The Spider Goddess is the second book in Tara Moss’s Pandora English series. I started reading it immediately after finishing the first book, The Blood Countess (gosh aren’t those iBooks links at the back of the book to the next in the series handy?), which I have reviewed here.
The Spider Goddess is a fun, quick read in a very similar vein to The Blood Countess. Pandora English is a supernaturally gifted assistant at a New York magazine who is only starting to discover and develop her powers. She lives with her preternaturally youthful great aunt in a supernaturally resonant (or something like that) mansion apartment in a mysteriously enshrouded suburb of Manhattan.
Once again, we meet Luke, her hansom civil-war soldier ghost friend and watch her run-ins with some of the evil (but cheerful) vampire supermodels from the first book.
The main way in which this book differs from the first are: the different villain (a spider goddess, as the cover suggests), and the overarching plot progression. The background plot moves slowly, which suggests to me that Moss plans on writing many more Pandora English books before she’s done. I have absolutely no objection to this and look forward to reading them all.
The foreground plot, however, moves quickly from strange happenings in the background to creepy (-crawly) discoveries and then the climax. If anything, I felt the book was too short. I had stopped paying attention to the page numbers down the bottom when I reached the climax and thought I had more to go. It made me wonder why the
bad guy villain was dying already, until I realised I was actually close to the end. So, really, the worst criticism I have is that I didn’t want it to end.
A nice thing about this series is that it is heavily populated with a broad range of mostly strong female characters. From the main character, to her great-aunt/mentor to the villains and her bosses at work. It’s nice to see. (Half or so of the male characters are love interests, I think.)
Overall, it was just as fun as the first book, although I think I enjoyed the first book slightly more for non-specific reasons of taste. Also, if you’re uncomfortable reading about hordes of spiders, this may not be the book for you.
Finally, although part of a series, I think this book stands alone fairly well. However, it does contain a few spoilers for the first book. Reading in order would maximise enjoyment of the earlier book, but reading out of order wouldn’t compromise enjoyment of this book, in my opinion.
4 / 5 stars