The Owl GoddessAuthor: Jenny Twist
Author's Web site: https://sites.google.com/site/jennytwistauthor/home
ISBN-13: 978-1530594665Reviewer’s Rating 5 out of 5 stars
Buy link: myBook.to/OG
Reviewed by Mary Patterson Thornburg, http://www.marypattersonthornburg.com/
"The Owl Goddess" is one of the most entertaining and original books I've read in a long time.
On one level, it's a story based in a familiar science-fiction theme: a spacefaring vessel is wrecked on a planet inhabited by an intelligent but technologically primitive race. One of the native tribes discovers the accidental visitors' camp, and the novel follows the two groups over a period of a couple of years, as they interact with and endeavor to understand each other.
But from the very first page, it's obvious this is a completely different "first contact" story. The twelve shipwrecked spacefarers have familiar names: Athena, Zeus, Hera, Artemis, Apollo... Yet the members of both groups are definitely human, physically and emotionally very like each other despite the fact that the accidental visitors are far from their home world. What's going on here? It's a mystery the twelve visitors attempt to solve even as they struggle to build a base for themselves on this strange – but not entirely strange – new planet. And the solution is so clever that I gasped and then laughed out loud when I discovered it.
The story is told from multiple points of view (including, briefly, that of a young owl), but the two central characters are Athena, the youngest of the visitors, daughter of the ship's captain, sixteen when the novel begins, and Prometheus, a teenaged member of the stone-age tribe. Stunned by the unusual habits and abilities they observe in these new people, the natives take them for supernatural beings; the spacefarers, equally baffled by the cave-dwelling tribe's way of life, suppose the natives are mentally as well as technologically primitive. But Athena and Prometheus become friends, and their friendship leads both groups into a series of adventures.
This novel will be appealing to readers of all ages, interesting and amusing whether they are familiar with the ancient Greek myths or not. It's well and clearly written, in straightforward and colloquial language. It humanizes all the characters – not only the "gods and goddesses," who after all are very human in the mythic stories themselves, but maybe more importantly the stone-age people, who are just as human as we are despite their primitive technology. As a retired teacher, I couldn't help thinking how much a middle-school or high-school class would love this. I'd certainly teach it in a unit about mythology. And as a movie producer (in my dreams), I'd grab this one in a minute.
Jenny Twist is an amazing author whom I discovered only recently. I can't wait to read more of her work!
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