27 Mar Bookbed reviews: ‘Interim Goddess of Love’ trilogy by Mina V. Esguerra
BY ALLANA LUTA
You know how you first tasted actual grown-up responsibilities in college? Like doing your own laundry, feeding yourself or actually budgeting your allowance for the first time. Taking care of oneself is hard enough, but imagine having the responsibility of taking care of everyone else’s problems. And not just any little ol’ problem, mind you, but matters of the heart. Yikes! You’d need god-like powers (and patience!) to handle all that drama.
And that’s exactly what Hannah got.
In the Interim Goddess of Love trilogy by Mina V. Esguerra, Hannah Maquiling is a sophomore at Ford River college, a new-ish school just outside Metro Manila for the very rich or very smart. Hannah is here because she falls under the latter category. For some unknown reason, people naturally spill out their relationship troubles to her. So when the Goddess of Love goes missing, Hannah is the first person the God of the Sun goes to for help.
Being a novice goddess wouldn’t be so bad if only there weren’t other gods in the campus, masquerading as some of the more popular members of the student body, intentionally making her new job difficult.
It also wouldn’t be so bad if she weren’t crushing on her mentor Joaquin ‘Quin’ Apolinario, the Sun God in top-notch, athletic, junior student form.
And it absolutely wouldn’t be so bad if only Quin would see Hannah for what she actually is: a girl, who happens to be the interim Goddess of Love, who herself is looking for love towards the Sun.
Thank goodness the real Goddess of Love will return soon… right? Right?!
WHAT I LIKED
Okay, first up, just the very idea of gods from Philippine mythology living in modern society is already very appealing, I don’t know why we don’t have more local novels like this! Or maybe there are and I just haven’t read them, but then why are they not more popular?! (Related: Tosses and Turns: Why not Philippine Lit?)
Anyway, I can’t really point out specifically what I liked about this trilogy (most likely because it’s been a… while since I finished reading it). Everything, from the characters to the setting to the challenges that Hannah faced, worked for me. Mystery was used in every story so it was exciting figuring things out along with Hannah and the gang. And even though we’re dealing with love and relationships and crushes, I didn’t find it one bit cheesy, which meant I could read the whole thing without rolling my eyes.
I also loved how each novella had its own quirky style that defined and added personality to how the story was read. The first novella, The Interim Goddess of Love, employed personality test results (Hannah works as a student employee at College Guidance Office). In Queen of the Clueless, Mina (first-name basis, yay!) used strategic chess moves to hint at the power struggles in the relationship between two characters. And in The Icon of the Indecisive, readers were introduced to different concepts in psychology. And…
… Well, all these three were very clever.
Proofreaders beware: typographical errors abound.
Also, this was too short! The narrative possibilities of having deities in our midst is endless and warrants a full novel. (Or maybe this is just me being selfish. But seriously, somebody write this story!)
If you like love stories that aren’t cheesy, with fantastical and humorous elements to it, then you’ll fall in love with the Interim Goddess of Love trilogy. ☁