More from the Divination Hollow archives today, highlighting another horror book I very much enjoyed.
By: V. Castro
Publisher: Creature Publishing
Release Date: March 30th, 2021
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Goddess of Filth is the first book I’ve read by V. Castro, and it definitely won’t be the last. Five friends, Lourdes, Fernanda, Ana, Perla, and Pauline, perform a séance, mimicking what they’ve seen in The Craft, looking to have a little fun before they graduate and their lives change. But things go wrong when shy, academic Fernanda starts acting strange, and Lourdes must discover what, exactly, causes her friend to act so different in the coming days.
Castro very cleverly provides a possession story with a twist, while managing to say a lot about the sort of things faced by girls like Lourdes, Fernanda and the others, from both inside and outside their community. The themes here are universal, but the specifics are not, and Castro balances this well with the supernatural events taking over these girls’ lives.
The story is told partly through Lourdes’ first person POV, shifting at times to a third person narrative with Fernanda, and another, more sinister character a little later in the book. The writing is strongest in the Lourdes chapters, although there are some very intriguing, interesting moments in the Fernanda ones. Still, it’s through Lourdes we get most of the story, as well as her personal feelings about her general situation and the life these girls lead.
Don’t mistake this for a standard possession story. Don’t mistake Fernanda for another version of The Exorcist’s Regan. This is not a ‘good girl gets possessed, goes bad’ mortality tale. Castro really puts a twist on this subgenre, using Fernanda’s possession to explore the ways young women are controlled by the adults in their lives. The possession allows Fernanda the sort of freedom she has been denied, and the ability to really make her own choices. It works so well, giving a weight to the story not seen in similar tales. And it really makes Goddess stand a head above other possession tales.
I mentioned above the strongest chapters are the first person ones, but this is more due to a shift in the writing style for the others. They’re still good, but at times maybe a touch too simplistic. Still, it’s a thoroughly engaging, unique novella, and one I strongly suggest picking up when it’s released. I can’t wait to dive into more of Castro’s work.