Monday, March 28, 2011

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

The Goddess Test
by Aimee Carter
Harlequin Teen
Release Date:
April 26, 2011

Every girl who has taken the test has died.

Now it's Kate's turn.

It's always been just Kate and her mom--and now 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...

Well, first off let me say that Greek Mythology is the new dystopia in YA literature! (and I could not be more thrilled) I, like my sister mentioned in an earlier post, am also a huge fan of Greek Mythology. I guess all this comes from growing up with an English teacher as a mother. So, bring on the gods and goddesses, I am ready!!!

I started reading this book after I put my kids to bed one night. I read for a couple of hours and could not make myself put this book down. So, I just kept reading. The hours just ticked by and the next thing I know, its 3am, and I am finished! It is that kind of book! I had to know how it ended, and it was worth the pain I would feel the next day just to know what would happen! The only bummer part was that I had no one to talk to about the book in the wee hours of the morning!

These are the things I loved best about The Goddess Test:
1. its a spin-off not a modernization
2. Aimee Carter's grasp and ability to express the emotion especially the grief of her characters
3. James, yes, just James

1. The Goddess Test is connected to the tale of Persephone and Hades. However, even if you know all about Hades and Persephone, you will still not know the plot of this book, as Persephone in this version has fallen in love with a mortal and no longer abides in the Underworld during the winter. Now, Henry (Hades) is left to find a replacement for Persephone, hence the title, The Goddess Test. Whoever can pass this series of tests, will take Persephone's place as the Queen of the Underworld. This is what is so great about this novel! She takes these Greek myths and gives them a spin of her own. Henry is the cannon Hades that we all studied; however, she gives this ruler of the Underworld new dimensions. Instead of this devil-like character that you would normally root against, you start to empathize with Henry. You see this love he has for Persephone and his despair at losing her, and suddenly you find yourself hoping that he will find love again with Kate. Everything that one would traditionally feel when reading a novel about Hades is twisted inside out. It's refreshing to not get just a modernized version of the ancient myth, but a new twist on an old classic.

2. The definition of mourning is the expressing of grief. Many people do not have the ability to write or even portray grief or pain accurately. One of the things I most enjoyed about this novel was how accurately Aimee Carter expresses that unbearable grief of losing someone you love either through death or the other person's choice. As Kate is dealing with the terminal illness of her mom, the words she uses are gut wrenching. I can imagine myself saying, thinking, doing all the things that Kate does if I were to lose my mom. Her pain and grief at the idea of moving on without her mom is realistic and horrifying. You are right there suffering right along with Kate. On the other hand, even though Henry doesn't talk much about his pain of losing Persephone, the descriptions of Henry portray him as a severely suffering character. His swiftly shifting moods remind you that even the smallest thing can recall the grief of a particular moment. A great writer draws you in and gives you connections with their characters. When you feel and grieve along side them, you know you've found a memorable character!

3. ***This section will contain slight spoilers, so if you don't want to read this skip to the next section.***

Oh James, where to begin.  In my first reading of this book, not much stuck out to me regarding James. However, as I was rereading it, to prep for this review, James all of he sudden started sneaking into my heart and mind! He has honestly tormented me with questions! Once we find out who exactly James is, I couldn't help but wonder what his role would be in the future novels. Is he really in love with Kate or was it all part of the tests? Is he going to be a possible angle of a love triangle? Was he trying to get Kate not to go with Henry at the beginning because he wants to be the next ruler of the Underworld or because he truly cares for Kate? Questions, questions, questions!!! If any of these questions can be answered with an affirmative, James becomes a much more interesting character. I want to know what his true intentions are!!! Please let January get here quickly!

Now in conclusion, I must state again that I really enjoyed this novel. Its escape reading at its best! What girl doesn't want to be courted by some dark, handsome god! The only thing that bothered me about the novel was the subtlety of the tests. I really wished we as the readers would have been more clued into the tests. I craved for at least one of the tests to be a huge action packed scene where Kate would have to prove herself as being deserving of becoming a goddess. We do get some great action at the end; however, it isn't regarding any of the tests. All in all, there are some great surprises and twists in the novel, and I am eagerly, anxiously awaiting the next novel. You should definitely put this on your "to-read" list! Thanks Ms. Carter for a great read!