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Oh My Goddess, You Guys

Amalie Howard’s Alpha Goddess takes us on a fiery trip through heaven, hell, and high school.

Oh My Goddess, You Guys

BOOK REPORT for Alpha Goddess by Amalie Howard

Cover Story: Peek-a-boo, Goddess Style
BFF Charm: Maybe in a Few Years
Swoonworthy Scale: 4
Talky Talk: Secrets, Lies, and Betrayal
Bonus Factor: Hindu Deities
Anti-Bonus Factor: Love Triangle
Relationship Status: Better Off Friends

Cover Story: Peek-a-boo, Goddess Style

I usually don’t like Big Face covers, but I thought this one was done pretty well – Sera’s hands cover her face enough that the reader can actually imagine what she looks like.  The henna on her hands is beautiful and reinforces that she is half-Indian, while the yellow nail polish reminds us that she’s a modern sixteen-year-old. 

The Deal:

Sixteen-year-old high school student Serjana (Sera) Caelum has been waking up from nightmares of demons for awhile now.   Turns out that she’s your average high school student, but also the Hindu goddess Lakshmi reborn – surprise!  As a child born to parents from different immortal worlds, she is meant to be the balance between heaven and hell, but the Lord of Death has different plans for her – he’d like to use her to unleash hell on earth. Meanwhile, she’s torn between the attentions of her longtime best friend Kyle, a ne’er do well with a heart of gold, and Devendra (Dev), a mysterious, irresistible tattooed boy who came into her life eight months prior.  When her birthright is revealed and the Lord of Death makes his move, Sera finds herself in a world of chaos.

BFF Charm: Maybe in a Few Years

I haven’t met many people who dealt with being sixteen well – the hormones raging, the horrors of high school, and parents who just don’t understand, let alone finding out that surprise, you’re a goddess – but Sera drove me nuts for the first half of the book.  The narrative tells us that she’s kind and considerate of others, yet it seemed to me that she was a bit of a user: using her little brother for information, using Kyle and Dev for positive attention, and using her parents’ trust to sneak around.  Later in the story, she becomes more self-possessed, loyal, and less insecure, and I liked her better.  In ten years, I bet she’d look back on all this and laugh, but I can’t say I’d argue if she were grounded until then.

Swoonworthy Scale:  4

Despite referring to herself as a “gargoyle,” based on what the kids at school say, Sera has not one but two guys drooling over her, and feels attracted to both – not the worst fate in the world!  There are a few steamy moments in Sera’s journey of self-discovery, but I felt that the ones between her and Kyle seemed the most authentic, since they seem to have common interests and a friendship to build upon. 

Talky Talk: Secrets, Lies, and Betrayal

Alpha Goddess is, at its heart, a retelling of the Rama and Sita story from Hindu mythology/folklore. I found the story more understandable (as in, how could a goddess be a sixteen-year-old with a separate identity at the same time?) after I googled the story of Rama and Sita, as well as Lakshmi and Vishnu.  Since the plot was rather complicated, there’s a lot of exposition, even within the dialogue, as the author explains who is lying about what and why.  I liked what Amalie Howard was going for, but I felt like the dialogue didn’t quite hit the mark. 

Bonus Factor: Hindu Deities

This story was definitely unusual to me – first of all, a goddess in human form is like nothing I’ve read recently, if ever – and second, I loved getting to learn a bit more about Hindu deities.  Don’t get me wrong, I love vampires and witches too, but this was a fresh new angle for paranormal YA.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Love Triangle

Although we learn later in the book why there is a love triangle, and why it actually makes sense, this is one trope I would happily banish to the fires of the Dark Realms.

Casting Call:

Fagun Thakrar as Sera

Varun Dhawan as Dev

Matthew Gray Gubler as Kyle

Relationship Status: Better Off Friends

I’m glad I got to know you, book, but I think that after this crazy adventure we might be best off just hanging out at Sal’s diner and people-watching together. You were fiery and interesting, but I didn’t feel any sparks.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Sky Pony Press.  I received neither money nor a pet unicorn for writing this review, despite how hard I wished for one.  Alpha Goddess will be available March 4.

Jennie's photo About the Author: Jennie Kendrick lives in San Francisco and has an excessive fondness of historical fiction, spreadsheets, turquoise sparkly things, and bourbon. When she's not reading, writing, or writing about reading, she cooks obsessively, runs an Etsy shop, and thrifts for vintage everything.