Although Ah-Jiu receives extraordinary abilities overnight, she has to hone her new powers and learn how to defend herself. A webcomic adaptation of The Ugly Duckling Becomes the Goddess by Qian Lv, Birth of a Goddess by Guangcai Comic is a remarkable story populated with memorable characters.
Stories about clever heroes, especially ladies, who outsmart their adversaries and defend the poor and lower class would entrance my younger self. East of the Sun, West of the Moon and The Snow Queen are among my favorite fairy tales. So reading Birth of a Goddess reminds me of those tales. Ah-Jiu starts as a ten-year-old girl with consumption. Her late mother was one of the Master’s (Chengfeng Luo) concubines in the Luo Estate. The more privileged children bully Ah-Jiu, and one day their mother decides to leave Ah-Jiu for dead. Abandoned in the middle of the forest, she suddenly encounters a strange being who grants her the powers of a goddess.
Birth of a Goddess is a historical fantasy with a side of sci-fi. The Goddess Matrix (who Ah-Jiu calls Little Spirit) crashes into Ah-Jiu’s world from an alternate futuristic universe. Personally, I get Doctor Who vibes; the premise reads like a potential episode for that series. However, season one gives more attention to Ah-Jiu’s world, with snippets of Little Spirit’s universe seen through hints and backstory. The genre blending here is executed well and isn’t distracting. There are humorous moments that reference the temporal barrier between Ah-Jiu and Little Spirit, including her using a PC for the first time. Plus, she has to earn charisma and faith points until she becomes a full goddess.
The setting takes place in an alternate China where Beastmasters command and communicate with animals and tension between cities ignites battles. A prophecy about Beasts from the North invading the country gets closer to being fulfilled. By the time Ah-Jiu turns sixteen, she has become an expert on medicine and a Beastmaster. But even with her earned skills, she still has to maintain her status and reputation in the higher social circles of the estate.
She also finds herself falling for General Yi, who starts as a recurring character before regularly joining her. The relationship between them acclimates naturally throughout the story. Their interactions are sweet and endearing, and the story allows space for them to grow with and without each other. Along with the action and humor, Birth of a Goddess achieves in the romance department as well.
Birth of a Goddess provides a hero worth cheering for and a story that will leave you wanting more.
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