Goddess of the Wild Thing – Entered in 2018 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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Paul DeBlassie III

Goddess of the Wild Thing by Paul DeBlassie III follows a woman named Eve on her quest to find love amidst life, loss, and a metaphysical war between two magical deities. Set in the mystical nation of Aztlan del Sur, Eve finds herself torn between the affections of Sam, a man she doesn’t fully trust, and spending her life entirely without love. Goddess of the Wild Thing is an ambitious novel which attempts to answer the question: is bad love preferable to no love at all?

Goddess of the Wild Thing attempts to do a lot in a short amount of time. It occasionally struggles under the weight of all the worldbuilding necessary to establish the world of Aztlan del Sur, and unfortunately sometimes it falls short. Better attention could be paid to establishing the mythology behind the various deities and why it is that they are so diametrically opposed. This would help to better ground the story in the world in which it is set. Further developing the cast of supporting characters would provide the story with more life and make the buildup to the final battle more satisfying.

Where Goddess of the Wild Thing excels is in its ambition. This novel tries to do so much! From the blending of Mesoamerican and Native American cultures to the conversation about toxic behaviors, both masculine and feminine, in human relationships, there is a lot going on. DeBlassie seamlessly integrates his knowledge of psychology to present the reader with a main character that has a fully developed and nuanced psyche. Situating Aztlan del Sur in the Southwestern United States is a smart move. Clearly grounding the story in a real location, even though Aztlan del Sur differs from modern day America, adds to the magical realism that is inherent in the story. Goddess of the Wild Thing by Paul DeBlassie III offers an intriguing look at a fantasy world while encouraging the reader to confront their own ideas about love, relationships, and spirituality.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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