In Serjana Caelum’s world, gods exist. So do goddesses. Sera knows this because she is one of them. A secret long concealed by her parents, Sera is Lakshmi reborn, the human avatar of an immortal Indian goddess rumored to control all the planes of existence. Marked by the sigils of both heaven and hell, Sera’s avatar is meant to bring balance to the mortal world, but all she creates is chaos. A chaos that Azrath, the Asura Lord of Death, hopes to use to unleash hell on earth.
Torn between reconciling her past and present, Sera must figure out how to stop Azrath before the Mortal Realm is destroyed. But trust doesn’t come easy in a world fissured by lies and betrayal. Her best friend Kyle is hiding his own dark secrets, and her mysterious new neighbor, Devendra, seems to know a lot more than he’s telling. Struggling between her opposing halves and her attraction to the boys tied to each of them, Sera must become the goddess she was meant to be, or risk failing, which means sacrificing the world she was born to protect.
Sky Pony Press, with our Good Books, Racehorse and Arcade imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of books for young readers—picture books for small children, chapter books, books for middle grade readers, and novels for young adults. Our list includes bestsellers for children who love to play Minecraft; stories told with LEGO bricks; books that teach lessons about tolerance, patience, and the environment, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.
AMALIE HOWARD is a USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestselling author, most notably of The Beast of Beswick, “a smart, sexy, deliciously feminist romance,” and one of O-The Oprah Magazine’s Top 24 Best Historicals to Read. She is the co-author of the #1 bestsellers in regency romance and Scottish historical romance, My Rogue, My Ruin and What A Scot Wants, and has also penned several young adult novels, critically acclaimed by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, VOYA, School Library Journal, and Booklist, including Waterfell, The Almost Girl, and Alpha Goddess, a Kid’s INDIE NEXT selection. Of Indo-Caribbean descent, she has written articles on multicultural fiction for The Portland Book Review and Ravishly magazine. She currently resides in Colorado with her husband and three children. Visit her at amaliehoward.com.
DNF (40 percent through and then, it was just too painful to read.)
The word 'cliche' does not even begin to describe this book. The only one unique quality about this book which completely deserved the one star I gave is the usage of Hindu mythology (coming to think of it, I don't think it was very accurate). And that too did not make me finish this book.
I do not understand why most of the stories need to revolve around one sole teenager. And all the friggin' time the teenager is oblivious to the supernatural stuff.
Main Character - Sera
She has the words cliched and annoying etched all over her bones.
Her world is turned upside down because she's a friggin' goddess. And everybody knew and she didn't. Isn't that terrible?
The rest of the meager characters
Oh, there's a fantastic love triangle to look forward to!
A book about Hindu Goddess Lakshmi reborn to save the world. Yes, I was looking forward to reading this but as soon as I started reading and encountered the things that I have read numerous times I was disappointed.
Sera is Lakshmi reincarnation and she has no freaking clue that she is a goddess. Sera is so stupid that I was rolling my eyes the entire time reading this. Clueless and stupid and different than others of course.
I was really looking forward to the mythology part but there was none. There was no plot and nothing happened for the first half of the book. Even when things started to happen, it didn't hold my interest.
May I say, before I begin, you will need a bit of patience to read this book. Nothing of real interest happens until the later half and then it all happens really fast.
If I had to compare this book to a movie, it would the Marvel Avengers, because even though you know three-fourths of the movie is plain junk, you still watch it for the awesome ending and for the sheer fan-girl-joy of it. (Yay, the Hulk! And Hawkeye! And Iron Man!)
It might be because I've been reading many YA books lately, but I really didn't find anything of interest in the first half of the book. We have a (so-far) whiny heroine, who doesn't behave with any of the maturity she wants to be treated with and her apparently TSTL best friend, who is pining after her but is afraid of losing their friendship (while doing precisely all the things calculated to lead to their estrangement.)
Enter mysterious golden boy with a totally bad pun for a name, Dev (and this isn't the last one) who knows all, sees all, bores all. And no, Devendra is not a unisex name.
Yeah, I really don't care about you.
The author sacrifices our interest in at least the mythology part of the book, in favour of keeping us in the dark. A good indication of a paper thin plot, if any. We are also introduced to the family, by the way, who also have ludicrous names. I mean, come on, Sam is short for Samsar? And Sophia? If she is as North Indian and Hindu as this book makes her out to be, she wouldn't have that name. But anyway, moving on.
So there is lot of angst etc etc for everyone involved; Sera because she's having bad dreams and her parents are acting overprotective and tightlipped. Oh and she is one of those ostracised-because-she's-different girls; she's been bullied, sneered at and all that. I have no clue why she couldn't just be a loner because this particular detail seems to have no impact on her later character development at all.
Kyle (Sera's BFF) is suffering because he has an unrequited love for her, he can see auras, he's deathly afraid of the book's version of hell, Xibalba (more on that later) and he can't tell Sera any of this due to his BURGEONING DARK PAST. Don't ask me why, it's one of those I-could-tell-you-but-I-would-have-to-kill-you things. Apparently.
That is how tired these tropes are.
It goes on sluggishly, with everyone that is not Sera attempting to be subversive, evasive and cloaked in mystery, but just ending up plain annoying instead. Even after she finds out that she is goddess.
But then, once the war really gets going, Sera steps up. As characterisation goes, the change is pretty abrupt, but she becomes more mature, level headed and open minded. She becomes a leader, so even though it is kind of unbelievable, it is way better than having a mopey MC till the end. Kyle's characterisation is also interesting, his helpless jealousy and identity crisis is rather well done. I personally felt a bit detached from his bloodline conflict; it never seemed to me like his humanity really was at risk (plus there were the obvious parallels to Sera's parents), but that might just be me.
