Goddess in the Machine by Lora Beth Johnson (400 pages)
In Goddess in the Machine, Andra Wakes Up to an Entirely New World
When Andra went into cryostasis, she expected to wake up with her family 100 years in the future. But in traumatizing fashion, Andra comes to in a strange world 1,000 years later.
Not only are her new surroundings not what she expected, but her tech doesn’t work and she can hardly understand the language of her new companions. As if things weren’t complicated enough, the villagers believe that Andra is a goddess who possesses mysterious powers.
Zhade cannot believe his luck. After being exiled from his royal family, he’s finally found his way back: Andra. Zhade is the one that brings Andra out of cryostasis and she’s entirely reliant upon him for guidance and information. Not only must Zhade help Andra become acquainted with her new surroundings, but he must also carefully plan his return to a home he’s no longer welcome in.
An Interesting Take on Time Travel and Language
Although Andra doesn’t actually travel through time, her thousand-year stint in cryostasis serves a similar purpose. One of the most interesting observations Andra makes when she wakes up is how much the language has changed. Her new companions are speaking a version of English, but it’s definitely not something we recognize.
Johnson does an excellent job of letting us experiences this new dialect without losing our ability to understand. The longer I read, the more easily I could understand the new patterns and grammar in this new language. This stylistic choice helps readers identify with Andra’s feelings that she doesn’t belong in this world.
The Bottom Line: 4/5 Brookie Stars
Aside from the interesting experiment with language, this novel is hard to put down. While the early world-building and set up is a bit slow, the last two-thirds of the story really make up for it.
Because we follow both Andra and Zhade’s points of view, we come to understand how each person’s own experiences colour the way they interact with others and the decisions they make. If you’re a sci-fi fan and looking for some intrigue, Goddess in the Machine should be on your list.
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Rachel Gomes is a 30-something high school English teacher who lives with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband and their son. Rachel is a voracious reader who loves to learn and has her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction. She’s happiest listening to podcasts and talking to friends about the latest news in nerd culture.
Favourite book: Don’t make me choose between A Song of Ice and Fire and Harry Potter
Favourite brunch spot: The Farmer’s Table