Book Review: The Goddess Chronicle by Natsuo Kirino

October 4, 2021 in Book Reviews

AD • I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This post also contains affiliate links. Affiliate links are marked with a (*). When you purchase an item through these links, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, please read my Disclosure.

The Goddess Chronicle
by Natsuo Kirino

Translated by: Rebecca Copeland
Date of Publication: 2nd September 2021
Genre: Literary Fiction
Format: Paperback (320 pages)
My Rating: Liked it! 👍

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On an island in the shape of a teardrop live two sisters. One is admired far and wide, the other lives in her shadow. One is the Oracle, the other is destined for the Underworld.

But what will happen when she returns to the island?

Based on the Japanese myth of Izanami and Izanagi, The Goddess Chronicle is a fantastical tour de force about ferocious love and bitter revenge.

Book Review

First of all, I know absolutely nothing about Japanese mythology but I’m very interested in mythology in general so I was very intrigued by this book. Even more so because I’ve heard wonderful things about the author’s bestselling thriller, Out.

One thing that I really enjoyed was the recurring theme of a woman’s “power”. However, I did feel like it focused on the idea that women are only good for pushing out babies, serving their communities and holding grudges. As The Goddess Chronicle is hailed as being a feminist retelling, it did feel somewhat lacking in that area. However, my perspective obviously comes from a very different place to the author’s and indeed to the time period and cultural setting of the story. Therefore, this isn’t a criticism of the book itself but rather a side note.

I absolutely loved Namima as a character and was gutted that her story panned out the way it did. Even though I figured out Mahito’s intentions very early on, I was still struck by how much it stung to see a character I adored be treated that way. I would have loved to see her life progress among the living. And likewise, to be able to see Yayoi grow up in a completely different way. Instead, both characters were dealt a life filled with deception, rules, traditions and a predetermined fate.

I think that Kirino did a great job of blending the myth of Izanagi and Izanami with what is otherwise a tragic family drama. The way that the gods interact with the humans in the story was cleverly done. I had no idea how it was going to come together until it did.

Overall, I think that fans of myth retellings and family dramas with more than a pinch of tragedy will find something to enjoy here.

Many thanks to Canongate for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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