Among the other characters, Sera's dad, "Sam", is the only one that really appealed to me. He fits more into the image of a loving parent than Sophia, who just seems to be suffering from a nervous breakdown. He is gentle and understanding, more mindful of the fact that Sera is a teenager in an impossible situation and totally in the dark. Ironic, considering he was the Asura (yeah thats how it's spelled, despite all the fancy spelling otherwise.)
And that brings to the thing I have been itching to talk about since the beginning of this post, the mythology. GODS HELP ME. I'll just make a list of the unintentionally humorous and intentionally odd (I will not say stupid) aspects of the book:
1. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet...not. - I really have to come back to this. Anglicised Hindi-Sanskrit words are one thing. I got over Sanrak, the guardians (it should be Samrakh; I know, I thought it was some kind of asbestos too), I got over the names of the various lords of hell (Dekaias, Temlucus, blatantly Greek names; what the hell kind of name is windy-goo?), I even got over the tragic parody that is Serjana's name (I still don't know what it means. Is her surname Irish?) What I could not digest is the grammatically incorrect Anglicised Hindi.
Let me explain.
When it is first mentioned, the Big Three of Hindu myths are referred to in plural as the Trimurtas. Forget that no self-respecting Indian who knows English would write in that way. Forget that its overtly westernised Hindi slang. What I take issue with is the later use of this word, and I quote:
"But you...you're...Trimurtas," she stuttered.
"But if he knows we're coming, won't Dev be heavily guarded, especially if they know he's Trimurtas?"
"Give me the boy and the Trimurtas in exchange for your son's life."
As you can see, it ok to just use the already troped, twisted word in both plural and singular as you feel like it, even if it a major joke on linguistics.
2. Hinduism has over 30 million gods, including the Greek, Mexican, African and Arctic ones - I do not mind that the author has not stuck strictly to the myths in Hinduism. The creative license is her right after all, and I just see it as an interpretation of the stories. But that is no excuse of making a stew out of it. Take Xibalba for instance. If you are going to the extent of basing an entire novel and its characters on one mythology, then you might as well be consistent and not name its hell after the MAYAN underworld. Or its demons after NATIVE INDIAN spirits. Or the home of the gods after the GREEK happy retirement home for the dead. It was already a stretch of my imagination since Hinduism does not have a defined hell or heaven (because of the idea of reincarnation) but then that JAPANESE nekomata came in and I gave up.
3. Do I look fat in this? No wait, I'll just rewrite it - The other major inconsistency in the book was the appearances of the characters. Kyle is first described as having a green mohawk and the sides of his head are shaved to show off tattoos. Ok, not that I have any clue how curly hair can be mohawked?, but anyway. But then, since the style is obviously PG rated, he decides to go easy on the hair gel and we get this glaring discrepancy:
"His springy dark carls fell around his face." and "He tucked some wet ringlets behind his ears."
So finally, this is the image I had of him:
We also have Sera's mother being described as typically North Indian with dark hair and later having blonde hair. Sigh. Even Kyle's image and behaviour are inconsistent - he dresses like a goth and hangs out with murderous, bloodthirsty demonic beings, but gets embarrassed every time he sees a Public Display of Affection by Sera's parents. The heights of it is when he looks away quickly after seeing (gasp!) Azrath's legs when the spilt of the dress falls open. Really. A guy disguised as a woman showing off his legs and you're blushing. And the book is set where? Did you say America? Good to know.
5. If it's not poetry, it must be... - The language of the book is its lowest point, as far as I'm concerned. Its extremely forced, clunky and seems to have a number of typos. It oscillates between tacky teen talk and garbled ancient wisdom. There also some inadvertently hilarious moments:
"Sera grinned at his expression. "Tell you what, once we find Nate, breakfast on me." "
No, that is not suggestive at all.
This gem is just plain weird:
"So...about the giant gorilla in the car ,"
What? Where? I didnt see it! What did you say? It was a figure of speech? I thought...oh never mind.
We have the villain being helpful:
"This form is of my own choosing. I hardly think you would want to see the very person you were here to save, now would you?"
That's handy. I thought you'd take the opportunity to shape shift into Dev, confuse them and create more mayhem, but this is very sweet of you. Feel free to continue.
And finally, as Kyle says to Dev,
"You're probably the only person who'd allow someone you love to love someone else just for the sake of love."
No buddy, it's because you haven't read Twilight. Check it out, there are actually more synonyms for love there.
I have to say that the love triangle here is well done; no one tries to play the noble hero and the heroine does not spend 80% of her time moping about which guy to pick. She does think about it, but she's the first to admit that she can't pick between them, because she loves them differently. She has a very calm attitude towards it. Dev's acceptance of Kyle is also believable; it is painful for him, but he knows he has eternity with her. Kyle's frank jealousy is refreshing too.
Another good thing about the book is the major butt-kicking Sera does. True, it came 200 pages too late, but better late than never. There is a completely awesome scene where she kills a couple of demons by flipping her swords backwards. She doesn't even turn around. You go gal. She can also mould the weapons from the tyre as she pleases, making her a very flexible fighter. Oh, and she can fly. Yeah, Sera 2.0 is awesome.
I also have to appreciate the fact that Howard chooses to give asuras the possibility of being good here. Even in India, they are generally viewed as the eternal bad guys, but in fact, there are a few that had hearts of gold. Sera's father represents that moral choice and I really liked the fact that the asuras weren't stereotyped too much. Definitely a point for open mindedness.
