Goddess By Mistake

Goddess of Love

Goddess of the Sea

Goddess of Spring

Warrior Rising
by P. C. Cast
(Berkley, $14.00, PG-13)† ISBN 978-0-425-22137-2
I havenít read anything by P.C. Cast in a few years, so there were no expectations for Warrior Rising.† What a pleasant surprise to find an amusingly tongue-in-cheek take on the Trojan War featuring a modern-day heroine.† If you want a light, funny read with some fairly spicy sex thrown in, this will fit the bill nicely.

The goddesses Hera, Venus, and Athena are sick and tired of the Trojan War, which has been going on for thirteen years and shows no signs of conclusion.† Not only is it a war brought on by silly male egos, but young men are dying at an alarming clip.† The warrior Achilles seems to be the worst of the lot when it comes to male arrogance; unless the goddesses can find a way to distract him from the war, it could go on forever.

Venus, who has spent some time in the 21st century, devises a plan.† Sheíll find a modern-day woman, one who will be able to stand up to Achilles and turn his attention to sex rather than war.† The perfect candidate is Kat, a beautiful psychologist who lives in Tulsa.† But before Venus can zap Kat through time to ancient Greece, Kat and her best friend Jacky, a trauma nurse, are killed in a car wreck. The three goddesses transport their souls into the newly-deceased bodies of a Trojan princess and her handmaiden.† When Kat and Jacky come to, they find themselves in younger bodies.† Jacky has the worst shock - sheís now a white girl to boot.

Venus, Hera, and Athena soon fill them in on the situation.† Now in the bodies of Princess Polyxena and Melia, Kat and Jacky agree to help disarm Achilles in exchange for reinstatement into their own world, in new bodies of their choosing.† Achilles, it seems, has a berserker temperament and hasnít had sex with a woman in years, not since he accidentally killed a girl while making love to her.† Kat, intrigued by the challenge, believes she can find the trigger that sets him off.

Only sheís unprepared for the instant attraction she feels for Achilles.† Jacky, after stitching up Achillesí friend Patroklos, has a devoted admirer to contend with. And there is treachery everywhere, as different factions have plans for the outcome of the war. With a little celestial meddling from the goddesses, can everything turn out well?

Kat is surprised to find that underneath the hunky warrior exterior, Achilles is actually a decent guy with a curse on his head.† Her modern attitudes are just the ticket to help jolt him out of his weary resignation.† Heís a good friend to Patroklos, and he despairs at the senseless waste of life in this neverending war.† His men will follow him anywhere, and are loyal to a fault.† Thereís a lot to like in this hero.

Kat is a bit more abrasive.† She and Jacky both have mouths like drunken sailors, and at times itís tiresome, as if she canít think of anything to say of any particular depth, so she speaks in expletive-laced throwaway lines.† I guess itís supposed to pass as humor, but it got old, fast.† Interestingly, the author may have gotten a bit tired of it, too, because about halfway through the book, a subtle change comes over Kat and she begins to act with a little more class, while still delivering a verbal smackdown when warranted† Her romance with Achilles is plenty spicy; the author doesnít stint here. And since the key to breaking the berserker curse is to get Achilles, er, riled up without having him lose control, Kat uses an interesting method: hypnosis.† It was fun.

Eventually, Kat and Jacky will have to decide where they want to spend their lives: in unfamiliar ancient Greece or back in modern-day America.† The ending is inventive.† I have a feeling we havenít heard the last from Hera, Venus, and Athena.

Warrior Rising (love the wink-wink title) is funny, irreverent, and clever.† For a breezy summer read, you canít go wrong by picking it up.† Iíll be on the lookout for more from Ms. Cast, and her previous Goddess novels might be a great addition to the summer reading stack.

--Cathy Sova

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