mermaid named Undine in an alternate dimension and place where magic still exists. The only person that knows of Undine being Christine is Undine’s mother, the goddess Gaea, and Undine’s friend and long-time secret admirer merman Dylan. If you can sort out how a merman can be called Dylan when everyone else’s name is straight out of The Handbook of Overused Fantasy Names, let me know. Undine has to flee the amorous pursuit of her half-brother Sarpedon and she flees right to the arms of the prince, Andras. Undine is supposed to love Andras, but why then does her heart goes pitter-patter for Dylan? Oh dear.
This story has plenty of potential, but the author is more intent on casting herself as the heroine in this story (Christine calls herself “CC” in this story) and the whole Mary Sue tale that is Goddess Of The Sea soon becomes tedious. Every man loves Undine in this story, except for a nasty Abbot, and to be honest, I have no idea why. Sarpedon wants Undine. Dylan loves Undine. Gaea loves Undine. Andras loves Undine. Why? Undine/Christine is such an emptyheaded ditz. The author probably thinks it’s “precious” or “funny” that every male is besotted when the heroine flutters her eyelashes and runs around the place acting like a dummy pill, but I am far from amused. Dylan is flat – the only personality he has is that he will love Undine forever and ever and ever. Andras is just as flat – he too loves Undine forever and ever and ever – until the author decides to chicken out and demonize Andras (no great loss, it’s not as if Andras is anything but cardboard anyway). Sarpedon is a cartoon villain – he wants Undine, bwahahaha. The Abbot – how many woman-hating religious wackos do we need anyway?
The Goddess mythology is interesting, but that’s the best thing about this book. The characters are throwaway fluffs and the heroine is a transparent placeholder for the author getting her jollies off by starring in a story where every hunky guy loves PC, er, CC. The humor is stilted too, as if flat characters aren’t bad enough.
Goddess of the Sea will need a little less of the author forcing herself on the reader and a little more – a lot more, actually – character development and substantive plot. If the author wants to write about her beauteous and precious tee-hee-hee self being chased by horny fish men up and down the place, may I suggest a lovely place called fanfiction.net instead?