In conclusion, Alpha Goddess is not really a bad book, its just not a fantastic book. It doesn't exactly do anything very new, just places the same old story in a different mythology. Most of my complaints stem from the fact I'm an Indian and a Hindu, so some stuff is all Malbolge to me, but this may not affect another reader as much. If you're not nitpicky about details and you want a decent read that doesn't strain your brain too much, while delivering all the necessary elements, Alpha Goddess is for you. For me, at the very least, it was a good break.
*All of the above quotes were taken from an ARC from Netgalley. I do not own any of the material in the quotes and many thanks to the publishers for giving me an opportunity to review this book.*
Official blurb-I was absolutely immersed in Sera’s world! Alpha Goddess is a fiery, gripping twist on a timeless love story. The rich mythology and exotic themes were beautifully imagined and unlike anything I've ever read before. Brilliantly dark and powerful. A must read!
The story in this was pretty interesting. Despite all the mythology that was in it, and the many different types of deities and demons and hells and everything else that we were introduced to, it still managed to make sense. It explained everything well enough to follow and there was a good amount of action. I dont have any complains really besides the characters, namely Dev and Kyle. I think this book handled its love-triangle rather poorly.
The book alternated between Sera and Kyle's POVs, so I was definitely Team Kyle. We got to know him a lot better than Dev because of his POVs, and I felt like that meant something for the outcome. Although I was really frustrated with the back and forth. You can trust him. You can't trust him. You can trust him. You can't trust him. My demon blood made me do it. Its really hard for a character to be an individual when they are so easily controlled, and their loyalties begin to mean nothing when it is not their own choice.
And Dev we hardly knew at all. I hated how he just strolled into Sera's life and started acting like he belonged there because of something that happened thousands of years ago. We never really got to know him, and any relationship he had with Sera was based on the past. We never saw them connect in the present, and it just felt really intrusive and presumptuous. It made me hate him in the same way that I hate River Song.
And WTF was with that ending? Who the hell did she pick? Did she pick neither or both?!
I would recommend this to fans of books heavy with mythology, and especially books that visit hell. There is a lot of hell and demons in this book. Or I should say Xibalba. But not necessarily for fans of YA romance. I think the romance in this book was a mess.
ARC provided by NetGalley on behalf of Sky Pony Press, in exchange for an honest review.
I did not care much for this book. I don't believe it was researched well enough. There are glaring inconsistencies between the Hindu religion and what is presented in these pages. I don't mind that there was a mix between mythologies and Hinduism, but they were combined haphazardly. There is Greek mythology, Native American spirituality, Mayan gods. It's all over the place and none of it is made fluid.
On top of this, the various Sanskrit and other terms were not identified, nor explained through the actions of the characters, as if Howard automatically expects the reader to be well-versed in all of these various spiritual disciplines.
Howard tried desperately to keep so much mystery surrounding Sera that it ended up becoming boring after a while. I was hoping there would be more about Sera's transition into understanding she was Lakshmi incarnate, instead most of the book is about her not knowing anything, being in mortal danger, and still everyone keeping secrets. It did not make much sense.
I also felt that Sera's chapters and Kyle's chapters read like they were from two different books, not just two separate voices. There was no flow, just more jarring seams. On top of this there is a love triangle.
Not only that, it is not friggin' resolved! Sorry for the spoiler, but you should know before getting yourself into this book. It was so trite and then there isn't even a resolution. She doesn't pick herself or anything, she just doesn't pick. No reason given. Just whatever!
If executed properly, I feel a storyline so unique and intricate could have been an award-winning story, instead I was left disappointed and, at times, disgusted by the result.
Thank you for the ARC in exchange of an honest review!
Hmmm... This is a bit hard to review. Not that it's a bad book or something. It's not, well, in my opinion. First off... I got friends all over the world since I got so active in reading and doing discussion everywhere about books, life, work or anything under the sun. Why am I telling you that? It is because one or two or three of those friends are from India. They're born, grew up, is living and working in India.
So when I read the book... I was asking Navdha, my friend from India, if she knew what are these words I'm reading in the book means. And she patiently explained to me some of it. Guess what? ... It's not really a full Hindu Myths as I have initially thought. >_< Yes, it was almost about Ramayana. Of Rama and Sita. Of Vishnu and Lakshimi. BUT, I don't think the characters in the book was purely of the said Hindu Myth.
I do believe that some of it was taken from Japanese Myths other mythology, I think. Or just the general demon names. I think that was why most of my Indian reader friends either DNF it or gave it 2 to 3 stars only. They didn't like that the Hindu Mythology was twisted and many faults in the background. In my opinion, I kinda agree to them in a way that the author should have stick to the Hindu mythology and get all the names of the right demon for the right hell. If you know what I mean (only when you read the book).
I do think it was executed well and written well enough for me to give it a 3 stars. It is good. I mean, the writing was captivating. I'm a bit wary of the love triangle though. I mean, how could it end like that? I keep on expecting she'll be with Dev cause hello? They love for a thousand years already. But noooo. I don't get who she end up with. Kyle became like that in the ending... so WTH? They will live for a long time sooooo who the heck? I can't believe that Howard end it like that. I'm not sure if there's a sequel but I guess not because the story did end. Ugh.
Sera struck me as a bit whiny though. And it 's a bit weird that first she's like "I'm ugly" and all that and then the next she's so pretty. :o And the big secret thingy? Is it a secret if people around her actually knows it except her? Yeah? noooooo. It's not a secret anymore. >.<
(I got an ebook copy through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. This being an Advanced Reader Copy, some things in this novel are still liable to change before its publishing.)
I was mostly interested in this book because of Hindu mythology, something that I haven't seen used in many stories so far. I only know the basics, so I can't really tell if everything in Alpha Goddess is exact, or if the author changed a lot of things. I'm not sure I agree with the changes in spelling—why Asuras and Devas couldn't stay the same, and why there's a nekomata thrown in the lot, well, I don't know. (Also, Xibalba is from Maya mythology; no idea either why it was included here.) However, the novel raised interesting questions about choice and redemption, about whether having Asura blood made you "evil" per se, or if you could still walk your own path, and I liked the kind of conundrums some of the characters (well, one of them, actually) had to go through, and what kind of answer he would find.
