Alpha Goddess - Amalie Howard

(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.