Published: March 2012
Genre: Metaphysical Fiction
Ellena Ripley is a bookshop owner from a rural town in the south of England – or so she thinks. But lately, she has a growing sense that life is not as it seems. At night, she dreams of a serene man who appears to be trying to tell her something; In the day, she can’t shake a feeling of expectation. But of what?
Meanwhile Hector, servant of LIFE and the man from Ellena’s dreams, has a dilemma. How do you tell someone they are a goddess? His previous attempts have met with disaster so he must be cautious, particularly when his new trainee, Boudica, formerly Queen of the Iceni tries to help. The question is can they succeed before it is too late?
My incarnate body was not all I had hoped for. It was not that I wanted a human body – it’s just that I wanted to be a Great Dane. I shifted in my basket by the Aga and nibbled an itchy bit of black fur just above my right paw. But that’s LIFE: so often you get what you need, not what you want. Even so, a Border Collie with a bit of Labrador thrown in was not a real dog as far as I was concerned. My fur was long, my paws were white, while the rest of me was black except for a white crest on my chest and a circular patch around my left eye, which I guessed had been added for comic effect. Still, it could have been worse – I might have been a poodle.
The current phase of my mission was going well. Although the overall project, Brh-man: Phase 1, was not. But as I frequently reminded the Council, who had sanctioned the project, one had to take the long view with these things. This time … well not time really, that was my dog-self talking. There was only now, or as LIFE liked to call it “the present” owing to its love of puns. In reality a “time” would be more accurately described as a handful of stuff grabbed from the lucky dip barrel of the present.
So far I had incarnated without too much difficulty. Dog-shape was ideal for the kind of work ahead and I’d succeeded in being adopted by Ellena, who was ripe for my special kind of assistance. Boudica, my trainee, had met with similar success. Although not everything had gone so well for her, she was at this moment prowling around Ellena’s front room irritably, no doubt still wondering how the Queen of the Iceni had come to this. It seemed that, Boudica, not as adept at subconscious communication as myself, had not been able to plant an image of her real name in Ellena’s mind. So while, I had a shiny tag with “Hector” written on it, Boudica’s tag said “Fluffy”. Since she was a large long-haired white cat, I felt this showed a distinct lack of imagination on Ellena’s part or perhaps an overdeveloped sense of irony. Either way Boudica was still having a major sense of humour failure.
I’m a fan of stories that mix mythology into magical realism. Typically, it creates a multi-layered story that be both humorous and compelling. The Reluctant Goddess falls within that category of stories that mixes different elements into magical realism.
My favorite parts of the story were Hector’s. The first person narration was easier to follow and it was interesting to see his side of the story. I struggled with Elenna’s parts. Because of some of the pronoun usage, I would get confused as to which ‘she’ was being referred to. There was also one noticeable shift in point of view that I could not figure out.
Those points aside, it was an enjoyable read and would be perfect for a rainy day read.
My rating: 3/5
About the Author:
A.F. Firebird is the alter ego of a sociologist/psychologist turned web developer from the UK. While A.F. Firebird has worked in several fields her primary focus is the exploration of six virtues: appreciation, forgiveness, compassion, humility, understanding and valour. Her first novel, The Reluctant Goddess, numerous short stories and children’s books, all investigate aspects of these virtues.