Another aspect that was a good change, in my opinion, was the love triangle. I'll be open about that and admit I don't like love triangles; most are badly written, unbelievable, and look more like the hype cliché to put in your book rather than something really relevant. There is a triangle here, but the nature of the people involved made it so that its outcome could be different: different avatars, different kinds of love, the ability to love one person with one part of one's soul, yet also love another one with another part... This isn't something I've seen so often—and it didn't seem like an easy cop-out of "boy/girl gets both love interests", because, well, it fits with the mythology (at least if I've grasped it properly).
The downside for me is that, in the end, the story didn't click with me. It wasn't good, it wasn't bad, it just felt like too many YA stories I've read in the past. (Perhaps I'm becoming fed up, and this book had the misfortune of happening at the wrong moment for me, so don't discard it just because I'm the jaded type.) It uses a lot of the usual YA tropes/clichés. Good boy/bad boy. Girl who finds herself ugly, but is actually a beautiful goddess. Whiny character (Sera). A big secret nobody will tell her about (at first), even though not knowing probably endangers her more. High school drama and rejection (unneeded here, I think, as it didn't bring anything to the story). Sera gets better in the second half, maybe a little too fast: I'd have liked to see a smoother transition from "clueless girl who doesn't know who she is" to "badass, demon-ass-kicking warrior", because that part seemed to come out of the blue. But at least she stopped whining, and did something, even encouraging other characters to less discussion and more action, so bonus point here.
I noted a few inconsistencies, too. Sera's mother being called Sophia was weird. Some physical descriptions seemed to have been changed at some point, with a few instances of the former descriptions remaining (ARC, though, so this might have been corrected in the meantime).
As I said, I might be just too jaded. If you're not used to YA with paranormal/supernatural aspects as a genre, you might like it better than I did; it wouldn't be such a bad introduction to it. If you feel you've already read too many similar stories, though, maybe this one isn't for you either. It's not "bad". It just didn't click for me.
(Grade: "It's OK", a.k.a. 2* on Goodreads, 3* on Amazon.)
Ah man I loved this all the way up to the ending. I don't care if she picked Kyle, prince of hell, or Dev, ruler of all gods. What I did care though was that in the end this love triangle concluded. But instead Sera kisses both guys, she promises Dev a future together and then kisses Kyle and promises him right now. Who does that!? Grrrrrrrrrrr.
The plot was really fascinating and was written and developed well.
The ruler of hell wants to rule all three realms, underworld, earth, and Illysia- Heaven, realm of the gods. However he is unable to cross into the mortal realm which he needs to be able to do in order to gain access a portal to Illysia. He devises a plan that allows him to travel to the mortal realm which is where he plans to kill Dev to break up the godly protectors triangle to gain access and rule Illysia.
Sera, is actually Devs married goddess, Sarjana, years ago he made a grave error which led to her leaving and reincarnating as a half demon, half goddess. Half light and half dark, making her the only individual who can transport to both Illysia and hell. A hot and wanted commodity. She has grown up normal, ignorant to her parents status as a deity and her fathers as a previous demon lord turned mortal. When she finally finds out she realises just how vital her role is in the battle to come.
The story was very fascinating, informative and intriguing. The only thing that let it down was the fact that she was greedy and never chose between Dev or Kyle. Even though it was split between Sera and Kyles POV's I really did like Dev"s character. I found him charming and interesting, he always gave great advice and was a very non-judgemental kind and compassionate character which is why I loved both his and Kyle's characters equally as potential love interests. I only wish in the final chapter she'd bloody chosen which one she wanted to remain and be in a relationship with. It does make more sense in my eyes for her and Dev to reunite and for her to had returned to Illysia, to rule by Devs side like old times. She mentioned her family holding her back but after her dad passes, her mother and brother can also return to Illysia and it's not as if her and Kyle couldn't remain contact as friends. They had, once, been best friends and made it work. Her and Dev have a millennium if history together and I would have loved a peak into life in the gods realm. Kyle was an empathetic character however it was hard not to sympathise with hum, with some shocking truths and a horrible past. It's easy to see why he was so likeable to readers. I never once mistrusted him, I believed in the end his morals would guide him onto the right path.
Like I said previously, it was only the end that let it down. It's never good to leave a love triangle open paged. Otherwise this would have been a brilliant read and a solid 4/4.5 stars. Shame really, something so careless can drag such a book down. This book will not appeal to so many readers due to the fact of the love triangle and it's non-closure. I can't even bring myself recommend it. Which I was I was planning to do up until the very last couple of pages. I was ready to right a slamming review and hype it up and now I feel devastated and angry that I can't because sera never grew up and chose.
This was a pretty weak book all told. The plot was telegraphed from miles away and wasn't particularly interesting to begin with. The characters are all fairly flat and don't really have much in the way of motivations. Mostly they are a collection of different hair dye and/or tattoo jobs.
There is an extremely cliched love triangle of a particularly dull sort (girl likes good boy and bad boy! which will she choose?), which isn't even resolved in a satisfying way.
After the third time someone died and came back unscathed, I was confident that there were no meaningful stakes to any conflict therein.
The worst part of it was the worldbuilding, which rather than creating a unified whole, has a slapdash collection of cosmological ideas pulled from just about anywhere and they don't really fit together. (Why are a bunch of sorta-Hindu deities worried about the fate of a seven-layered Abrahamic Hell named after Xibalba? What does it mean for something to be a god or demon in a cosmology where reincarnation and avatar descent are the laws of the land?)
