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Monday, July 23, 2012

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

Release Date: April 19, 2011
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Age Group: Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Source: Author
Pages: 304
Buy: Amazon / Book Depository / IndieBound
Description: 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 must confess. I am a Greek mythology fangirl. Given my love of all things Greek myth, picking up The Goddess Test was a no-brainer. Sadly, I had a bit of a love-hate relationship with this book. I almost walked away from it, but I'm glad I picked it up again.

 It's been four years since the cancer was supposed to have taken Kate's mother, but she's hung on. Her last request is for Kate to take her home to Eden, Michigan, a town that barely qualifies as civilization. Kate resumes school, which had been on hold, tries to make friends, and attempts to cobble together some semblance of a normal life at her mother's urging. That is until her first attempt being social ends in tragedy and she's forced to make a choice that changes everything.

I have to say I was a little disappointed in the actual deal. Okay, I know it's a retelling/reimagining of the Persephone myth but I missed the deception, the gimmick if you will, that traps Persephone (or in this case Kate) in the underworld. Remember, she's tricked into eating four seeds of a pomegranate and thus condemned to live in the underworld for four months a year? Instead it's just decided that Kate will be there six months. No rhyme or reason. No trickery. It felt like a set-up for a kinder, gentler version of the classic myth. She struck the deal so there's no one to resent.

Aimee Carter created a take on the underworld that hooked me, a cast of characters whose interactions kept me reading and a concept that made me want to see the book through to the end. However, irregular pacing, tepid romance and excessive amounts of exposition and introspection made that a challenge. There were also parts of the book that felt forced and made the flow of the story feel less natural.

I actually got to the halfway mark or a little further and put the book down for a while. I'd enjoyed what I read so far, and I wasn't turned off by any one specific thing. I simply wasn't invested in the way that makes you need to finish a book.

The Goddess Test wound up being a pleasant read with a mostly unexpected ending that left me satisfied. Mostly, the story just felt longer than it needed to be. But if you aren't a Greek myth snob (yes, I admit it) and you don't mind a slower pace then you'll probably like this reimagining quite a bit.


  1. I was also sort of "meh" on the entire book, but I''m hoping that since this book set up the main plot that the other books will flow a little better.

    1. I'll definitely read the next book in the series. Maybe that will redeem the somewhat overblown set-up.

      Just proves that first books can be as tricky as middle books when it comes to pacing and moving the story along.

  2. I liked it, but it's nothing that stands out. It had as many problems as it did good points.

    1. Agreed. It was satisfying moment to moment, but I wasn't wowed. I really wanted to love it.

  3. I felt the same way--it was okay, but nothing I simply had to finish right away. I'll probably read the 2nd book, but I'm in no hurry to get to it.

    In other news, if you love mythology, have you read the Bloodstone Saga by Courtney Cole? Book 1 is good, but Book 2 and after is where she really dives into mythology and it twists in a really unique way. In case you need a new read :)

    1. I haven't read that series. Thanks for the recommendation. I'll have to check it out.