Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Review: The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

Title:  The Goddess Test
Author:  Aimee Carter
Genre:  Young Adult
Pages:  293
Publisher:  Harlequin Teen
Summary:  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.  If she fails...

The Dish:  My name is DJL, I am a Greek mythology geek... and I enjoyed The Goddess Test.  Now, I've seen quite a few negative opinions regarding this take on the Greek gods.  While I believe every reader is entitled to their opinion I also think those who criticize Carter are missing out on the story.  There is a level of artistic licence that some authors choose to take when writing books that involve mythology, supernatural beings, etc.  Carter chose to portray Zeus, Hades, Demeter, et al in a manner that would typically be considered "out of character."  But I don't believe it was a bad portrayal, just different and at the same time rather enjoyable.

Overall, I enjoyed the story Carter chose to tell using her representations of the Greek deities.  The characters were interesting and for the most part likable, though there were a few brow-raising moments while reading.  I understand Kate was most likely in a vulnerable state due to her mother's condition, but to suddenly call the girl who tried to abandon you stranded in the dark of night your best friend?  That's a bit of a stretch in the believeability department.

Henry was sometimes a confusing character being distant during one part of the story and then showing more care and concern for Kate's safety.  But it didn't feel consistent.  It was as though he kept flip-flopping around.  I'm unsure if this was due to the deity he was representing in the story or just showing a mood-changing male lead character.  It was sometimes difficult to tell whether he was supposed to be an emotional male character or showing the multiple sides of the god of the Underworld.  In spite of this confuzzling demeanor of his, I did like Henry, and I hope to get to know him more in Goddess Interrupted.

Despite my frustrations with Henry and my slight disbelief in some of Kate's actions, I did like The Goddess Test.  This is not the myth of "Hades and Persephone," not even a different rendition of the famous myth.  So I think if readers keep that in mind while also keeping an open mind about the unique portrayal of such famous Greek deities (as well as how the test "relates" to them, though I won't spoil it for other readers), I believe they will enjoy the overall story.


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