Interim Goddess of Love is the first book of a planned series, and aside from Hannah's struggles, it also features her first project: Kathy, a girl who claims to be 'invisible' but is getting lots of attention from a secret admirer.
Readers looking for a definitive introduction to Philippine mythology might want to look elsewhere, but for the casually curious, Interim Goddess of Love intersperses enough hints of Filipino gods and goddesses between Hannah's college life. As the IGoL, Hannah is privy to a number of romantic situations (and cute guys!). You get a good glimpse of the inhabitants of Ford River College from her perspective -- the mortals and the deities, the RKs (rich kids) and the SKs (scholarship kids). The author excels in capturing a certain slice of Filipino life that I think is alternately familiar and unique. The writing is smooth and the whole book is broken down into different situations that almost seem episodic to me.
What I admire most about Ms Esguerra's stories is that they create romantic moments without always resorting to Hollywood's Big Gesture but still have enough warm and fuzzy feelings to go around. I really loved how Kathy's love story was developed. The gifts she got from her secret admirer were swoon-worthy, the kind that will make a girl go, "Hey, this guy really gets me!" I also enjoyed reading about the divinities mentioned in the story. The pantheon of Filipino gods is huge and tends to vary from region to region, so a local reader like me had the added bonus of trying to remember which god was which. I also think that the book sets up the rest of the series quite well, and I look forward to seeing how Hannah's powers develop in time and if she'll find her own match in the game of love.
Note: Real life recently demanded time away from my online one, especially with the huge Ati-Atihan festival annually held in our town. I hope I can slowly catch up with my long line of reviews to write. Please be patient with me!