Book review for Goddess in the Machine by Lora Beth Johnson
(Razorbill, June 30, 2020)
There are enough irritations in this read that I sometimes thought I could only give it two stars, but in the end, because of a couple of interesting twists I decided I could give a three and tell other readers to give it a try and see for themselves.
Some of the irritations: the entire time I was reading, I felt like I’d somehow missed the previous book from the series. But this was the first book! Maybe this was a reflection on the world building, that it wasn’t as strong as it needed to be—or maybe it was an artistic experiment to see if the writer could get away with a different approach and spend less time on setting and description. The dialect of the Holymythians was difficult to read and took a while, too long really, to adjust to. I couldn’t read when I was tired; it took too much concentration to comprehend the distorted English. Also many words/nouns were written with an apostrophe at the beginning of the word, suggesting the first part of the word was left out. But I could never figure out what the missing parts were. The same prefix wouldn’t fit all the words. This slowed my reading and made me work harder than I’d like to in a book. The emotions the characters were supposed to experience weren’t supported by the circumstances. I didn’t see the development needed to make the feelings believable. The time passage was hard to follow. The story didn’t seem to fit in the time frame given. Too many people suddenly passed out or nearly did, and the physical reaction to wounds didn’t seem to match the reality of a given injury. And I could not “see” the settings. The descriptions were vague to me. This was also part of me feeling like I’d missed the prequel. No one character grabbed me and made me care much for them. My frustrations with the heroine for never really getting ahold of her situation and making something productive happen, with the characters doing a lot of moving around and causing conflict but never accomplishing anything positive, and my frustrations from just a lot of senseless chaos, made me almost stop reading a few times. But I really wanted to like it and write a nice review.
Now as I try to write the parts I liked, I don’t have a list. I wrote impressions down as I read and never came up with a “wow, that was really cool.” There were a couple of surprises, but they weren’t completely unique or original, but they were delivered well enough, I suppose. Now that I write this, I’m not really sure what I liked about it. I guess it entertained me (mostly) for the few hours I gave it. If you’re good at suspending disbelief and want to enjoy a new world and meet a few new characters, give it a try. The best parts really are in the last part of the book, so if you do read it, hang on to give it a fair chance.
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Life with Quadruplets
As a mother of quadruplets, I've had plenty of crazy experiences raising "supertwins." I blog a lot of memories about my kids. Sometimes just my thoughts on things. I get those sometimes—when my brain works. Which is about one third of the time.