Thursday, March 4, 2010
[Book Review] Goddess of the Sea by P.C. Cast
368 pages, eBook Edition
Review Date: Mar. 4, 2010
I have always been fascinated by mythological beings and I actually first read Goddess of the Sea by P.C. Cast ages ago, probably back in college while I was browsing my older sister's bookshelf for something new to read. Although it has a green cover, the word "Goddess" in the title caught my attention and I just have to read it again this year.
Goddess of the Sea is a story about a modern-day, twenty-five year-old woman named CC who, on her birthday, declared to the moon, "I want magic in my life." Nothing seems out of the ordinary when she woke up the next day as she went about preparing for her 90-day deployment to Saudi Arabia where she meets this very lovely and mysterious lady who saves her from injury and possible death, received a priceless gift from a woman who mans a jewelry stand with a very cryptic message to boot saying, "She has touched you... The Great Mother... You are beloved by her... But your journey will be long and arduous... I do not mean a journey of distance. I mean a journey of spirit." And as the plane started up, one of the guys was kind enough to switch seats with her just to make her feel more comfortable. Then their plane crashed and one of the propellers slashed through the plane and through the head of the guy with whom she traded seats with. She was saved yet again from apparent death. Then the real magic begins. A physical transformation happens to CC as she swims for her life, time travels to an island where beauty equals sin, and discovers what true love is with Dylan only to lose him so soon. Will she ever recover from such a loss or will love find her once more?
Goddess of the Sea is a light and breezy tale that makes you wonder what happened to Abbot William that made him start to think and believe that "many things are not as innocent as they appear... that excessive beauty must be guarded against, for it can hide prurient intent" and have everyone believe it so much so that everyone was "raised to believe that beauty and luxury were dangerous and sinful" which is really sad because the beauty that we see around us "is meant to be a reminder of the many gifts that we have been given, and our need to give thanks for them" as CC so aptly puts it.
Another thing is dealing with the possibility of unrequited love and having seen it happen to someone you love somehow makes it worse in the sense that for Dylan, at first he couldn't understand what drove her mother to destroy herself and now he did when Dylan "was struck by the realization that he loved a woman who was not simply a land creature, but from a strange world where none of his kind even existed. How could he hope to win her love in return? He knew she found him interesting and probably even exotic and appealing, but those were not emotions on which to base a lifetime of love; they were fleeting, transient and would vanish like mist with the rising sun of experience. He began to understand the despair that had destroyed his mother" but he was brave for he continued to promise CC that he'd wait for an eternity for her, always believing they "belong together" and that "there will be a way" for them to be together forever. Gaea is right in saying that CC made the right choice in loving Dylan for his kindness "for when the thrill of his body fades or changes, and the difficulties of pledging yourself to only one person surface, kindness will be the balm that soothes the wounds of life" to which a lot of people could benefit from really thinking about this statement about loving someone because of their character and personality and not because of their wealth or physical attributes. Gods, goddesses and probably everyone is "weak when faced with true love." Who could resist the power of true love? Definitely not anyone that I know of. And when CC "realized that it truly didn't matter what form their bodies reflected it was love that anchored her to him, not a body or a time or place," it reveals just how strong their love for each other is.
On another note, in some cultures and traditions, being a woman is more than just being a wife, a mother, a sister. As Gaea reminds CC and Isabel, women "reflect the three aspects of the Divine Feminine... The maiden, lovely and young, with her life stretching before her, magical and new. She is vibrant and fresh, drawing the power of springtime to her... The mother, full and ripe, filled with the power of summer and autumn. She is the life-giver and nurturer. She is the heart of her hearth and home. Without honoring the mother, the family cannot thrive... And the crone, ... the wise woman. She is rich with wisdom and experience, a leader to those who will someday take her place when she is gone, and a comfort to those who are at the end of their life's journey. Her power is of great depth. It is that of the experience of ages forged with the strength of winter... Alone, each is important and unique. But joined together, they form a three-fold link that is soldered by the Divine Feminine. We need each other, that is how we are fashioned. To deny this is to live a life less than fulfilled... Isn't that what woman is? A magical, complex blending of differences."
It is also quite a revelation to discover that even gods and goddesses have their own little rules when Gaea explained, "I cannot heal a wound caused by my own hand... I wrought it, and that is enough. I did not have to wield it, too" and Lir adds further light into the issue, "I cannot undo the destruction brought about by the Earth goddess. Even gods and goddesses are bound by the rules of the universe" which I think is tragic but at the same time, it makes sense too.
In conclusion, P.C. Cast weaves a wonderful tale that keeps readers curled up with Goddess of the Sea for hours on end perhaps until the eyes can no longer hold themselves open. This book is definitely worth reading. I've read it twice and I'll definitely read it again.