By Cynthia Ayala
Ancient Greece is long gone, their popularity dwindling, the Old Gods have scattered around the globe, their power fading. But, luckily for Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, she remains a household name, even if no one believes in her. Everything became banal, until Loki walked through the door.
Published on August 20, 2014 by Smashwords, The Maenad in Manhattan by Liz Meldon is a fantasy novella about Aphrodite and her brief (and sexual) encounter with the Norse God Loki.
This is a very empty novel. It’s not long and that’s not even the problem, the problem is that there is no substance to the novel. Oh yeah, it has very interesting characters but they mainly talk about sex, how sex is oh so very amazing with one another and how awesome it is. that they have found each other. The underlining factor is rarely addressed: they are lonely. This should be a novel about to lonely finding solace with one another and instead the author has taken the story and made it all about sex and how intimate and amazing it is between the two character. No, that is not okay. There is a very real issue here between the characters about how lonely they are. Aphrodite doesn’t know where any of her fellow Olympians are. Her power is also waning and she is no longer the Goddess Aphrodite, is a myth, a legend, not something to be taken seriously. On a very human level, Aphrodite is afraid, she is sad. That mindset is something that Meldon should have explored. Everyone knows Aphrodite has sex with anyone she wants. She had a husband and many lovers and didn’t find happiness, having sex was her happiness, but now it has been twisted, now it’s the only way she can feel like her old self again. All of this is implicated, but never touched upon, making this a very superficial novel. Loki uses her in a way, not that she minds being used, but then leaves her heartbroken.
It’s sad, it should be sad but when the majority of the novel is about them having sex all the time and how good it is and how amazing Loki is in the bed and how he can satisfy her like no one else can, well that just becomes boring. Sex can be boring, especially when the author is making the whole focus of the novel that. This novel should be put in the genre of erotica because that’s all it is. The author turning these very good characters into bland names on the page touches none of the hardcore emotions upon. The climax of the novel (no pun intended) is both abrupt and brief. Aphrodite comes to his rescue, kills the monster within the page and then bam, everything is over, they just go back to having more intercourse. Because that’s really necessary right?
Sex has it’s place in any novel, provided that it fits and isn’t the sole definition of the novel. It has to fit and be written well, it can’t just be about what they are doing and how good it feels, it has to have emotion and this novel lacked that on all levels.
Meldon has presented readers with a very short and two-dimensional novel that could have been ten times better had she actually explored the emotions of the characters. At the end of the day, this novel comes off no better than poorly written smut. (★★☆☆☆ | D+)