Release Date: 26 February 2013
Genre: YA, Romance, Mythology
Page Count: 283 (paperback)
Sadly, after three novels and two novellas, I still do not have a firm grasp on Carter’s concept of immortality.
Immortality, in this world, seems to mean a person who cannot feel pain, does not need to breathe, will only cease to exist if humans stop believing in them, yet can die of blood loss (Theo) or having their skulls bashed in (Aphrodite). Some of them can be returned from the Underworld, and some can not. It depends on the plot. When in the Underworld, they are free to travel yet are unable to access the Underworld without a sanctioned guide like Hades or Hermes. There is no ceremony to be granted immortality nor when it is taken away, it just simply is. An immortal can be murdered by a greater being (Titan) or a weapon made of the same material as a Titan. Once murdered by a Titan they will cease to exist, even in the Underworld, though if someone else ‘kills’ them they can be retrieved from the Underworld. An immortal can give up their immortality but they might be killed immediately like Persephone or be allowed to live a mortal life and regain their immortality once their mortal form dies (Demeter).
So as you can see, the concept of immortality gave me a massive headache with all its rule bending and vagueness. Instead of immortality being, you know, immortality, it had all these rules and escape clauses and instead of knowing for sure everyone would live into next century because they are IMMORTAL you never knew who was going to die next. Or if it would be permanent, if they would be in the Underworld or completely obliterated from existence.
To totally exacerbate my already ambivalent feelings towards this series is the fact that Kate has changed so much from the brave, mouthy, sassy heroine from The Goddess Test who wasn’t afraid to tell the most powerful creatures in the world to basically fuck off, into this simpering, stupid one-track-minded girl who cried all the freaking time and was completely helpless. Not only was she helpless, but the other characters ensured she remained helpless. The only thing she did in this novel was try to sacrifice herself and cry.
The other gods didn’t want to teach her how to fight, or how to protect herself, or even how to help them. Apparently they were all so tire of all the fighting that happened off page and was never explained at all to the point I grew frustrated with the lack of details. It felt like the gods were just sitting around all day on their asses!
The other thing that made me so mad I was so very strongly tempted to not finish this book was the absolutely appalling portrayal of women and the male character’s attitudes towards women. If you’re not Kate, you’re a selfish slut. If you are Kate, other characters will accuse you of being a slut or hope you’ll become one. I get that Kate is all of 20 years old but even she has hostile feelings towards the three female characters that should be strong (Ava, Calliope and Persephone) but all she ever thinks is how awful they are. It’s true their actions all revolve around men, but I was hoping for better character development rather than all of Kate’s competition be vilified like this. After reading about how horrible Demeter was to Persephone in The Goddess Legacy I couldn’t even like Kate’s own mother.
I was actually insulted and offended by the portrayal of women in this book. Calliope’s voice is described on multiple occasions as ‘girlish’ – as if that’s something we’re supposed to find villainous. Ava desperately tries to work both sides and is hated by pretty much everyone even though she’s desperate to save her husband’s life. Kate has already decided she hates Ava so she doesn’t even want to talk to her, let alone try to understand where Ava is coming from. And welcome back to Persephone whose re-introduction shows us she’s more concerned with her garden being trampled than with her family coming to visit her. Meanwhile, James is written to be awesome and smitten with Kate (WHO WOULD JOKE ABOUT HAVING AN AFFAIR?), Walter can’t do a thing wrong, and even Phillip steps in to save the day at least once.
There are other female gods, but they’re not as important as Diana, Ava, Calliope, and Persephone. The women in this novel are either Kate’s mother, competition or not worth writing about. Calliope and Persephone are loathed for either being in love with Henry or not being in love with Henry, Ava is slut shamed throughout the whole novel and even the entire series despite being the goddess of, shall we say, ‘sluts’. Diana isn’t competition to Kate and therefore is only there to provide a shoulder to cry on, to clean Kate back up before sending her into the fray.
And another thing that made me mad was a whole bunch of stupid crap over having a baby. Kate’ pregnancy was announced at the end of the last novel, and then we skip forward nine months to his birth at the beginning of this novel. After he’s born, he survives not on milk or medicine but on love, and Kate gets her pre-baby body back, boobs and all. There is absolutely no struggle or conflict to do with raising him – no sleepless nights or changing diapers or sore boobs or failed breastfeeding – nope, it’s all perfect peachy roses and the conflict is all external and blamed on another character.
Henry also sucked. There were some sweet clumsy moments when he and Kate were together but Kate was doing that stupid typical YA heroine thing of NOT TELLING HIM ANYTHING. It wasn’t a nice relationship to watch. They have been together for all of a month and Kate hasn’t even sat her butt on her Underworld throne to help Henry with his job, and she’s talking about how much she loves their life together. It’s just insipid. I hate that word, but it’s an accurate description.
Goddess, Interrupted was not a bad book per se – just incredibly boring and into the slut shaming. I was actually offended by the portrayal of women in The Goddess Inheritance, and I’m lucky I read an ebook because unfortunately at the end of the book I was really tempted to just do this:
Burn baby, burn.
An advance reader copy was kindly provided by the publisher.