Amalie Howard has done it again! With Alpha Goddess, she brings us an amazing, gorgeous story with vivid, detailed mythology, amazing characters and wonderful prose.
Sera was an interesting character. She starts off disbelieving, craving to be normal. As is typical with Howard’s books, Sera was reluctant to accept her destiny. But over time, she grows and matures and accepts her destiny for what it is. She embraces who she is and who she is meant to be. I always love Howard’s MC’s because of these things – Because even when they start off reluctant, whiny and (sometimes) bratty, they always go through this incredible growth and transition and, in the end, do what they need to do.
Kyle is amazing. I loved him from the very first time we were introduced to him. I loved his physical description and his personality. At times, his jealousy and uncontrolled anger got the best of him. At those times, he becomes slightly unlikeable but he, too goes through a lot and, in the end, we find out why he behaves that way. I think he learns the most about his life and his destiny and he almost goes through a bigger transition than even Sera. He has to fight who he is to be who he wants to be – and it’s an uphill battle and never easy.
Dev was another amazing character. Howard always manages to write amazing and intriguing love triangles – ones where you find yourself loving both guys and wanting the main character to somehow end up with both guys. When Dev’s identity was revealed, it was no surprise. I had a feeling, very early on, about who he was. I was really pleased, though, when this was confirmed. But the other half of who he is – what he is – came as a shock. There was one moment where I truly feared for him, when I wasn’t sure what was going to happen… And, well, I don’t want to spoil it.. So.. I’ll leave it at that.
Some other characters that I loved and who deserve a quick shout-outs include Micah, Nate and Beth.
The end was an epic battle of epic proportions. As always, every time we thought something had happened, Howard pulled the rug out from under us and something else happened. There were several revelations, as well – one revelation after another. I don’t know how Howard does it, but you can never trust what you read until the very last page of the book. Just because something happened, it doesn’t mean it’s set in stone – I’m not sure if that was cryptic or gibberish, but I promise it’ll make sense when you read the book!
Overall, Alpha Goddess was absolutely incredible. Though all of Howard’s books are amazing, Alpha Goddess was my absolute favorite. I’m a huge fan of Greek mythology and, lately, I’ve really enjoyed reading books with other mytholgies in them – such as Egyptian and, of course, Indian. Howard is an amazing storyteller and I look froward to reading many more books from her in the future!
As far as Ya / paranormals go this one is well written. i enjoyed discovering both Ser's secret but Kyle's secret as well. I loved how she ( the author ) revealed everything and how everyone was connected. I understood why Ser hung out with kyle so much and how she saw the good in him when he didnt .
I received this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
The premise of this book was intriguing -- I don't know a lot about Hindu mythology and so I was excited to read something that centered around it (though I suspect it's highly inaccurate and I should just research it myself) -- but it failed spectacularly in its execution.
The main character, Sera, one day discovers that she is special. Everyone knows about it but her. Similarly, everyone around her is hiding something of their true nature (except her little brother, Nate). Basically everyone she knows is tied to Hindu mythology. EVERYONE. Even the school janitor. Sera only finds out because she's been having some really weird dreams, but it turns out that she is the reincarnation of the goddess Sita. That's a big deal, in case you didn't know.
Sera, after years of having no idea that her mother and father are supernatural, goes from knowing absolutely nothing to knowing absolutely everything. While she is with Dev (who is the reincarnation of the god Rama), she suddenly remembers everything about her previous lives. There is virtually no adjustment period. She is just awesome at everything. She doesn't need time to freak out that she's a Hindu goddess or that she can shoot fire out of her hands. Everything is peachy keen.
Oh, and in case that wasn't enough for you, there's a love triangle. Because what supernatural YA book would be complete without a completely pointless romance subplot. Only this time, two of the people involved have literally loved each other for thousands of years. It's the freaking apocalypse, we don't need the drama of a romance, let alone a triangle. Not that either relationship (Sera/Kyle and Sera/Dev) is developed particularly well. She's around Kyle the most, but her feelings seem to literally come out of nowhere, since she spends almost no time thinking about them. Her feelings for Dev are shoved down our throats, but we don't get to actually see anything for ourselves.
This book was hard to get into because virtually nothing happens for the first half of it, and then the last half is full of so much stuff I could barely follow along with everything that was going on. I have major problems with the fact that she went from knowing nothing about what was going on to being practically perfect in every way.
In much the same way I felt about Howard's other book, The Almost Girl, I had a hard time connecting with Sera as a character. Really, I had issues connecting with everyone. None of them seemed real. I didn't particularly care what happened to any of them. Except Nate. Nate can stay. The rest of you are fired.
(Although I received this book for review my review is still 100% honest.)
This book was a really fast read for me. I enjoyed it a lot and it had a pretty impressive adventure within it. The concept for this book was very interesting, its about gods and demons. Except that its all based on Hindu gods, goddess and demons. I found myself really enjoying this book from the very beginning.
The main character of this book is Serjana. Shes a sixteen year old high school student with really only one friend. A lot of the girls make fun of her because she looks different, so I'd have to say she has a pretty miserable time with school in general. Soon though changes start to happen within Serjana and she starts having dreams of demons and goddesses. I found this character to be really enjoyable to read about. She is very strong, brave and not to mention smart. She has a lot of witty moments within this book that was quite fun to read.
Her best friend is named Kyle. Kyle is almost a goth rocker type of teenager. He has a mohawk and tattoos on the sides of his head. He helps Serjana with a lot of her problems with school. Although he is hiding a lot from her. His secrets you find out pretty fast within the book and I have to say there were really good twists surrounding this character. Serjana and Kyle have romantic thing go on between them within the book. Of course its one of the awkward we've been friends forever but have been hiding our true feelings for each other. Their relationship is very minimal within in the book and I didn't have a strong feeling for them being together.
