The Hidden Goddess

The Hidden Goddess - M. K. Hobson On the whole I enjoyed it, but not nearly as much as "The Native Star", and at the end I was left feeling rather melancholy because the series seems wrapped up now. It's got a "happily ever after" feel to it, which for some reason I found oddly dissatisfying (even though I'd been rooting for Emily and Stanton to finally get to be together through the whole book). I liked this universe and was looking forward to getting to explore it over the course of 3 or 4 books, but instead it all wraps up in two. (edit: Upon visiting Hobson's website, I see that this isn't the end of the series, but rather is the end of the stories about Emily and Stanton. That makes me feel better, so I'm going to knock the rating up to 4 stars.)

It also seemed to take a really long time for anything substantial to start happening. The first third of the book is little more than setup and Emily and Stanton's romantic moments being constantly interrupted by people showing up (this was something I felt happened way too much in the book, to the point that as soon as they started getting cozy with each other, I knew someone was going to barge in and they were going to be put off yet again. And naturally it happened just like that. It got to be annoying after first two or three times.). The fact that I'd just finished reading the first book might have contributed to my impatience with how long it was taking for things to start happening too, since a lot of it was getting the reader up to speed with things that happened in the previous book, but when something substantial finally happened, I looked down at the progress bar on my Kindle and found that I was exactly 33% of the way in. So yes, slow starting.

Things really cook after that, and it's one exciting scene after another, along with multiple "Oh no!"'s. Emily's missing early years are finally revealed, as are Stanton's years training to be a sangrimancer. A lot of really fascinated and well-drawn characters come out over the course of the book, and things twist and turn and get all confusing, but eventually it all comes back to form cohesive sense. The big final battle was a little difficult to follow as it happened though.

One final thing I wanted to comment about, since I brought it up in the review of the previous book: the Aztec sangrimancers wanting to destroy the world angle. I was meh about it then, and though I think it worked in the context of this book, it did get me thinking about how sangrimancers were portrayed in this universe. It occurs to me that there isn't a single positive sangrimancer in either book. They seem to be the token "black hats" and this does kind of bother me. The credomancers come in all flavors, and you never really can tell what they're up to, but all sangrimancers are evil, vile creatures, no exceptions. When Stanton was one, he took absolute glee in murder and suffering. I can see this being a modern commentary on the evil of human sacrifice, and the use of Aztecs is an easy shorthand for human sacrifice=evil, but at the same time it's reinforcing narrow understanding of blood sacrifice in general (Christ died in blood sacrifice, of his own choosing, and Quetzalcoatl advocated for auto-sacrifice rather than the killing of others). Where are the sangrimancers that practice self-bloodletting to perform beneficial magic? Surely sangrimancy is as diverse a magical field as the other two.