Julien Longo,
The Goddess Chronicles #1: Hera
(FireRaven Press, 2010)

In exploring the character of Hera, author Julien Longo takes members of the Greek pantheon and turns them into unrelated mortals living in Atlantis. When acting as mortals trying to define The True Divine, often for political reasons, the Greek deities become much easier to relate to. Their agendas and tensions help Longo get across her ideas about the divine feminine, through the history of Hera's coming of age.

Hera succeeds in offering a very thorough and provocative alternate universe for these well-known characters. Longo's ideas read clearly without going over-the-top. In fact, learning these concepts through Hera's perspective lends itself to a light and easy reading pace.

On the other hand, keeping such an even, steady pace prevents the reader from really settling into the book. The complete absorption into Hera's viewpoint works well in many ways, but Hera's kept so busy moving around and pondering new things for the reader to take in, there's never time for us to become a part of the story. The overall situations and landscape of the world are there, but there's no more specific world building. We get the basics of life in each circumstance, we work out the important aspects and deal with the important characters, but we never get to just be alive in the world or present in the story.

Basically, this is an intriguing feminist story and a pleasant read. But I sincerely hope that Hera provides a strong enough overview to allow the rest of the books in these chronicles to bring actual places and lifestyles into the mix.

[ visit the author's website ]

book review by
Whitney Mallenby

5 February 2011

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