Then there is Serjana's next door neighbor Dev. Dev and Serjana meet the summer before this book started but you can see the difference in their relationship from Serjana and Kyle's. Dev is very flirtatious with Serjana and you can tell he likes her from the very beginning. Dev of course is hiding secrets of his own as well. I loved the romance between this two characters so much. I would say I am on Team Dev for this one.
There are so many twists within this book it makes you want to keep reading it. I hard a hard time putting this one down and felt like I had to find out what would happen next. The only problem I had a hard time with was keeping track of all the characters within this book. There was a lot of them and a majority of them are very important to the story line. Other than that I loved this book. It has action, adventure, and romance. If your interested in the concept behind this book its would not be a waste of time.
(I received a copy from Sky Pony Press for review - all opinions are 100% my own).
At first glance, I was super intrigued by the premise of the story - a retelling of Hindu mythology? Yes please. I don't think I've ever read a novel with that concept so I went into this really excited.
With that being said, this story takes some getting used to. If you're a Hindu mythology newbie like me, things can be hard to follow and there's a lot of plot build up during the first half of the story. However, amidst all the information that is being presented with deities, demons, and the many levels of hell, everything does make sense eventually - you just have to get through the slow beginning.
My favorite part has to be all the hell-related plot points...as weird as that sounds. There's so much to be discovered as Sera travels through the different levels and I was super on board with all the action that happened as well. The writing during the second half was definitely well executed and I reached a point where I didn't know what was happening but I had to keep reading.
Now...the thing I'm not so in love with: the love triangle. I'm not a fan of love triangles but I'll admit that my tolerance has increased a bit with all the kdramas I've been watching (even though they are so much more predictable). This love triangle was a downright nope for me because I just didn't like either guy.
We have Kyle who is this social outcast, half demon, best friend of Sera and we have Dev who is Sera's lover in her original goddess form. At first, I was all for Dev because Kyle was just acting so recklessly, but then Kyle proved that despite everything he did, he cared for Sera above all. Then Sera gets involved with her emotions and I just don't want to deal.
I'm interested because the world that this story takes place in is interesting - I'm not sure how accurate the mythological aspect of it is (based upon some reviews I've read) but I am interested. I'm also hoping we get some answers and hopefully everything works out...that's the goal.
1.) I found the author, Amalie Howard, to be very inspiring rather than condemning. Through out the whole novel. She focuses on the views of love, friendship, and family. The Alpha Goddess is based off of Hindu mythology, which is centered around Sera, the main character, and her world getting flipped upside down when she finds out she is the reincarnation of the powerful hindu goddess, Lakshmi. Because Amalie decided to center her story around this belief, she brought the story and her characters to life. It felt like I was inside of the book, a character written in the novel because she uses so much figurative language. For example Howard says "Both her father and mother’s gazes converged on her like laser beams, and sera stiffened, realizing her mistake to late” (Howard 16). describing how she never should of mentioned what she dreamt about because of her parents intense stare. Howard also does a great job of portraying character development and plot by the main characters thoughts and actions . Amalie also gets the reader hooked to each word because she intwines the Hindu Mythology with reality and the ‘mortal world’. Readers that will find this book most appealing are readers that love teen fantasy fiction’ and when authors blend Mythology, Legends, Folklore, and/or supernatural beliefs with reality and the ‘mortal realm.
2.)Amalie Howard was very vise when writing her fiction novel. She writes in third person so the reader can feel and connect with each of the characters emotion. The story is very clear when understanding the plot and setting. And the blend of Hindu Mythology is lucid. Combining Hindu Mythology with the the reality of the human world balances internal character development and external action to keep the story going because this mythology is something not a lot of people are familiar with, comparing to greek myths. She keeps you reading because the Hindu folklore is so intriguing. Because of Howard’s word choice, sentence structure, and syntax in the novel, she makes you want to keep reading because she draws you into the book. And honestly after reading the novel I wanted to see if she had a sequel!
I just finished reading Howard's latest book, Alpha Goddess, and as usual, I could not put it down! For me, this book started a bit slower than her last (Almost Girl) - but I believe it was simply that I am not as familiar with the underlying mythology for the story. Based loosely on the "myth" of Rama and Sita, it took me into an Indian cultural basis that was entirely new to me. I will do my best not to go into the plot as to not give anything away here! As the story began, our protagonist didn't seem comfortable in her own skin - alone by awkwardness rather than by choice. As she grows into herself and embraces who she is, I felt as though I grew to like her more as well. The character development was fairly fast paced, but totally reasonable in the face of the "magical" nature of the storyline. Howard taps into the emotions we all feel, or felt as adolescents, and throws it under the magnifying glass to bring dark and light to vibrant life. I am continually fascinated by Howard's use of color in her books. The firey reds and soothing blues echoing the balance of death and life, rage and peace, hate and love all combine to create a vivid picture at every scene. Her fast paced writing style keeps the reader swept up in the struggle of the characters. Unlike the edgy speed of Almost Girl, Alpha Goddess allows the reader to breathe once in a while - establishing moments of tranquility while we process the immense changes occurring to our heroine. These pauses flow seamlessly in the story, like breathing, rather than acting as interruptions. Overall, I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for adventure, fantasy, mythology, coming of age, or even a little romance!
Alpha Goddess had so much potential! I was totally sucked into the idea of the story and that gorgeous cover. I’m don’t know a lot about Hindu mythology, but I find the little I have read so interesting. I was really excited to read a story that brought Indian gods and goddesses to present life. Unfortunately there was just way too much going on. I could barely keep all the parties straight and at one point I realized I just didn’t care to try anymore.
