Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Nobody's Goddess


Nobody's Goddess (Never Veil, #1)Nobody's Goddess by Amy McNulty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If I were to rate Nobody's Goddess on the storyline alone, I would give it five stars. The concept is intriguing as all get-out, with the complexity of the story deepening with every turn of the page. McNulty creates so many wild threads that I was sure the whole thing would unravel by the end...such as: Why did the first goddess put this horrible curse on the village in the first place? Who is the lord and where did he come from? What/who are the "specters" that shadow the lord everywhere he goes? Why does the ground shake every time a woman looks up at the castle? Well, get this: ALL of these questions are answered. That is such a rare phenomenon in YA novels nowadays that this fact alone had me feeling nearly euphoric by the time I reached the end of the book.

The reason I feel compelled to downgrade my rating by a star is because the main character, Noll, is so unlikable. I'm all for anti-hero types, but there needs to be something redeemable about them to latch onto...some kind of adorable nuance or charm. Noll has none. She is selfish and miserable pretty much 100% of the time. I did understand her frustrations with her village, and I appreciated her rants about the mindless hollow men obsessed with their goddesses. In these instances, her sarcasm and resentment were warranted. But her constant cold treatment of her sister (who was simply trying to make the best of an unfortunate situation) and her downright cruel treatment of the lord were often too much to swallow. The final blow occurs when (view spoiler) I understand that McNulty was trying to create a believable character in Noll, one complete with flaws, but it's never a good sign when your readers would rather see the protagonist fling herself off a cliff than keep hurting people. Thankfully, by the end, Noll does finally open herself up to change, but it's almost too little too late.

Also, I didn't understand Noll's obsession with Jurij. Why would such a strong-willed female be in love with this weak, passive male who's about as interesting as a limp noodle? Furthermore, why wasn't there more chemistry between Noll and the lord? Noll absolutely hates all of the empty, hollowed men in her village who do nothing but swoon over their goddesses, yet when she is finally confronted with a man who can think for himself, who is clever and stubborn like her, and who fights AGAINST being her slave, she hates him for it. There was simply no pleasing her.

Still you guys, I really, really loved this book. I know this seems hard to believe given my criticism, but even despite Noll's unlikability, I couldn't put it down. I love unique premises, and this one scratched just about every itch I've had for a truly original concept since The Host by Stephanie Meyer. Nobody's Goddess has a satisfying ending, with almost all questions answered and the sweet suggestion of Noll's future relationship lingering in the air. There's enough intrigue to warrant reading the second installment, but no big cliffhangers to drive you crazy waiting for it. I will definitely be on the lookout for book 2 of the Never Veil Series.