Saturday, November 2, 2013

Review:: American Goddesses by Gary Henry

American GoddessesAmerican Goddesses by Gary R. Henry

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

American Goddesses by Gary Henry

I enjoyed this story, but for me there were moments when it seemed to be extremely campy.

It's well written although it is of an unusual style which is something it shares with some few other novels I've recently read. There's an excessive amount of dialogue and it's often difficult to give the reader a full depth of the characters from that and that alone. It takes some skill to keep the readers attention with only dialogue. Although this does keep my attention I think it might also account for the feeling that there is a comedy built into this.

I have an old favorite movie called His Girl Friday, which comes from a popular play. It has a lot of banter back and forth that is quick fire and almost leaves the audience breathless at times and I think that's what this reminds me of. The story is written in enough dialogue form that it looks like a screen play and reads a bit like a comedy.

The premise is fresh on the one hand yet overused on another. We have a great amount of female protagonists lately that are endowed with fantastic powers that make them indestructible and I'm not sure if that's all that helpful in trying to portray women with any measure of extra depth. It is nice to see that these women have their weaknesses even when they are powerful but the examination of those weaknesses such as when Megan finds her husband with the other woman are not so much unbelievable as swept under the rug too quickly. In fact her husbands easy conversion almost makes one wonder if her psychic powers were used to sway his mind a bit.

And then I'm not even all that sure how well someone might be reliant upon powers that might be reduced to nothing by their present state of mind.(Although the mind rape might make some argument for those circumstance.)

But this did entertain me and kept me reading all the way to the end so there is a lot to say to that.

This would have made a great young adult story because it really does read that way and it has the feel of having had adult situations and language inserted just to throw people off from making that assessment.

The prologue ( which is more distraction than helping the story along since we don't really see these people again) and the subsequent portrayal of evil organizations of men seem a bit on the excess of trying to villain - ize men in general not to mention a whole diatribe of anti-male sentiment with a contrast that if everything is run by women it will be suddenly all that much better. It's interesting, but the use of all those visuals includes specific elements in the plot that never get resolved they merely stand as 'oh these are horrible things perpetrated by horrible men' and now we have these super women who can fix everything. We do not see our hero's solve but only the tip of the iceberg; while being unaware that there is something massively dangerous underneath.

The only character with enough power to hurt them is another woman and though she makes a thoroughly good villain she's a woman and her existence stands in the way of one prevalent theme in the novel. But she's necessary otherwise there is no conflict, just the hero's squashing the bad guys.

While there were strong women abounding throughout this story I really didn't see any strong characters that really put me into this story to care about them. So though I love to give everyone high marks for their effort I think there was a story in between the dialogue that didn't make it to the paper. This novel could have been longer and much better.

This is a fairly good light read for someone who's looking for that certain something different in their SFF and doesn't take their science too serious.

J.L. Dobias

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