I liked Sera in the beginning. She’s having terrifying dreams as she turned 16-bloody kisses and monsters and is hiding them from her parents. She comes to learn that she is a goddess reborn -awesome right? She kind of sulks about this and proceeds to act basically like a petulant child. She also finds out she’s not just an average looking teen-her beauty is so much it had to be hidden away and its painful for a mere mortal to gaze upon. Really? That seems like a great message. I won’t even get into the love triangle she gets herself into-because she’s not just Sera anymore now. She’s now remembering her past lives and loves-and they’re still part of her life. It was all too much to keep straight.
The end explodes into a major battle between gods and demons, but even that couldn’t keep my attention. Sera stopped to chat way too many times it seemed when she could have been saving the world. She was way too consumed with her love options. The concept of this book was fantastic, but the execution was really lacking.
So sadly I’m still on the lookout for a book about Hindu mythology. Any recommendations?
Thank you Sky Pony Press and NetGalley for this advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
Sigh. Sigh. Here it is again, the clichés overruling everything. I cannot top this GIF review of the book, but I'll give my two cents anyway.
Sera is super. Let's put it that way. She is, as any heroine seems to be now, the diamond in the rough, the most special girl, unlike any other. And I get there has to be some quirk to be central to the plot, but it gets tiring having to be the most brilliant thing in the world.
It's apparently full of Hindu myths that aren't right or are incomplete, but they didn't stand out because I was so swept up by the badly written plot arcs. Like, everyone knows about Sera bar herself, and she clearly overhears numerous not-so-subtle conversations of her parents debating whether or not to "tell her". It's supposed to be tantalising and cryptic, instead it's a cliché.
A teen book with a love triangle? I dislike that as a trend anyway, because a plot shouldn't need that to hold it up, but even when I try overlook my own issues with that (sometimes it's done well), this was just not right.
Sera is whiny, the ending - the climax of the love triangle - is disappointing to the max. It had demonic ideas! Mythology! Goddess-types! Hell! Danger! But it was so disjointed and, urgh. The romance was a mess even by the generally low standard I've seen of late, and the mythology was muddied throughout the whole thing.
Although there are lots of things wrong with this book, it is still an interesting take on the whole teen angst love triangle story. But then when gods and goddesses are involved it will probably be different. And when a goddess is both of heaven and hell things do get pretty convoluted.
Sera is the incarnate goddess Sita or Lakshmi. She is supposed to maintain balance in the worlds but when her uncle the god of death sets out to overthrown everything and call forth Kali bringing hell on earth she must learn her powers and create the balance needed. Her husband and lover must support her but will they? After all she loves them both and they are jealous of each other. And who and what is Kyle really? Just remember that even for gods and goddesses there is always choice and just because someone is a god/goddess does not always mean they will make good choices.
i do however agree with other reviewers that this particular jumble of gods/goddesses is a bit off. I can understand some sharing with Chinese and Thai gods but using the Mayan name for Hell is kind of weirdly random.
I would give this to fans of Rick Riordan, P. B. Kerr, and other books that feature gods and goddesses but only with the proviso that there are definitely inconsistencies with the names of gods etc. I would not give it to someone who is Indian Hindu as there are clearly issues with that.
The goddess within Sera awakens in the form of nightmares and hallucinations. Her parents shade her from harm and keep her true identity hidden from all outside a close circle of friends and family. Sera herself doesn't even know what she is. She is hidden because of her unusual abilities that can be used for both good and evil, and if evil find out who she is and what she can do it'd stop at nothing to get her, putting all realms in terrible danger. Sera soon learns of her part and of the extraordinary power she holds. She embraces this side of herself and accepts what she must do to protect the realms and all those she loves from hell on Earth (literally).
The twists were brilliantly crafted, and the plot moved along smoothly and at a good pace. I cared for the characters and was fully invested in their journey. ALPHA GODDESS is a rich mythology novel with powerful gods, deadly realms, and fierce battles.
Normally if I hate a book I'll only complain about it to my family and friends; but this book was so horrible I just had to tell the world. Let me first say the storyline of the book was a pretty good idea, I have never read a book about Hindu gods and goddesses so I was pretty interested when I first seen this one but the more I read the more I wanted to set the book on fire (Blasphemous I know). The overall structure of writing seemed as if the author had so many different ideas that she just threw them all down at once in no particular order causing the book to be choppy and confusing. I am completely convinced that if the author had took her time and maybe even split the book up into two books so that she had more time to fully think out each idea this could have been an awesome book.
I am going to be honest I did not like this book, and it took me forever to read because I didn’t care about the characters at all. I am not even going to give a description because honestly if you read one teen girl fantasy with an unnecessary love triangle you have read this book. Nothing stood out, it was slow starting, and then the action was rushed. Sera’s love triangle with Dev and Kyle was boring. I didn’t know why she was attracted to either one of them. Also I am not that familiar with Indian Mythology but I felt there was something wrong with her use of it. It felt like she read maybe two stories involving Indian Mythology and was like yup I have enough to write a story. She needs to rewrite this book big time. The concept was really interesting but she did not execute it well.
I've been ridiculously torn on my rating. I'm a sucker for new religions and mythology in YA (Greeks are SO passé darling) and this obviously wasn't a DNF for me so there are some positives. I'm set on two stars though, because while it was three stars for me personally, i wouldn't feel comfortable recommending this because it's a bit rough around the edges.
Good concept, I just get so tired of every book having a love triangle of some sort. One bad boy to lust over vs. the perfect guy for you and you can't choose. DUMB!!!!! Other than that I love the originality of it all.
