Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Today, I'm reviewing AKA Goddess by Evelyn Vaughn. Book 1 of the Grailkeeper Series. August 2004 Silhouette Bombshell.
When members of a secret society break into Maggi's apartment for notes on her "family" goddess, Melusine, then injure her great-aunt in another burglary attempt, Maggi is off to France to try find and protect the legendary Melusine Chalice before they can. Along the way, she'll become involved with a handsome Welshman, Rhys Pritchard, who has a personal secret... and with her old lover, billionaire Lex Stuart, who has more secrets than she ever imagined! But there's more than danger lurking in the medieval ruins, underwater rivers, and Metro tunnels of Paris and Southern France. There's a chance at feminine empowerment.
That is the premise of Evelyn Vaughn's book, A.K.A. Goddess.
When Silhouette first announced that they were going to be publishing a line of kick-ass heroines, I was excited and trepidatious at the same time. It sounded good on paper but how would it actualy be in the execution? Particularly in the series format. I've always thought that the genre would be better served in a single title format like the Luna Books.
A.K.A. Goddess is the first Bombshell that I've actually read. I'd heard good things about the book, and the fact that it was nominated for a RITA sold me on it. Plus, it dealt with goddesses and grails, which was different than the usual CIA agents, or secret societies.
I really liked this book. It started off slowly, and then as the book went on, it got better and better. Maggi is a likable plucky heroine who uses ingenuity and her training in Tai Chi to get the best of the villains. There are echoes of the Da Vinci Code in the book, but the book is much more plausible in many ways. It doesn't rely on as many coincidences as the Da Vinci Code, although the book isn't quite as fast paced. The story is extremely clever in the use of the Goddess myths, particularly the Goddess Melusine who isn't as well known as her Greek and Egyptian counterparts. It's also clear that the author has done her research as well.
The best part of the book is the on/off relationship between Maggi and Alexander Stuart. Evelyn Vaughn cleverly reveals the history of the relationship in carefully selected flashbacks that tease and intrigue you. Lex is an alpha male who is surprisingly vulnerable and likeable. I totally bought into the deep love between the two of them, as well as the suspicions that keep them apart.
My only quibble with the book was the slow pace in the first half of the book. Although the book starts off with a bang with the burgalry, it drags a bit in the execution of getting Maggi started on her quest.
I've already picked up the next book in the series, Her Kind of Trouble, which takes Maggi and Lex to Egypt in search of the Isis Cup. And I look forward to the rest of the series.
I'm still not quite sold on Bombshell as a series, but I am interested in giving the series more of a chance now.
On the other hand, the BBC/A&E series MI-5 (known as Spooks in the UK) is nothing but fast-paced. I am addicted to this series now that I've caught it on DVD without the commercials. This is the anti-Alias. Where Alias deals with the mythical Rambaldi and secret societies, MI-5 deals with the counter-terrorism unit, as well as it's dealings with it's sister agency MI-6. In American terms, MI-5 is like the FBI, and MI-6 is more like the CIA.
The BBC website has a spy academy where you can train to be a spy. Apparently, I'm a menance to the public in terms of my shooting ability. You can check it out here.