Goddess Tricked (Mate Run #1), by Skylar Blaue
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Books Go Social and the author. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
As a reader and writer whose beat includes a discussion of heathen religion , I suppose I approach this book a great deal differently than most people. Suppose an author created a world not too unlike ours that had both magic users as various types of shapeshifters that were in touch with animals that was ruled with a pagan worldview. Suppose then that the heathen deities in charge of this world wanted to exercise divine providence and encourage bonds of intimacy through the relationship of the sun and moon with the earth. How then could this be done with as much sexy time as possible? Not everyone is going to appreciate this book, especially those who want nothing to do with the book’s continual evocations of its titular goddess or the rules of its worldview regarding mating for life because of the overwhelming power of hormones, or the vivid and descriptive language that is used to describe the overwhelming power of those hormones that fills this book. Consider yourself duly warned or encouraged.
This short book of about 140 pages, making it a novella, consists of events that occur over a Friday night that features a confluence between a full moon and a solar eclipse, that supposedly occurs once every seven years. We see this night and its hijinks through the eyes of two friend that have a flirtatious but loyal relationship where the two of them are having witty conversations as they attempt to navigate a crowded experimental highrise apartment that includes all three of the novel’s hominid groups, magical “Sparks” in touch with the divine, animal-connected “Shifters,” and ordinary human beings including Amber, the best friend of sassy spark Carly, the two young women through whose perspective we see this wild night. And it is a wild night, described with relish and a great deal of enthusiastic detail by its author. Given the various possibilities for complexity that the novel presents us with, the end result is practically the best available outcome since there was really no way that the main characters were going to make it through such a night without bonding with someone. In my own discussions with the author, there will be further novels in this series that look at different and more complex potential outcomes as well.
Although the worldview of the novel and my own are quite distinct, this novel can be taken on a somewhat serious and reflective level. It is instructive that the novel comes with a rule that binds couples (or other combinations of people) joined together on a night like this for life, and that where there are male and females paired together that pregnancy and birth are the result. This novel is clearly life affirming in all of its paradoxically pagan rule-based and anarchic fashion. Through divine providence people with a bit of a fear of intimacy are joined and bound with people with whom they feel a powerful connection and with whom they look forward to a lifetime together. In reading this novel and seeing how the people are joined together, I am reminded of the tension between fear and longing that exists in my own life and would include the premise of the novel as a way that I would prefer not to be bound to someone else. Still, even in our more mundane world a great many people join together because the pull of life and chemistry overcomes rational considerations. Out of such stuff can come witty and humorous and earthy novels like this one.
 See, for example: