Tag Archives: P.C. Cast

Friday Faceoff – I must go down to the sea, again…

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This meme was started by Books by Proxy, whose fabulous idea was to compare UK and US book covers and decide which is we prefer and is currently hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog. This week the theme is a cover featuring a scene under the sea, so this week I have selected Goddess of the Sea – Book 1 of The Goddess Summoning series by P.C. Cast.

 

This cover, produced by Berkley Sensation, was published in October 2003. This is a lovely design, with the murky image of the mermaid overlaid with the classy title font. It is the most straightforward of the covers, but I especially love the warm richness of the colouring.

 

This edition was produced by Berkley in October 2008. It is an interesting cover, with its green tint suggesting we are underwater, but there is no fish tail. Instead, the girl is wearing fishnet stockings, with a trident design shining on her shoulder and the suggestion of scales in the backdrop. I like the clever visual clues that the girl facing away from us is a mermaid. However, what lets down the cover for me is the drearily ordinary font which is at complete odds with the visual hide and seek going on.

 

Published in 2011 by Ediçoes Asa, this Portuguese edition suggests the girl is underwater. Again, there are a few visual games – the hair decorations that look like air bubbles. I like this one – the play of lighting across her face is beautiful.

 

This German edition, published by Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag in May 2012 is the worst effort, in my opinion. It looks as though the marketing intern has been let loose with Photoshop. The moody girl with the heavy, gothic makeup peers knowingly at us, looking as if she is setting off for a nightclub, rather than transforming into a mermaid. While the backdrop looks more like black flock wallpaper…

 

This Polish edition, produced by Książnica in June 2011, is the best cover in my opinion. The classic mermaid pose, leaning clear of the water, is given depth and interest by the play of light and scattered water droplets. The bodice, dripping with strings of pearls and in the process of falling from her body, adds movement and interest to the image. While I think the font is too large, at least an attempt has been made to soften it. Which one is your favourite?

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Review of Goddess of the Sea by P.C. Cast

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In the slew of paranormal romances out there, this one had a particularly intriguing premise – P.C. Cast mixes ancient myths and legends with the contemporary world, giving them a new, modern twist. As Goddess of the Sea is the first in the series, I decided to give it a go.

Home alone on the night of her twenty-fifty birthday, US Air Force sergeant Christine Canady yearns for something to cure her loneliness. After drinking too much champagne, she recites a divine invocation to revive her humdrum life. But how is she to know the spell actually works?

The blurb goes on for another long paragraph, but contains waaay too many spoilers in my opinion. I didn’t read the back of the book before starting it – and if I had, I would have probably complained that the first 100 pages dragged, like so many other reviewers, because I would have already known what was coming up. Instead, I was rather surprised at the plot twist which had Christine splashing about in the waves and intrigued to see where Cast would take the book, next. I think plotting is one of Cast’s main strengths as a writer – whatever I was half expecting just didn’t happen. Christine – or CC as she is called – definitely ends up in a completely different place to the military base where she has been working…

goddessoftheseaOf course for the book to really work, CC has to be an appealing, believable figure as the story is written in limited third person viewpoint. As it was a paranormal romance, I was expecting the typically strong, yet conflicted female, capable of significant violence when circumstances required. Cast ticked some of those boxes, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that when CC was put into a difficult situation, there was a genuine sense of danger. The fantasy didn’t revolve around her invulnerability, due to some hitherto unknown lethal ability to kill people in a messy manner. Which meant that the villains posed a real threat. And there were several to choose from – ranging from the over-the-top pantomime-type, to the creepy Abbot whose attitude towards women in general and CC in particular, was… nasty. While CC is mostly an appealing and generally likeable heroine, she seemed to cope with being yanked out of her timeline with a great deal of composure. I would have liked to have seen her more miserable at the lack of modern comforts – nothing to read, no TV or radio, no iPod… And though scrubbing chapels and meeting up with a merman may mop up a lot of time, just once I would have liked an internal rant at the general grime, discomfort and sheer inconvenience of living in an age with no running water, flushing toilets or electricity…

As for the supernatural aspect to the story – did it work? Hm… for me this was the major weakness. There was never any real explanation as to why CC’s drunken yearning for change appealed to the Goddess – and her resultant interventions in CC’s life were very much in the ‘…and then she waved her fairy wand’ school of Fantasy. While paranormal romance often concentrates on the romance rather than the paranormal aspect, I was a tad disappointed at the manner in which the Goddess seemed to pop up arbitrarily and sweep all before her – particularly when taking into account Cast’s evident ability to write an engrossing and believable world with plenty of tension. I felt that the magical side of the story could have been more strongly depicted and maybe have pervaded the episode in the monastery with a greater sense of menace and ‘otherness’.

Despite the above grumbles, the book held me to the end – which I didn’t see coming – and I found it an enjoyable read.
7/10