A huge thank you to PenguinTeen for sending me a free early copy in exchange for an honest review!
I’ve been eagerly awaiting this book for a few months now, and I swear every time I saw it pop up on my Twitter or IG feed, I would become more and more excited! So huzzah! I’m thrilled to be able to share my review with you. (I know it’s late but alas!)
Title: Goddess in the Machine (Goddess in the Machine #1)
Author: Lora Beth Johnson
Release date: June 30, 2020
Genre: Young adult, sci-fi, fantasy
Length: 400 pages (hardcover)
Synopsis: (via Goodreads) “When Andra wakes up, she’s drowning.
Not only that, but she’s in a hot, dirty cave, it’s the year 3102, and everyone keeps calling her Goddess. When Andra went into a cryonic sleep for a trip across the galaxy, she expected to wake up in a hundred years, not a thousand. Worst of all, the rest of the colonists—including her family and friends—are dead. They died centuries ago, and for some reason, their descendants think Andra’s a deity. She knows she’s nothing special, but she’ll play along if it means she can figure out why she was left in stasis and how to get back to Earth.
Zhade, the exiled bastard prince of Eerensed, has other plans. Four years ago, the sleeping Goddess’s glass coffin disappeared from the palace, and Zhade devoted himself to finding it. Now he’s hoping the Goddess will be the key to taking his rightful place on the throne—if he can get her to play her part, that is. Because if his people realize she doesn’t actually have the power to save their dying planet, they’ll kill her.
With a vicious monarch on the throne and a city tearing apart at the seams, Zhade and Andra might never be able to unlock the mystery of her fate, let alone find a way to unseat the king, especially since Zhade hasn’t exactly been forthcoming with Andra. And a thousand years from home, is there any way of knowing that Earth is better than the planet she’s woken to?”
First off, this book is incredibly unique. It reminded me a bit of Red Rising in terms of some of the sci-fi elements and terminology, and I absolutely loved how it tied in this fantasy element. I found so much about this book incredibly enticing with wonderful world-building and questionable characters (in a good and bad way, lol).
There are some interesting twists in this book as well that keeps on you on the tips of your toes as you try to figure out what exactly is going on. I wasn’t 100% on board with the (maybe?) budding romance between Andra and Zhade, and I think that’s mainly due to me not being sure about Zhade ever. Each character has their own agenda, and I think Andra ends up losing some of her own as the story progresses and we’re brought deeper into the world. (Also, can we say hooray for a plus-sized main character?) Zhade seemed to be fueled purely by instincts and secrets, some of which even the reader doesn’t know until closer to the ending. Because of this, I still don’t know what to make of Zhade. However, the plot that evolves around Andra is something I did not see coming at all. I was telling myself a completely different thing, so when the reveal/realization happened I was thrown for a loop.
I will admit that it took me a while to get used to the language of this new world. I almost felt like I was Andra herself, trying to navigate the dialect and learn on the fly. Fortunately, I did eventually find the dialect spoken by Zhade and others around Andra easy enough to follow and I would substitute “modern” words in for their words. It was made plain that not everyone speaks this “dialect” and there are citizens who speak in a language not even Andra can name or comprehend. I’d be interested to see if this is something that will come into play in the later books.
Overall I found this book engrossing and was eager to return to it. At times it felt a bit like Aurora Rising. I’m glad I enjoyed this book as well, and felt like I could fully immerse myself in this book and its world.