review: the goddess test by aimée carter

Author: Aimée Carter
Publication Date: 04/19/2011
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
    Pages: 304
    Source: Purchased
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. (goodreads)

Moving from New York (hurrah, NY!) to Eden wasn't easy for Kate, but she was willing to make the sacrifice for her terminally ill mother who was sick with cancer. On the very first day driving into town things were strange, and she glimpsed someone standing in the middle of the road - or was it a hallucination? Her first day at school she meets James whom she quickly befriends, and bubbly Ava who begins a much more tenuous friendship and a one-way journey.

I really enjoyed this book. I was slightly hesitant coming in as coming from a background in Classics I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to separate myth from fiction, but found myself pleasantly surprised. You have to suspend disbelief a bit, but where myth is concerned you need to do that anyhow. The traits of the gods aren't set in finite stone as they are gods after all, and so the associated characterizations were believable given the modern context and story. I know some will have an issue with this and that's something I can understand, but I hope you'll give it a go because it really is a lovely story. There were a lot of little things peppered throughout it that were nice such as the inclusion of the river (the Styx), Cerberus (although this dog wasn't guarding anything that I saw), the seeds (pomegranate!) to name a few.

Kate is a strong female character who speaks her mind when she needs to and keeps quiet when she needs to. I mention this because it seems to be a trend to have really strong female characters, but sometimes they're too concerned with this idea of strong that they instead turn reckless and go the opposite way. For me, strong isn't always brute force and yelling what you think, it's also knowing when not to do those things. Kate balances this out well and I give Aimée Carter credit for doing a good job with that. The same for Henry; I've seen him be described as weak and un-godlike but I have to disagree with that. This telling of the story of Hades and Persephone is quite different in some respects and that, for me, makes all the differences as far as rationalising his character. Just because he isn't all fire and a booming voice doesn't make him any less Hades - in fact if he were like that the story would be quite dull as it wouldn't fit with the changes made to the myth. I rather liked Henry and look forward to reading more about where their path goes.

Just a quick side note: the big difference for me between The Goddess Test and Wither (and any other story where a girl falls unexpectedly into a relationship with a guy) as far as Kate and Rhine and whomever else are concerned is choice. Kate was able to make her own decision and that was a world of difference as far as how I viewed everything after that.

Apologies that this review is a bit light on story discussion, as that's mainly because I thought it was a fantastic book and I don't want to give anything away. The magic is in the details and that first read-through and an ending that I was happily surprised with. The sequel is definitely going onto the pre-order list!

2 comments on "review: the goddess test by aimée carter"

Jenny wrote: Tue May 10, 09:31:00 PM

YAY! I'm glad you liked it. And you did a way better job than I did of reviewing it. I have such a hard time reviewing books I actually like. Weird, I know but, yeah.

kaye (paper reader) wrote: Wed May 11, 10:00:00 PM

The more I think about the book, the more I like it. The thing I find difficult about writing reviews is that I'm always afraid I'm leaving something out - but I write what comes to my mind and what I thought about while reading. It's true that writing about what you like is hard - mainly because it's hard to whittle things down? :)

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