The living mourn the dead for a time but they forget about them as days pass. The living are so selfish, so spoilt, so taken with the very act of living that they don’t remember long.– The Goddess Chronicle
Summary and Thoughts
In a place like no other, on a mystical island in the shape of tear drop, two sisters are born into a family of oracles. Kamikuu is admired far and wide for her otherworldly beauty; small and headstrong Namima learns to live in her sister’s shadow. On her sixth birthday, Kamikuu is chosen to become the next Oracle, serving the realm of light, while Namima is forced to serve the realm of darkness—destined to spend eternity guiding the spirits of the deceased to the underworld.
As the sisters serve opposite fates, Namima embarks on a journey that takes her from the experience of first love to the aftermath of scalding betrayal. Caught in an elaborate web of treachery, she travels between the land of the living and the Realm of the Dead, seeking vengeance and closure.
At the heart of this exquisitely dark tale, Kirino masterfully reimagines the ancient Japanese creation myth of Izanami and Izanaki. A provocative, fantastical saga, The Goddess Chronicletells a sumptuous story of sex, murder, gods and goddesses, and bittersweet revenge.
A lush, classically told folktale from a woman’s perspective, The Goddess Chronicle manages to convey complex emotions, relationships, and questions through a simple but well-written story. Though there isn’t a bevy of characters or conflicts to motivate them, that which is there is powerful, and Kirino allows that power to flourish in all its grandeur. I emphasized deeply with Namina, but also with (almost) all in her orbit as well, urging me to stay up late in the night to find out what decisions they’ve made. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and while it doesn’t quite meet my favorites, this is simply due to the personal preference/impact.
For Those Who Enjoyed
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- Sultana’s Dream by Rokeya Sakhawat
- Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield
- The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo
- The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey