I just finished reading The Goddess’s Choice, which I stumbled upon by pure chance. I’m glad I did! It’s a well-crafted story of magic and political intrigue, wrapped around a love story. It’s based on a Norwegian fairy tale, but it’s mixed in well enough that if you didn’t know that, you could easily overlook it, perhaps until near the end where it slides a bit more into the realm of fairy-tale storytelling.
The two main characters are Samantha and Robbie. Samantha is a princess with an aging king for a father. She is generally not the rebellious type but is balking at the shabby marriage prospects ahead of her. Robbie is a half-blooded foreigner on his mother’s side with exotic looks that get him shunned largely in his rural farming community, including by his own family. Each of them has a magic of their own: Samantha can see auras that giver her insights into other people’s character and emotions, Robbie can talk telepathically with animals and has healing powers.
On occasion, each of the main characters frustrated me with their shortsighted, angst-ridden behavior. I had to take a step back and realize that they were behaving this ways because they are both still young – 18 and 17 respectively – and that sort of thing was to be expected. The fact that I wasn’t reading young adult characters who were written as neither snotty teenagers nor precociously sage mini-adults actually took getting used to. Both are generally good sorts and are rather mature (more Samantha than Robbie), but are prone to melodrama.
As for the story itself, it is based around the uncertainty of succession and who takes over rulership of the kingdom when the old king eventually dies. Samantha is both young and female, bringing into question her ability to gain support for ruling in her own name. Other forces are at work making this a more complicated matter as whoever becomes her consort is likely to wield the power of the king in all but name.
Robbie’s journey involves the exploration of his own magical powers, which are rather more significant than Samantha’s in the grand scheme. A chance encounter with the princess early on sets off a chain of events that both separates them and leads down the road of their inevitable reunion later on.
While this is a fairy tale at the core, it’s a dark one even by Grimm’s standards, and certainly not for children. While the violence is not excessive, it is occasionally sexually explicit. I wonder whether that aspect could have been toned down to appeal to a broader audience without losing the feel of the story, because the core story does have a broad appeal.
I’d rate this one 4.5 stars, and I look forward to seeing future adventures in Korthlundia.
Did I convince you? Pick up The Goddess’s Choice for your Kindle