Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Dogs and Goddesses - Review

I'm a huge Jennifer Crusie fan. Huge. I got to hear her speak once, in 1994 or so, and a smarter, funnier, more supportive person you could not even imagine, much less a published author. I believe I said something to her about my being just a dilettante and she would have none of it, the message being essentially, to think positive, although I'm sure it was phrased far more originally and entertainingly.

Given all that, it makes me feel bad to write this review, because OMG, this is a stinker. The premise is, there's this Mesopotamian goddess Kammani, who gets resurrected in Ohio by accident. She has 7 attendants who are demi-goddesses, I think, well, at least 3 of them are, the other 4 are more powerful than mortals but less than The Three Special ones, who together are another goddess, but apart only manifest their powers in uncontrollably wacky sorts of ways. Are you following this? Yeah, that's part of the problem.

Technically, this is a paranormal, but the "world-building," such as it is, is more of a series of punchlines, that strung together barely have any kind of coherence. There's a more serious turn of events in order to build tension for the book's climax, but IMO it falls flat because the authors at no time before that point take any of the characters or the world's rules seriously. I'm all down with humor, you know, but if you're going to make jokes out of your own characters, I'm not going to feel much empathy for them.

The goddesses tend to be interchangeable, with the possible exception of Mina, who's your basic Wednesday Addams, with a dog. The men in the story have zero character development. The dialog of the dogs is kind of funny, though if you like that sort of thing, Betsy's blog is far more entertaining.

(Edited to add)
What others say about Dogs and Goddesses:
Speed-Reading Book Nerd Reviews - liked it
Books, Books, and More Books - about the same reaction as me
A brief but positive mention from Charlene Teglia (an author that I totally love, BTW)
The Good, The Bad, and The Unread - lukewarm but polite


Chris said...

It felt to me like each author had a section to write. Can't remember if it was the first or second section that didn't seem too bad (and actually drew me along a bit), but the third section was horrible.

Medical Librarian said...

Thanks for this review. I kept debating about this one on bookstore trips because I love dogs, and I now know I'll skip. :)

Betsy O'Donovan said...

I admit, my first reaction to Nicola's first reaction was, "WHAT? NO. It is JENNY CRUSIE."

And then I started thinking about "The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes" and how uneven it was. I think there's something in the process of writing these that makes them a tough read. You go in expecting a Crusie novel and tone, and then there's some inexplicable Anne Stuart in there, and it's not the same.

Whereas, in her collaborations with Bob Mayer, you feel the Crusie throughout, with some extra Mayer oomph.

So maybe it's the process that's the problem? The "you take this section and I'll take that one and then we'll figure out the segues."

Nicola O. said...

Among other things, I also have a problem with the fact that there's no main character. The ensemble cast makes it very unfocused.

Chris, I liked the first part as well, but it just went downhill for me. The second bit where the "Three" started having orgasms in the street and the wind from the clicky pen and... I just found it dumb.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to read this review, but I cannot say I am surprised. None of the collabs have worked for me.

Anonymous said...

I just finished D&G. A compelling work of fiction it's not, but holy feministas is there some interesting stuff in it intellectually. The combination of smart yet crummy novel might even impel to me to post something on my neglected blog. Maybe.

Nicola O. said...

I'd love to read it, because I sure didn't see anything mind-bending in there.

Anonymous said...

(small voice) I really liked Dogs and Goddesses.

Yes, it is fluffy and not a piece of great literature by any stretch of the imagination, but it was fun. I loved every second of the time the dogs were featured.

It is a re-reader for me. Unlike the collaberation with Bob Mayer, which I couldn't even finish. Yuck.


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