Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Goddess Test, by Aimée Carter- Review

From Goodreads: 

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 that 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 suceeds, she'll become Henry's future bride and a goddess.


I'm a big fan of Greek Myth.  One of the very best university courses I ever took was on Greek Myth.  It was so amazing I used to bring all sorts of friends, some not even in university yet, to come sit in and enjoy it.  The professor was funny and he brought the tales to life, but also the myths are just so crazy and fantastical, who can help but get enthralled?  So whenever I stumble upon YA or MG with Greek origins I'm immediately intrigued.  Somehow though, I had totally missed Carter's entry into the genre until a few weeks ago when part two, Goddess Interrupted blew onto the scene.

I really liked both that Carter focused on the Hades and Persephone myth, one of my particular favourites, and also the slant she took with it.  Let's face it, Greek Myth is nothing if it's not salacious.  Filled with sex, rape, betrayal and murder, it often reads like a well loved Soap.  But as Kate gradually discovers, many years of retelling has turned specifics into overblown gossip and exaggeration (as is the case with many actual historical details, just think of Marie Antoinette and "let them eat cake!"), and the actual Hades is nothing as she expects.

The budding romance between the two is sweet, though I often wished there were more reveals about Hades as he was my favourite of the characters but also the one who remains the most aloof and mysterious to the reader.  Kate was a bit harder for me to get on board with, I liked her at times but found her overly long lasting disbelief/belief see-saw a bit tiresome.  She grew on me farther into the book but was never the character I was rooting for, it was always Hades, which seemed strange since she was the protagonist.

Some of the reveals at the end I saw coming a mile off, but some of them I didn't.  One in particular confused me a bit and left me wondering what the Gods did day to day, I won't ruin the surprise but if you know what I mean please spill the beans in the comments!  In the end though, the full implication of what happened, and how, was stunning, as in the ramifications were still sinking in while I carried on into book two- and this coupled with my love of Hades really sold me on the story by the finish.

A fun light read, The Goddess Test was an interesting take on a small aspect of Greek Myth, and would make a good addition to any summer reads list.

The Goddess Test, by Aimée Carter
Published by Harlequin Teen, April 2011