Author: Aimee Carter
Publishing Information: April 19, 2011 by Harlequin Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Mythology, Romance
Series information: Book 1 in The Goddess Test Series
Format: Hardcover, 293 pages
Source: Received an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley
Recommended For: Readers interested in Greek Mythology and strong heroines.
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.
The Goddess Test is a modern day retelling of the Greek myth of Hades and Persephone. Kate’s mother is dying and her last wish is that she and Kate move to her hometown of Eden. Kate agrees and they move to Eden, Kate starts at the local high school and soon crosses the path of the queen bee, Ava. Ava lures Kate to the grounds of Eden Manor under false pretenses and a practical joke soon turns deadly. Kate tries to save Ava’s life to no avail, and then the mysterious Henry appears and offers to bring Ava back to life in exchange for a promise from Kate. Kate must promise to spend the winter with Henry in The Underworld, much like Persephone. Kate hurriedly agrees thinking she must be going crazy and Henry brings Ava back to life.
Henry soon comes for Kate to bring her to the Underworld and Kate says that she will do as she promised if he promises to keep her mother alive for the season. Henry agrees and says that Kate must pass seven tests while in his realm. If she passes, she will become a goddess, Henry’s bride and the queen of The Underworld. However, if she fails, her mother will die and she will never see her again.
I liked the premise of The Goddess Test, I love re-writes and the Hades/Persephone story is one of my favorite myths. The characters in The Goddess Test were also very fun and layered. Henry is the typical brooding male with this outer shell that seems impenetrable. Thankfully Kate is able to break through and bring out some heartfelt emotional moments from him. Ava transforms into an agreeable character and Calliope was really a very enjoyable character once you get over the crazy. James is loveable but I couldn’t help but be reminded of the whole Jacob/Bella/Edward triangle and it was not very enticing for me.
The tests Kate must endure are all extremely subtle, I kept waiting for a sense chaos and adventure but it did not come. When the tests were revealed in the end I understood how they fit in to the story and how they really showcased Kate’s strengths and weaknesses but I was still somewhat disappointed in the lack of excitement. However, I really enjoyed the ending and how it gave focus on Kate and her mother’s relationship. I was impressed by how her love for her mother wasn’t overshadowed by her new “love” for Henry.
I do have a few major complaints after reading this book. First, I felt like the whole book focused on Kate having a “choice” and not being “forced” into doing anything but really she didn’t have much of a choice at all. She wanted her mother to live and knew that Henry would die if she didn’t pass the tests. She was convinced that she loved him after spending only a few moments with him but even if that wasn’t the case she knew him enough that she didn’t want any harm to come to him. It would take a very selfish person to decide to save themselves and not do all they can to save those around them. I also had a very hard time appreciating the way in which the author set the characters up in relation to their Greek counterparts. The author provides a list at the end explaining whom each character in the book represents in Greek mythology and with the exception of 3 of them I really couldn’t understand the connection. However I am happy to say that I read the sequel, Goddess Interrupted and not only was it much more adventurous, it explained the characters much better and I was able to appreciate how their characteristics coincided with their Greek personalities. I recommend this book to anyone who likes Greek mythology, re-writes and strong female characters.
I will be reviewing the sequel, Goddess Interrupted this weekend so make sure to stop by!