Hey guys, I just finished Alpha Goddess by Amalie Howard. The main thing I enjoyed about this novel was the aspect of Hindu Mythology embedded deeply within the storyline. That actually was the main reason I wanted to read this. Lol. The storyline in itself was alright. However, at times I do have to admit I lost attention while reading this book. Or, maybe I was just thinking too hard in regards to certain aspects. In addition, at first the background details were a tad overwhelming, though I knew the author was attempting to set the stage and all that. But, it was like a bit much information all at once. It wasn't spaced out as it could have been. So, my mind was scrambling in efforts to make sense of everything. Then again, I am just the type to almost always overanalyze my books(I blame college). Once I let myself just relax and ease into the story, I enjoyed it more. There were a few twists and turns I wasn't expecting. Sadly, there was a huge shocker, and it would have been, if I hadn't already guessed it! :( sometimes I dislike my intelligent mind for figuring out details before fully explained. I like and dislike that part of my mind. Lol. But enough about me. I have to talk about the men in this novel. Oy...talk about a weird love triangle. One has her heart, the other her soul. Yeah....honey, you're gonna have to pick one of them sooner or later. I swear....okay, so there is Dev, the cool, easygoing, easy to love, just easy to be with guy. Then there is kyle. Poor, tortured, conflicted, ashamed, guilty, baby boy Kyle. *sighs*. Little kyle...that boy has gone through many hardships, and his life isn't gonna get any easier. Okay...I guess you guys can tell I'm sometimes a sucker for the underdog.... Alrighty then. I don't know what else to talk about without spoiling anything, so yeah. I enjoyed the book, wish I could have been more fully engaged with the storyline, and I am unsure of whether I will read the sequel "Dark Goddess". Bye.
Sera has always felt like an outcast, with only her one friend Kyle, a fellow misfit to keep her company. But Sera does not know anything about the supernatural world that Kyle is part of, as well as the ongoing battle between good and evil that has been going on forever. When strange things start to occur in Sera's life, she realizes there are secrets her parents are not telling her- secrets that have everything to do with Sera.
Overall this was a very cool concept for a book, with ancient deities and battles from supernatural creatures I have never encountered before as well as reincarnation (which is one of my favorite concepts and I need more of in my stories!). Also, the supernatural elements were so well described and at times scary, really intriguing me with the horror like aspects. I will make this review super short though because I do not like being negative, but this book was not for me. I could not get into it to save my life. I spent most of the story being confused by all the characters that were introduced as well as the motivations for why certain things were going on. Also, I could never connect to Sera, at times I thought she was kind of a jerk and other times I was just confused by her attitude and actions in general (I liked the narration by Kyle better since he was way more relatable- even though he was not human and potentially evil...hmm, I wonder what that says about me?). Side note, there is also a love triangle between Sera, her best friend Kyle and her reincarnated soulmate.
This was my first book by this author (who I had the opportunity to meet and loved!) and I will most certainly read a different series by her in the future. I know that other people will love this book and the different kind of culture and supernatural featured.
Amalie Howard's ALPHA GODDESS is a YA OwnVoices paranormal novel with some elements of romance. Like many paranormal stories, the author draws from ancient legend and myths to create her world. Unlike the overdone Greek and Roman myths, though, Ms. Howard draws from her Indian heritage and features the colorful, rich tapestry that is Hindu mythology.
Serjana has been struggling with increasingly vivid, violent nightmares since she turned 16. Her parents are making her crazy with being over-protective and overly inquisitive about her dreams, her waking experiences, and her lack of a love life. Her unusual looks don't help her already awkward social life. And just to complicate things, her best friend, Kyle, seems to be getting involved with drugs, a gang, or both, and she's got a crush on the cute guy next door, whom her bestie HATES.
Sera has been the only person in Kyle's life he could trust, besides his foster Mom, Carla. His mother died trying to kill him when he was 5, and the secret he's carrying is slowly strangling him. Sera doesn't believe in the metaphysical, the paranormal, or immortality. Kyle sure wishes he could convince her, though. Then he could trust her with his secret, the fate he'd trade his soul to avoid.
When Sera and Kyle each learn their true identities, though, their common ground could spell the end of humanity. Sera is one of many incarnations of the goddess Lakshmi, forever bound in love to the cute guy next door, Devendra, an incarnation of her forever mate, Vishnu. Kyle? He's just the son of one of the seven lords of Xibalba, the hell realm.
Destiny marches forward, dragging the teens into a battle that will decide the fate of the mortal realm, Xibalba, and Illysia, the realm of gods and immortals.
This is the first book in a series, filled with colorful legends, deeply developed characters, and plot twists (plus a healthy dose of humor, just for good measure). Be sure to pick it up and have a read!
I received this free eARC novel from Edelweiss. This is my honest review.
I made it to 60% of this book before having to give up on it. I just couldn't handle a lot of aspects and found myself skimming the novel too much for me to really appreciate the storyline. Sera finds out about this major secret about herself, and after 10 minutes of freaking out, she has accepted and knows everything about this new world. There seems to be no transition period where she is learning about this change in her life, and she just reads a few articles from the internet and she knows everything.
Then when it comes to the two guys in her life, she's making out with them and trying to figure out which one she loves the most. When Dev drops ANOTHER big secret on her, she at first doesn't remember, and then BAM she remembers again.
This was just very hard to follow. The storyline needed more information to building the new world that Amalie Howard was creating, and I was just along trying to figure out how everything was working. After realizing that I was a bit lost by 60%, I decided I didn't want to be lost anymore and gave up. I do have the second book as an eARC, but I don't think I'll be able to read it if I didn't finish the first novel. Maybe one day I'll try to read it again, but right now just isn't the right time for me to figure out what went wrong.