Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Goddess Girls #3 Aphrodite the Beauty by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams

Aphrodite is the Goddess Girl at Mount Olympus Academy most interested in love and beauty. She's always up on the latest styles of chitons, and her makeup makes her stunningly beautiful. She also always garners the most attention from the Godboys on campus, and that is beginning to make her annoyed. It's like they only appreciate her for her looks, not everything about her. If she suddenly turned ugly one day, would they cease to notice or care about her?

But when she decides to give her fellow Goddess Girl, Athena, a makeover, she isn't prepared for the results. Suddenly, all the Godboys are fighting over Athena and totally ignoring Aphrodite! And Aphrodite doesn't like how that feels at all! Only one of the Godboys seems to pay attention to her, Hephaestus, the God Boy of Smithcrafting and Metal working. But he doesn't count, because he's lame and can only get around with a cane.

Angry at herself, and jealous of Athena, Aphrodite leaves the party early, only to find a petition from one of her mortal worshippers wafting its way to her. A boy named Hippomenes is in love with a girl named Atalanta, and she has vowed to only marry a man who can beat her in a footrace. While he is fast, he isn't as fast as Atalanta, and if he loses the race, he'll be killed by her father. Atalanta has asked him not to race against her, but he loves her and wants to win her, and he asks Aphrodite for her help. She tells him she will aid him, and realizes that Atalanta loves Hippomenes as well, but realizes she will win the contest.

Returning to Olympus Academy, Aphrodite once again meets Hephaestus, and admires his cane, which is highly decorated. He tells her he made it himself, and when they get to school, she excuses herself to try and think up ways to help Hippomenes. But Artemis tells her about the end of the party, and then Athena shows up to invite her to the mall. She asks Aphrodite for help with buying lipstick and that silver eyeshadow. Aphrodite is glad to help when Athena says she felt beautiful at the party, and she liked it.

But when Ares decides to try and make the moves on Athena, Aphrodite is nearby, and spies on the two. When she shows up after Athena sends him off for calling her "Theeny", Athena thinks Aphrodite was spying on her and set the whole thing up. Can Aphrodite make up with Athena and find a way to help Hippomenes win Atalanta, or will Aphrodite end up minus a friend, and a worshipper?

Another rather amusing book. This one has less spoofed pop-culture references, but at least the myth of Atalanta is more intact than the other myths in other books. Aphrodite comes off as looking quite close to how she does in the original Greek Myths, somewhat shallow and unable to see that she is treating Hephaestus the same way she is treated by the God-Boys she is coming to feel are too interested in only her looks, leaving them shallow.

But the best part is that she eventually does realize it, and while the story of Hephaestus and Aphrodite has a much happier ending in this book than it does in the original myths, I did like how they worked together to help Hippomenes. He even gets a Goddess Girl who is interested in him for himself.

While reading this series still causes me to cringe a bit, it's eminently readable and will likely attract readers too young or too female to be interested in Percy Jackson or Rick Riordan's other series. Recommended, but barely.

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