Jamie Marchant stopped by and asked me to review her book, The Goddess’s Choice, for RIM. It’s fantasy, and who doesn’t love fantasy, so I said, “Sure! Shoot me a copy and I’ll give it a read.” She sent me a copy and I settled in to read. The book is based on the Norwegian fairy tale “The Princess and the Glass Hill.”
Overall, this was a rather entertaining read. There were some flaws, however, both in craft and basic nuts and bolts. For the ebook version (I have a Nook Tablet), the formatting was all over the place. Since it was an entertaining read, I’m won’t consider that a deal breaker. It was pretty disctracting, though. I do not know if the paperback version of the book has the same formatting issues. I also found a typo or two while I was reading. I’m a bit less forgiving on that point. For craft, the first chapter went out of its way to make sure you knew that everyone considered Robbie a demon. It was a bit heavy handed. Also, the book makes a big deal out of Solar keeping the peace between the joined kingdoms, but we really don’t get a lot of why that matters. I’d let it go, but there are several places where the importance of maintaining the peace is mentioned. In fact, the bulk of the story revolves around Samantha refusing to marry the court suitors, which she needs to do to help maintain the peace. It would have been nice to find out some of that history. Oh well, moving on to the good stuff.
I liked that Samantha was an aurora and Robbie was an amihealer. I enjoyed the way those abilities complicated the story for the characters. I thought the divide within the Church of Sulis was very well done. I had not heard of the fairy tale she based the story on prior to reading the book, and I don’t think you really need to. The elements don’t need the tale to justify them being in the story. If you are familiar with the tale, you will definitely recognize the elements from it that Marchant incorprates. The story was paced well, and there is a good mix of romance with action. There are some rather graphic scenes, so there’s that. I’m not off-put by them, but if you’re considering letting a younger person read it…well, perhaps you should reconsider that. I did appreciate that the graphic nature of the scenes accomplish a purpose beyond just being graphic. Duke Argblutal is a very bad man and these scenes do a good job of showing that. The one thing I had a very big problem with was when Samantha was hearing about Captain Tremayne and how he raped a young woman. I think it was the woman’s father who exclaims that it’s an experience worse than death and the author has Samantha thinking it was no such thing. Bad move. For some women, death would be far kinder than the hell they’ve experienced at the hands of a rapist and for the author to not only suggest otherwise, but to do it from the strong female heroine, is inexcusable.
So, there you have it. Beyond the one major gaffe, the story is an entertaining read. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. I’d give it 4 out of 5 without the rape apologist comment. This is book one in a series of books, so I’m hoping that the future books will be better proofread and better formatted. Also, leave the rape apologetics at home.