The friend who recommended this sold it as a ‘scary book.’ It was not scary. Or else I am awesomely brave. Yeah, I’m sure that’s it.
Sweeney, Angelica, and Oliver are freshmen at a college called St. John the Divine. Grey’s Anatomy-style crushes crop up immediately, with our heroine Sweeney in love with Angelica and Oliver, and Angelica and Oliver in love with each other, but also happy to flirt with Sweeney. Things get weird pretty fast when Sweeney sees an angel in her dorm room and Angelica starts telling her about the Benandanti, the secret society that, naturally, runs the world. The Benandanti are in place to prevent the rise of the moon goddess, partly because the moon goddess is a bloodthirsty “destroyer,” but also partly because they’re men, and they think they should be in charge. Enough weirdness happens at the school that the three friends become convinced of the existence of magic and goddesses and whatnot, the girls see the Benandanti basically kill an anthropologist looking for proof of the goddess, Angelica becomes a priestess, and then boom! It’s 20 years later and nobody has spoken to anyone else.
There’s some interesting stuff about feminism in there, and for a while I wasn’t sure whose side to be on, but overall the pacing is weird and Sweeney isn’t an interesting enough character to carry the story. A whole bunch happened in the beginning, and a whole bunch happened at the end, but the entire middle section seemed unnecessary. We see Sweeney’s slow descent into cubicle drudgery, but all of Angelica’s recruiting of priestesses and ritual murder of young men happens off-screen. The day-to-day life stuff is over-explained (weather and plants especially, like, I don’t need to know every kind of weed in your rented yard, Sweeney), and the magic stuff is glossed over (it’s moon goddess stuff all the way through, and then all of a sudden, surprise snakes!), and there are a few side characters who could’ve been interesting, if we hadn’t spent all our time on the decor of Sweeney’s home and office, and sidebars about her wardrobe.
There were some interesting ideas here, and I’m all for ladies taking back the power, but it didn’t all come together for me. I think if the story had been told from Angelica’s viewpoint, I would’ve been sold, and all set for male sacrifices and stuff. I suppose Sweeney was meant to be more neutral, but she just wasn’t enough to make me care about what was happening.