NOTE: Do NOT read this review unless you have read Devine by Mistake (Book 1) by PC Cast as this is the sequel.
Also this is an ADULT read as there are some situations that certainly aren't YA or middle grade.
I finished Devine By Choice in just two days. Again this was another reread for me. I think that's why I finished it so quickly because I could kind of remember what happened at the very end.
The second book in the Parthenon series by PC Cast takes us back to Shannon Parker pretending to be Rhiannon, the Goddess of Epona along with ClanFintan, Alanna, and all of the other characters that reside in the land of the Parthenon. However, when she gets brought back to the earth plain by a rather familiar looking person, what happens?
First of all the story is set in the Parthenon, with the same characters as in the first book. Shannon, isn't very well but she's still playing the part of Rhiannon convincingly. ClanFintan is away at this time but when he comes back a few chapters later, along with the doctor from book 1 who tells Shannon that she is indeed pregnant with ClanFintan's child. I thought this was sweet and that it brought a whole other level to this story.
After having found out about her pregnancy Shannon wants to carry on as normal but she's still being sick. Her horse, Epi, also chosen of Epona (hence the name) is also acting up. It's thought first of all this is because she's going to be in season soon as well. Shannon and ClanFintan take Epi out to try and calm her down. They enter a clearing of trees but Shannon gets sucked back to her old world. I thought this was written well, as though it was happening to me through the first person prose.
Shannon doesn't know where she is to begin with but she sees a face she recognises as ClanFinton's. It's not ClanFinton however. It's his mirror image, Clint. Like Rhiannon is almost Shannon's mirror image, Clint is almost ClanFinton's.
Clint brought Shannon back for a few reasons, the main one being he'd had enough of Rhiannon. At first Shannon is demanding to know what happened and why she was torn away from the world she loved so much. We don't get to see this play out but Clint tells Shannon a little of what went on between him and Rhiannon. Let's just say that it wasn't all hearts and flowers between them. Shannon then wants to be back in ClanFinton's arms and begs Clint to help her sort this out. He agrees, but is unsuccessful in his attempts to help her. While Shannon is able to connect to her husband in Parthenon, she's not able to get back to him because of an evil from book 1 as well as Rhiannon. This is why the book is called Devine by Choice, because Shannon is choosing to be Epona's beloved and go back to Parthenon instead of being what's thought of as mistakenly put there in book 1.
Shannon and Clint therefore try almost everything they can think of to get her back to Parthenon but nothing works. They need to protect Shannon's father also because of what happened to Rhiannon's father in book 1. Shannon doesn't want her dad to die. Rhiannon has made one of Shannon's friends not want anything to do with her as well.
There is a sort of love triangle in this book that I was okay with. I normally HATE them but here it was between Shannon, Clint and ClanFintan. Clint and ClanFinton are the same person just from different worlds so that's why I didn't mind it. We see rather quickly Shannon fall for Clint. I didn't love this development as I thought ClanFinton was perfect for Shannon but as I said above ClanFintan and Clint were portrayed as kind of the same person so it wasn't like horrible cheating or anything.
The ending of this book was what really captured my imagination. Clint suggests calling Rhiannon to meet both him and Shannon as she has a link to her. She agrees to this. However, when Rhiannon comes she doesn't come alone. The evil from book 1 comes with her in the form of a character that we don't meet until this book, although he's briefly mentioned in book 1 I think. Rhiannon wants to destroy Shannon (the true beloved of Epona) and get back to the world she didn't want in book 1. However Clint sacrifices himself, as well as Rhiannon it appears, to allow Shannon to return to Parthenon and be with her loved ones to have her baby (she doesn't have the baby in this book). It is revealed in this book that Shannon is indeed the true, rightful Goddess, not Rhiannon.
Although I've written a lot above for this book I didn't absolutely love it. It was good just not fabulous, like book 1. I missed reading ClanFintan's witty replies to Shannon as they always made me laugh. I also missed the love scenes between the two. Clint just wasn't ClanFintan enough for me unfortunately. Although I felt sorry for him at the end when he died to help Shannon I was kind of pleased that we didn't have to hear any more from him. PC Cast knows how to write a good villain though as there were two in this story both as bad as each other. I also didn't love how this book was overly focused in our world. I liked the fantasy world of Partholon a lot more. Therefore I'm giving Devine By Choice 3 out of 5 stars. I'm looking forward to starting the third book Devine By Blood soon so stand by for that review...