Sunday, December 9, 2012

Book 12: Cupidity

Book 12: Cupidity
Cupidity, by Caroline Goode

Roman-mythology-obsessed Laura is about to begin her senior year of high school, but feels inadequate because she has never had a boyfriend. Feeling dramatic one night, she calls for Jupiter to send her a boyfriend, unknowingly sending a message to the god Mercury. The Roman gods are still around, but they have been semi-retired for years, and jump at the chance to fill their old position. They send Cupid to Laura’s high school for 25 days disguised as Cupidity, the hottest new girl possible, with the task to find Laura a boyfriend.

Cupidity quickly befriends Laura and wreaks havoc among the strict social cliques with her bow and arrows. Laura gets dragged on double dates that result in creating the strangest couples that Laura has ever seen. This makes Laura wonder about Cupidity, and figure out that she is really Cupid. Laura sneaks a look at the bow and arrows … and accidentally shoots Cupidity and one of the boys from school. Cupidity promptly loses all memories before the high school – like that she is actually Cupid and not a girl. Immediately, Laura panics, and she starts trying to find a way to reverse the love spells. After speaking to Mercury, she embarks on a journey to find Venus, as she is the only one who could do anything about it.

Eventually, she finds Venus and is able to convince her to do something. They arrive back at the school on the night of the homecoming dance where Cupidity has just been crowned Homecoming Queen. As the clock strikes midnight, the disguise spell wears off, and Cupidity becomes Cupid again. However, the love spell remains, and he believes he is still a mortal high school student. Venus reverses the spell for all affected, but some of the couples decide to remain together, showing Laura that true love does not have to be with who you are “supposed” to be with based on cliques or types. With the spell gone, Laura’s friend Peter realizes he is not in love with the head cheerleader after all, and he and Laura get together.

Use of Myths:
Unlike any of the other books I have read so far, this focused on the Roman gods. Although the Greek and Roman gods are extremely similar, those students unfamiliar with the two separate groups might be confused. Specifically, of course, this novel works closest with Cupid. Goode plays around with the idea of the uncontrollable love created by Cupid with his magical bow and arrows, as well as with the consequences created by these couples. Other components of mythology present in Cupidity include the retirement home being named for Mount Olympus and the presence of satyrs as well as gods.

One archetype, so to speak, extremely prevalent in this novel is that of Cupid. Many in television, movies, and real life talk about “playing Cupid” and setting up people. As far as Laura is aware, Cupidity is doing this for her and fulfilling this archetypal role. Of course, Cupidity is actually the real Cupid, making the situation a little more complicated.

Another archetype is the spell broken at midnight. Used in many stories, one example being Cinderella, this plot archetype includes a spell that changes someone and will be broken on a certain date at midnight. Usually, the plot revolves around rushing around to complete or do something by that time, and it being an extremely close call.

Some components of Cupidity connect to other texts. For one, the Cupid component connects to any tale about someone shooting arrows to make people fall in love. For another, the midnight component is similar to stories like Cinderella. But Cupidity also includes things like a sci-fi convention and discussions of the Internet perpetuating romance in our modern world. In terms of the other books I have read so far, the relationships between the gods are similar to those depicted in the Percy Jackson series, even if those are Greek and these are Roman. Since this is the first book with Roman gods that I have read, I cannot compare it to any of those.

Although the writing quality is not bad, the story is predictable and contains some extremely cliché moments. At points it was difficult to get through because it could be cringe inducing. It was not a boring book, but I did not find it terribly enjoyable.

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