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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

After an epic struggle that unseated the Asura Lord of Death and placed Serjana Caelum’s best friend, Kyle, on his throne, the Mortal Realm is peaceful and the balance between good and evil—which Sera is sworn to protect—has been restored. But signs of a new threat to the world of men quickly begin to appear: A scourge of demons descends on the Mortal Realm, and Sera is beside herself trying to locate their source. She sends word to the gods for help, and their answer comes in the form of Kira, the living incarnation of Kali, goddess of destruction. Stunning and dangerous, Kira plans to protect the heavens at all cost, even if it means destroying the entire Mortal Realm. Soon Sera and Kyle find themselves fighting not just the demon plague, but Kira and her twin. But when an even more sinister threat arises—putting not just the human world but all planes of existence in jeopardy—they must all learn to work together or lose everything they sacrificed so much to save.…

Overall Book Review:

Dark Goddess by Amalie Howard was an interesting take on the mythology of the Ramayana. Set in modern times, the goddess Lakshmi (Sita from the Ramayana) has been reincarnated as a mortal named Serjana (Sera for short), who has only recently been re-awakened into her power and her role as the bridge between Illysia (the Light Realm of heaven), the Mortal Realm (earth) and Xibalba (the Dark Realm of hell).

In this book, Sera and her friends, Kyle (an offspring of a high-ranking demon and a newly-made Azura Lord – basically a demon lord who can control the demons), her true love Devandra (a reincarnation of Rama) and members of the Neferi (a divine army consisting of human and divine entities) have recently prevented the legendary KaliYugi, the Apocalypse, from taking place. But though the demons have been suppressed, a new war is brewing – one that might end with Sera’s death.

This was an interesting read. I didn’t 100% love it. There was a lot of gory description about the battles between demons and goddesses, and whenever characters went to Xibalba, the descriptions tended to be really gory and nasty. I’d have preferred more eerie and subtle horror, but this was mostly in-your-face horrifying, and I didn’t particularly care for that. The main characters aren’t bad; there was nothing really wrong with Sera or Kyle or Kiri or Devandra, but I didn’t ever feel really connected to them. There wasn’t a great character I could fall in love with, and character, for me, is really important.

However, if you’re in the mood for a really interesting take on the Ramayana, this is a pretty good read. It is the second in a series, with the first book being Alpha Goddess, and I did manage to read Alpha Goddess before reading Dark Goddess. I’m not sure how well I’d have followed the book if I hadn’t read book one first.

Review of an Advance Reader’s Copy

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Sky Pony Press

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  8 religious exclamations; 41 mild obscenities; 1 religious profanity; 2 derogatory names; 3 scatological words; 1 anatomical term; 1 offensive hand gesture.

Violence/Gore:  Many instances of violence and gore, including but not limited to: a character recalls a past breach by a demon lord and decides to destroy the Mortal Realm of humanity; there are frequent reports of divine beings battling demons hiding on earth; characters sometimes verbally and physically fight each other; a character states he can feel demons pulling at him and devouring him; demons are often gorily described, i.e., one demon is described as having half a head with brains exposed; two goddesses battle, killing demons and humans alike; a character’s hellfyre burns an immortal’s skin; a council of gods and mortals argue over the fate of a demon lord; characters battle and slaughter hordes of vampiric demons; a divine being is brutally killed; a character opens a portal to hell-like Xibalba; a character is taunted by a demon who appears as his hideously deformed doppelganger; a character sees a child writhing in a bloody sea; a character is caught by a monster’s tentacle and dragged toward downward; there are many instances of goddesses fighting other gods/goddesses/demons, with fairly descriptive gore and violence; a character is stabbed by a hellish blade and suffers excruciating pain; a character has a vision of someone’s impending death; a berserker goddess urges a boy to kill a demon-possessed human; a child is possessed by a demon, with some disturbing imagery; a character is clawed viciously across the back by a taloned demon; characters occasionally engage in duels to the death, which are usually bloodily described; characters are confronted by empty-eyed possessed students; a possessed high-schooler picks up a demonic weapon and is turned instantly to ash; characters witness demons feeding on mortals; a character opens a portal to Xibalba to viciously banish all the demons and is sucked in; a divine entity is dragged into Xibalba and her skin chars instantly; a character is bound to an altar and his bare chest is carved with runes; a man strikes a boy; a character cuts off the head of a demonic replica of her dead friend, with description of gore; a layer of hell is described as being fertilized with blood and flesh; a goddess in true form wears a skirt of severed human arms; a berserker goddess attacks a demon with her weapons, teeth, and claws, and dances on its bones; a character is killed; a character wanders through an eerie afterlife and cuts her feet on razor-sharp grass; description of a character’s bloody death wound.

Sex/NudityMany instances of sex and nudity, including but not limited to: a boy loves a girl, who is in love with a different boy; a boy has physical symptoms of shortened breath and a tight heart after seeing a sexy girl; a boy jokes about needing the play the field; boys and girls/gods and goddesses sometimes flirt and make out with each other; a boy reminds a girl about being in a bathtub together when they were younger and jokes about being the first boy she ever saw naked; a girl asks if boys only think about hooking up with girls; character discuss a god’s consorts; a boy sees a goddess nude in her true form; a boy jokes about being unable to find a boyfriend and trying to kiss another boy; a girl jokes about being in an open relationship and being free to sow her wild oats; a boy and girl engage in intimate caresses, with touching and kissing; a goddess kisses a demon lord; characters briefly discuss a boy’s love life; a boy and girl apparently make out and sleep together; a girl lifts a boy’s shirt to examine his wound and touches his skin; character’s examine an unconscious boy’s back; a boy recognizes a girl he “hooked up” with once; a character is bound shirtless to an altar; female demons appear in the nude and run their fingers along a boy’s ribs and limbs; a demon’s appearance is that of a man and woman locked in a lascivious embrace.

Mature Subject Matter:

War, death, demons, battles, sex, sex identity issues, underage drinking.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Teens and adults occasionally drink; a teen-looking goddess smokes.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

Fantasy is my bread and butter. I read and write it. I’m obsessed with world-building and fascinated with lyrical prose. I love that I can contribute to the writing community by recommending good books that can actually make a difference in a person’s life.