What's black and white and red all over? Remember, this is a family site; no sick answers, please.
An embarrassed zebra,
you say? BZZZT, wrong -- thank you for playing!
this case, the colors describe the remains of the Minoan civilization
on Crete after being obliterated by a neighboring island-volcano, Kalliste.
No, I didn't give
away the ending of Voice of the Goddess. After reading the
back-cover copy and author's preface, wherein Judith Hand documents the
theorized link between the Minoans and the legend of Atlantis, the astute
reader will expect this violent geological event from page one. And Hand
portrays it in imaginatively graphic detail.
To get there, however,
one must put up with a female protagonist first introduced as a bratty
preteen who, alas, doesn't grow up during the ensuing decade covered in
the novel's chronology.
Fate blessed Leesandra
-- or perhaps cursed her -- with a direct line of communication to a deity
her people worship as the Mother of All. Leesandra must choose between
her spiritual destiny and her emotional one as the virile warrior Alektrion
lays claim to her heart. External conflict abounds, at times keeping the
lovers apart, as worshippers of a rival male deity, Poseidon, seek to
spread their religion through bloody conquest.
Can you spell "Crusades?"
I thought so.
Obviously, the author
spent much energy incorporating her prodigious research and spiritual
agenda into this book. The setting comes alive as in few historical works
I've ever read, and feminist readers of a New Age bent may appreciate
its goddess emphasis.
The element that elevates
any story beyond mediocre, however, lies not in its setting or theme but
its characters. In Voice of the Goddess, the characters
too often seem unsympathetic and illogically motivated. Some key characters,
such as best-friend-turned-enemy Galatea, disappear without a follow-up
regarding their fates -- and without much of a response from the protagonist
herself. Even the "consummation" scene between Leesandra and Alektrion
comes across as emotionally uninspired. The platonic relationship between
Leesandra and her Nubian mentor, Zuliya, gets my vote as the most believable.
In the final pages, Zuliya deals Leesandra a long-overdue comeuppance.
I doubtless surprised everyone in the commuter train car with my cheer.
What else is black
and white and red all over? Sometimes people answer "a book." But at 26
bucks for a hardcover, you can bet that Voice of the Goddess
won't be read all over.
(Originally published in Crescent Blues. Reprinted with permission.)