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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The myth of Izanami and Izanagi
Namima was barely sixteen when she died. From her birth she was destined to be yin to her sister's yang. Her sister was to become the Oracle, priestess of the Realm of Light and Namima's fate was to be the priestess of the Realm of the Dead. Bound to her duties without understanding them, Namima meets a boy, knocking their fates off-course.

The Goddess...
Published 20 months ago by Curiosity Killed The Bookworm

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
Quite different from all her other books. Was looking forward to reading it but quite disappointed with the storyline and writing style. I didn't find it as engaging as her crime books
Published 7 months ago by VMnoUsagi


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The myth of Izanami and Izanagi, 9 Feb 2013
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Curiosity Killed The Bookworm (Dorset, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Namima was barely sixteen when she died. From her birth she was destined to be yin to her sister's yang. Her sister was to become the Oracle, priestess of the Realm of Light and Namima's fate was to be the priestess of the Realm of the Dead. Bound to her duties without understanding them, Namima meets a boy, knocking their fates off-course.

The Goddess Chronicle is the latest in The Myths series, retelling the story of Izanami and Izanagi interwoven with the old customs of one of Japan's most remote islands. The myth comes from the Kojiki or "Book of Ancient Matters", which dates back to the 8th century and tells the story of the kami or gods. It's interesting to see the overlap between myths of different cultures. There are elements recognisable in the Greek stories of the underworld. Like Orpheus, Izanagi goes against advice not to look. When it comes to matters of the underworld, when you're told not to look, don't look!

Their story combines a creation myth, in which they create the islands that would later become modern Japan, and the resulting tragedy which drives Izanami and Izanagi apart. He vows to populate the earth above and she takes revenge, killing one thousand people each and every day. I love learning about new mythologies, previously knowing very little about that of Japan. The story still keeps the feeling of a myth, almost fable like in its telling and a sense of timelessness. This does mean you shouldn't expect overly complex characters, but ones that represent ideas.

The writing style also suits Namima's naivety. When she must take the food to her sister, she does not see it as an offering; no one explains anything to her. To throw away the uneaten food seems wasteful, especially as others of the island are starving. Her sheltered life means she doesn't manage to put two and two together later on in the story.

The novel has three distinct parts. Firstly Namima's short life and her journey into the Realm of the Dead. Did you know there's even a word to describe these stories where the character ventures into the underworld, usually for some task? Katabasis. Secondly is the introduction of Izanami and the retelling of her myth and her current circumstances. Then the final section weaves together their two tales. It is a tale of birth and death, love and revenge.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Japanese mythology made accessible, 7 Mar 2013
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I came to this book as an admirer of Natsuo Kirino's novels set in modern Japan - prime among them being the superb 'Out' - rather than as one interested in Japanese creation mythology, about which I have no prior knowledge. Common themes between the different facets of Kirino's work, such as male betrayal and female revenge, might be traced. However, I would recommend 'The Goddess Chronicle' primarily as a gripping narrative, well structured and lucidly told. The dark and powerful stories, enacted against a vividly realised background of island, sea and realm of the dead, resonate in the mind.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great primeval myth with a gripping plot, 26 Mar 2014
This review is from: The Goddess Chronicle (Canongate Myths) (Paperback)
In a poor ancient Japanese island culture, Natsuo Kirino shows primitive religious power regimes as a specific example of social structures which are inimical to human life. Finding love, freedom and personhood means escaping their male dominated rules, which only a heroic few seek to do, but this in turn forces cycles of betrayal and bitterness which haunt human life from beyond the grave. It’s a gripping plot. Her female goddess dispenses retributive, vindictive death. There is, according to Kirino’s myth, no redeeming grace, no ultimate light.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed, 20 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The Goddess Chronicle (Canongate Myths) (Paperback)
Quite different from all her other books. Was looking forward to reading it but quite disappointed with the storyline and writing style. I didn't find it as engaging as her crime books
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4.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, 17 Sep 2013
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I loved it. I read OUT and wanted to read more by Natsuo Kirino. This appealed as it seemed different. I do not know how closely it follows the Japanese myth but the pages flew by....great!
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The Goddess Chronicle (Canongate Myths)
The Goddess Chronicle (Canongate Myths) by Natsuo Kirino (Paperback - 2 Jan 2014)
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