Goddess by Laura Powell
|Goddess by Laura Powell|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: The cult of Artemis still exists as a competitor religion to Christianity in an alternate Britain rocked by civil unrest and an economic crash. But is the cult true to its Goddess? Laura Powell continues to blend the paranormal and dystopian genres to interesting effect.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 289||Date: April 2014|
|External links: Author's website|
After an economic collapse, Britain is close to breaking point. Citizens are going hungry and there are riots. But Aura is shielded from it all by her position as a handmaiden in the Cult of Artemis. In this Britain, the beliefs of the Ancient Greeks persevere and are followed by millions - the cult sits side by side with Christianity as a mainstream religion. Aura's thoughts aren't taken up by the suffering outside the sanctuary though - they're taken up by beating fellow handmaiden Callisto as favourite to take over the position of head priestess when Opis retires.
Just a few days before Aura is due to be initiated as a priestess, she meets Aiden, the rebellious son of a Cult official. Aura is instantly drawn to him and shocked by the things he tells her. And then, Aura is given a prophecy by the Goddess. But why does Opis change it? And what is the high priestess's real relationship with Lionel Winter, head of the influential Trinovantum Council?
The only way to find out is to escape the cult. But does Aura have the courage?
I really like the way Laura Powell is creating a blend of the dystopian and paranormal genres in her work. Both are overheated and hence rather predictable. By putting the two together you get something slightly different and it feels rather fresh. At heart, Goddess is a thriller. Something is not right with the cult. But what?
And underneath the plot there are a great many themes and questions. Aura is vaguely aware that the life she leads as a handmaiden of Artemis is luxurious and privileged. And also vaguely aware that the lives of the people outside the sanctuary are difficult and poverty-stricken. But she has no idea of how bad things are and it's a shock when Aiden introduces her to what's going on. How far should a society go to restrain civil unrest? Power corrupts but can it ever be given up? And can a priestess ever be free to find love?
It's all beautifully researched and you can read about it in an author's note at the end if you're inspired to find out more - which I think you likely will be. I like the idea of an alternate London in which the old religions compete with the new, don't you? Especially when corruption at the heart of them is being exposed by a heroine you can root for.
If you haven't read any Laura Powell before, you should really look at Burn Mark, which features witches in an alternate London and was longlisted for the Carnegie Medal.
You can read more book reviews or buy Goddess by Laura Powell at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Goddess by Laura Powell at Amazon.com.
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