Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Interim Goddess of Love (Mina Esguerra)

In her latest book, Mina Esguerra combines contemporary teen romance with hints of Philippine mythology to offer a satisfyingly-layered and unique read. Here, Hannah already has a job helping out at the Guidance Office but on top of that, the Sun God has also asked her to fill in for the Goddess of Love temporarily. Not exactly the easiest job for a sophomore on scholarship who's still trying to find her place at an expensive college. 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!


Chachic said...

Wow, that was fast! I had no idea this is going to be part of a series. Yay, more Mina books for us to read. I really want to read this already but I still have some books lined up so not sure when I'll get to it. Good to know you really liked it though. :) You forgot to mention that you read this while in Boracay.

Celina said...

I didn't know it was going to be part of a series either, so I was so "bitin" when I got to the end. Can't wait for the next one in the series!:)

dementedchris said...

Bitin nga! Haha! I got a friend of mine to buy a copy while I have two more who are hoping that a copy will turn up at Smashwords haha.

Who did you like?

Dumarami na rin ang TBR list ko! (That and my For Review list). This was such a smooth read that it was easy to organize my thoughts about it.

Celina said...

Hmm, I was starting to like Robbie.:) I hope he will be in the next book.:)

Tina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tina said...

(Pressed enter by mistake at the last comment, oops!)

I finished this last night! So. Cute! :D And yep, bitin din ako. :)) I reread the last parts of the book (from the party onwards) earlier and it made me smile again. :D

Also this book made me crave for turon. :P

dementedchris said...

I liked Ian naman... and Diego! I hope Robbie finds a match too :D

Ako rin! Mega turon craving. That, and mangoes haha. Hindi rin addict si Hannah.

Anonymous said...

Team...DIEGO!! (Makes muni-muni.) Team...QUIN!! (Makes muni-muni again.) Team...GRABE, they're all crush-worthy! Haven't gotten book-kilig like this in a while (What is Wrong-way Romance??)! Can't wait for the rest of the series. It's so interesting on so many levels. I finished it at 2am and kept flashback-ing to them good ol' college daze... :) - kamelle

dementedchris said...

Kamelle, Diego sounds really hot, ano? I like the nerdy guy Ian (Mina! I've just seen the last of him, ano?) too haha. And Robbie... Sana his heart won't get broken, he sounds so sweet. And mabango.

cyberlaundry said...

CHRIS - "Sweet and mabango" is a purrrrfect combination. I forgot about him. Nabuang sa mga diyos ;) Hugs!

professional dreamer nagi said...

I got the book yesterday from Mina and read it when I got home. BITIN! Hahaha. Pero it was an interesting read since my thesis is also about stories involving Philippine Mythology. I can't wait for the next book. Hehehe.

Leki said...

I'm already a fan of this author--I used to look for her other titles in Fully Booked, the old ones she wrote. But no luck. I hope I can find this one! It sounds unique.

dementedchris said...

Naalala nga kita eh!

Hope you enjoy this. I have her other books; will lend them to you. Which ones haven't you read?