I really enjoy books that are aimed at a YA audience, and I did enjoy this one. The Owl Goddess by Jenny Twist is based on the claim of Erich von Dänekin that extraterrestrials or “ancient astronauts” visited Earth and influenced early human culture and is set in the prehistoric Mesolithic age. It’s a first contact tale, which begins with the crash of the spaceship Atlantis on a planet populated by an intelligent but primitive people. The sign of their Goddess appears in the sky, marking the crash site – a giant Sacred Mushroom.
The difference in this story is that the aliens aboard the spaceship are a group of Greek gods and goddesses: the teenage Athena, her father Zeus, Ares, Demeter, Artemis, Apollo, Hades and Poseidon, to name a few. Following the crash, which they all survive, they set up camp and very quickly recognize that this planet is exactly like their home. The gods become quite delightfully human in this author’s creation, having many of the foibles we associate with their myths, and assume the jobs of their mythic descriptions. Hestia, for example, the virgin goddess of the hearth, architecture and domesticity, takes on the job of camp cook, while Hera, the wife of Zeus, is portrayed as self-centered and shrewish.
The book is told from the points of view of Athena, and the boy, Prometheus, who not surprisingly is the keeper of the fire for his primitive tribe, the Titans. Prometheus is in love with Pandora, who has become The Mother of the tribe and assumed sacred powers. The Mother decides to see the aliens and she and the tribe climb the mountain to reach their camp.
What follows is an interesting story of assimilation and learning, as the two groups try to understand each other. There is plenty of tension: the love triangle of Athena, Prometheus, and Pandora; the hatred of Prometheus for his brother, who becomes Pandora’s husband; the challenge of Atlas to Zeus’ leadership. The author also cleverly weaves in some of the legends: Athena adopts a baby owl, and the primitive tribe worships her as a wise goddess; Zeus banishes Atlas and his followers across the Mediterranean to Africa.
This is a sweet story and an easy read, humorous with quirky characters. The only drawback for me was some of the dialogue – a bit simple. The book should be a great hit with tweens and younger teens who are into Greek mythology.
Four out of five stars
About the author from Amazon):
Jenny Twist left school at fifteen and went to work in various jobs, including an asbestos factory and a bacon-packing plant. She even did a turn as an escapologist’s assistant before returning to full-time education, earning a BA in history at Manchester and doing post-graduate studies at Oxford. In 2001,
she retired and moved to Spain where she lives with her husband and their rather eccentric dog and cat. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, knitting and attempting to do fiendishly difficult logic puzzles.
You can reach Jenny at:
You can find The Owl Goddess on Amazon: