Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

Release date: April 19, 2011
Publisher: HarlequinTEEN
Format: Paperback
Pages: 293
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Ebook available from: Barnes & Noble | Amazon

It's always been just Kate and her mom—and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld—and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he's crazy—until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess.
I have positives and negatives for The Goddess Test. I was interested. I had to know just what was going to happen, and if my suspicions were right. I thought the idea behind the story was an intriguing one that a lot could have been done with. I'll read the second one, because I got myself invested in Kate and Henry's relationship. I also thought much of the characterization was blah, and that the mythology was not quite up to par, though.

Characterization... What can I say? There were a few too many cookie cutter qualities for me. For example, Ava is a spoiled cheerleader type with the hottest boyfriend in school who doesn't like the protagonist because her boyfriend is nice to the new girl. Been done a thousand times. Sure we find out more later, but she still has the same basic personality throughout the whole book: materialistic, promiscuous, and self-centered. Bleh. Even Kate was a bit blah to me at times. She didn't want to know what was going on around her. Really? You're stuck in what you believe to be Hades' mansion surrounded by the dead, and you are content with that?

I'm really not normally one to complain about tampering with myths. Myths have been changed time and time again as the years go by, so why not tweak them a bit to help yourself out? I just didn't see going against things that are evidenced time and time again throughout the stories. The gods are known for having been bed-hopping kinds of people, so their judgement on lust is just ludicrous. I would think that being lustful was a quality necessary to be one of them, not the opposite. Part of the reason people were fascinated with the gods was that they were all powerful, yet human in their faults. So them holding Kate up to some kind of perfect standard just doesn't mesh. Sure, they think a lot of themselves, but I think they'd even realize the silliness of that. (Okay, I'm off my soapbox now. Please don't hate me!)

After all of that ranting, I really did enjoy the book!! The plot was smoothly paced. There were no lulls; I just HAD to keep turning the pages. Like I said before, the idea for the story is a really cool one. I also liked the idea of Persephone's story being quite different from the one everyone had learned over the years. I could see how that is something that could have truly happened, and it made me truly like Hades (Henry) when the only idea of him I really had was the blue-haired guy from Hercules--a radically different idea than the one I got from the book.

I loved the relationship between Kate and her mother. A lot of young adult novels have neglectful or absent parents, and I loved seeing a healthy relationship between a character and her mother. Her willingness to give up everything to save her mother is such a beautiful trait, especially since we see no hint of resentment for it. I also actually really liked the relationship between Kate and Henry. They start off really as nothing, and their mutual affection grows slowly through actually spending time together, not lust. They just enjoy their time together and that fosters a healing love that I found to be quite beautiful.

So while I have conflicting views of different aspects of The Goddess Test, as a whole, I really enjoyed it. My real complaints are my personal nitpicking more than anything. I'm really looking forward to Goddess Interrupted!

Risk a paper cut? Those with a passing interest in mythology will enjoy the modern interpretation of a classic myth, while everyone else will love the sweet romance and mother/daughter relationship. I'd risk some paper cuts to re-read it!

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