Review* of DARK GODDESS by Sarwat Chadda and contest WINNER

DARK GODDESS by Sarwat Chadda is the second book featuring kick-ass heroine Billi SanGreal, a sword wielding member of the Knights Templar, a group charged with protecting the world from supernatural forces, and whose numbers are dwindling.  Billi's story started with DEVIL'S KISS, where Billi chafed against duty, but ultimately was forced to sacrifice her own needs (and the one she loved) the greater good.  

In DARK GODDESS, Billi seems to have come to terms with the great responsibility entrusted to her, at least until her duties put the fate of a nine year old girl, and perhaps the entire world, in her hands.  Billi must once again decide whether to sacrifice someone she cares about or risk everything to find another way.  

This book is fast paced, thrilling and full of twists and turns that will keep you turning the pages long into the night.  Billi's story takes her to Russia, and it is rich with Russian mythology and history.  Billi must confront the Baba Yaga, an ancient and powerful goddess, protected by a colony of powerful shape-shifting women warriors in the dark forests surrounding Chernobyl, the site of the worst nuclear disaster in history.  This setting is a powerful backdrop for a story that explores the capacity of both man and nature for destruction.  While I tend to enjoy the thrill of life or death consequences in paranormal fiction, it's usually tempered by the fact that I can always step back and know that its fiction.  It was much harder to suspend my disbelief with DARK GODDESS.  The scariest part of the story wasn't the evil goddess or her army of warriors.  It wasn't even Billi's conflicted feelings over whether to kill a nine year old girl who might someday destroy the world.  For me, the scariest parts of DARK GODDESS were the stark and powerful images of Chernobyl, and the very real tension between modern civilization and the environment.  In recent years we've had ample reminders of the earth's ability to destroy; tsunami's, earthquakes and floods.  The gulf oil spill is a very recent example of the damage that we can do to the environment.  And of course there's Chernobyl:

"They walked past the nurses office, still filled with first-aid posters and old cots, and found the steps that led upstairs.  Billi stopped dead as a shadow marked the wall. [...] The silhouette of a small girl with pigtails had been blasted on the wall by the atomic explosion.  She had been caught forever reaching up to the light switch."  DARK GODDESS, Advanced Reading Copy, page 331 (text and pages may change upon final publication).

DARK GODDESS is one of those rare books that will entertain you with its action-packed plot, but leave you thinking about its themes and images for days after.  There are no easy answers for Billi.  There are no easy answers period. 

And the WINNER of last week's giveaway of the ARC of DARK GODDESS is: STASIA!!

Stasia, please send the address where you would like the ARC mailed to yamuses at

*I received this ARC at a conference with no expectation of a review, positive or otherwise.  


Sounds like a great book. I love books with a different takes on myths, especially the lesser known ones, though I have heard of Baba Yaga.

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