Tagged: hera

Short Story: A Goddess’ Curse by Luciana Cavallaro

A Goddess' Curse by Luciana Cavallaro(Cover picture courtesy of Smashwords.)

Hera, Queen of the Gods, is the most powerful goddess on Mount Olympos. Beautiful, sensual, and merciless, she is a goddess renowned for her jealous rages and for inflicting horrors on hapless victims. She’s the protector of women, virtue, family and marriage yet her husband, Zeus, has had countless affairs. She puts up with it. Why? Is she really malicious or a product of circumstance?

For the first time ever in a candid interview, Hera shares what it’s like to be a goddess and wife to Zeus, the King of the Gods.

Drake Dabbler, chat show host, sees his exclusive interview with Queen Hera as a sure road to a Daytime Emmy… He should have been more thorough in his research.

[Full disclosure: Luciana Cavallaro sent me a free ebook in exchange for an honest review.]

I definitely had my doubts about A Goddess’ Curse simply because it was focusing on Hera, who is renowned throughout Greek mythology for fitting the jealous woman stereotype.  Her treatment of Zeus’ lovers was well-documented as was her part in the Trojan War.  So when I started this short story I was wondering if Luciana Cavallaro would go for the Ice Queen interpretation or something a little more sympathetic.

As it turns out, she decided on a combination of the two.  Learning about Hera in her own words through an interview with an over-zealous TV host is interesting, but the reactions she gives said TV host are priceless.  Not only do you get to see her side of the story in her own words, you get to see flashes of her personality in her interactions with other characters.  I like Luciana Cavallaro’s interpretation of Hera and I absolutely love how she stays true to the goddess’ character by revealing her actions at the end of the story.  I don’t want to spoil things, but what she does is very, very similar to what happened to some of Zeus’ lovers.

There really isn’t much more to say.  Both Drake and Hera were great characters who had interesting interactions, the plot was fast-paced and Luciana Cavallaro covered pretty much all of the topics of interest in the interview.  I’m starting to love the way she lets famous women tell their stories because telling them in third person but having the characters do an interview is very insightful.  Honestly, I wish we had a whole novel from Hera’s point of view.  Yes, A Goddess’ Curse was really that good.

I give this short story 5/5 stars.

Amazon     Barnes and Noble

Discord’s Apple by Carrie Vaughn

(Cover picture courtesy of Carrie Vaughn’s blog.)

When Evie Walker goes to spend time with her dying father, she discovers that his creaky old house in Hope’s Fort, Colorado, is not the only legacy she will inherit.  Hidden behind the basement door is a secret and magical storeroom, a place where wondrous treasures from myth and legend are kept safe until they are needed again.

Of course, this legacy is not without its costs: There are those who will give anything to find a way in.

With the help of her father, a mysterious stranger named Alex, and some unexpected heroes, Evie must guard the storeroom against ancient and malicious forces, and protect both the past and the future even as the present unravels.  Old heroes and notorious villains alike rise to fight on her side or to do their best to bring about her defeat.

At stake is the fate of the world and the prevention of nothing less than the apocalypse.

I received Discord’s Apple as a late birthday present from a friend last year, which brings me to two points.  1)  As you read this review, keep in mind that I am biased because this is not a book I would normally read.  2)  For whatever reason, when I receive books as birthday presents from friends, they always end up being late birthday presents.  This last point is nothing but trivia, however, keep in mind that I never would have read this book unless it was a gift.

Discord’s Apple is a very fast-paced book, a bit too fast for my liking, to be truthful.  To me, it seems like Carrie Vaughn sacrificed natural character development for a fast plot.  Sinon is a well-developed character, but Evie Walker, the novel’s protagonist, doesn’t seem real enough to me.  She falls in love with Sinon very suddenly and accepts that she and her father are the guardians of a magical storeroom quite readily.

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t exactly accept that Hera was after the legendary apple of Discord very quickly, especially if it was a complete stranger telling me that the apple in question was sitting in my basement.  My general feeling about the characters is that Carrie Vaughn spent far too much page time on Sinon’s backstory and neglected Evie, who had great potential as a protagonist.

Aside from the characters, I didn’t really mind Discord’s Apple.  It has a very interesting premise and Carrie Vaughn’s writing style is very clear and direct; she does not ramble on for pages about how exotic the landscapes are or how handsome Evie’s love interest is.  The ending was very satisfying in my opinion because I love symmetry.  The ending really does bring the story full circle, so that probably coloured my perception of the book as well.

So if you don’t mind a slightly unbelievable protagonist, but a decently written book with an intriguing premise, I would recommend Discord’s Apple to you.

I give this book 3.5/5 stars.

Amazon     Barnes and Noble