Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

Spoilers for the entirety of The Goddess Test are within. Beware! No, seriously. I spoil the entire novel and then some. If you want to keep things a mystery, move on!
Title: The Goddess Test
Author: Aimee Carter
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 297 pages (Adobe Digital Editions document)
How I Got the Book: I recieved a free copy from Harlequin Teen through NetGalley and I thank them for providing it to me.

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 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...


As her mother dies of cancer, eighteen-year-old Kate Winters takes her to Eden, Michigan so her mother can die in peace in her quiet hometown. Kate's plans are to stay until her mother dies and then return to new York City, but it doesn't work out this way. She meets Henry, who calls himself a Greek god, and will keep Kate's mother alive a little longer, along with bringing a dead girl back to life. In exchange, Kate will spend every fall and winter for the rest of her life with him and undertake seven tests. If she passes the tests, Kate will become a goddess and Henry's wide. If she fails, it's probably because someone murdered her.

Since there's only one or two good points to this novel, I may as well get them out of the way. At first, I kind of liked Kate. Despite being whiny at first about being in a small town and some guys maybe-liking her, she sucks it all up when she gets stuck in a tough situation. I admired that. She did something not many people would do: risked her life and have away half of the rest of her life because she cared so much about her friends and family. The emotion Kate felt when dealing with her mother's impending death felt real instead of over-exaggerated. She also cared enough about having her choice that someone died because of her determination to have a choice. By the end of the novel, I not longer liked Kate at all. More on that later.

There were two points in this novel that could have been expanded into something more interesting: Kate's feelings for Henry and one other point I can't even remember because this book lacked so little originality. Having Kate be in love with Henry when he didn't return her feelings would have been awesome because that's CONFLICT, and it's also a conflict few young adult authors are willing to touch. She would have been forced to deal with it and that's something that keeps people reading. Nope, just shortly after Kate's realization, Henry reveals he's in love with her too. Point that could have taken this book from "just another YA paranormal" to "that book where the heroine's love stays unrequited" is null and void. Ugh.

Wait, I take back what I said about the book lacking originality. It does have some originality in there: It is original in how badly it slaughters Greek mythology.

You see, when you write Greek mythology, it should resemble Greek mythology when done well. That means that the gods lack morals, do what they want, screw around, and do stuff that is inappropriate for young children to read about.. If you don't, the biggest Greek mythology fans will make you rewrite the book by hand and use your blood as the ink in your pen. The people who are supposedly Greek gods in this novel act nothing like the gods people know from the myths. If you have to put a table at the end of the book that tells you which character was which god or goddess, YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG. You're also calling your reader an idiot who can't figure out who's who. Maybe you should try showing the reader within the confines of the story which person is which god/goddess.

Another thing you shouldn't do is mix mythologies. Greek and Christian mythology have nothing to do with each other. Heck, the stuff in just one Greek myth would violate at least fifty Christian principles. The Greek gods are not going to base their tests off the seven sins of Christianity. They have no morals, so why would they use tests of morality to decide whether or not a girl became a goddess? This makes no sense. Some may also find disturbing undertones when realizing that the men did great quests or physical and mental feats to earn immortality and for girls, it's apparently a test of their morality.

Oh, another bit of nonsense! We all know who Hera is, right? Goddess of marriage? Wife of Zeus who did not take adultery lightly? Yeah, she's in love with Hades here and kills all the girls who have even the slightest chance of becoming his new wife. It makes no sense at all for Hera to be the villain because according to who she is, she is the last one that would commit adultery or break the vows of marriage. She was never in love with Hades and screwing around with the myths for the sake of the plot will not win over any fans of Greek mythos. Then again, considering that these gods and goddesses are nothing like the "real" gods and goddesses...

No one in this novel gets any depth whatsoever. Henry, James, Ava, Kate, everyone else--they're pretty much caricatures. They get touches at certain moments, but it's all for nothing. The plot plods along, the functional writing keeps up with that slow pace, and the chapters always end with cliffhangers that are closer to frustrating than enticing. If you're observant, you'll see twists and the big shocker ending coming from a mile away. I started seeing hints of it halfway through when all these people Kate knew in Eden start showing up in Henry's home as people who will help Kate pass her seven tests. The prologue has to be one of the most blatant hints in the novel.

And the ending. Oh God, the ending. The reader will either love it or hate the crap out of it. In the circles I run in, most hate it, including me. The implications that Kate was born just so she could be raised and "given the opportunities" to become Henry's wife are very uncomfortable. Kate's reaction wasn't anything close to in-character. This girl, who cared so much about having a choice that it killed Ava a second time, suddenly finds out that it was more like she had an illusion of choice instead of an actual one. And she's okay with this? (Just a side note, but Demeter hated Hades. She would never do what she did for him in this book.) Yeah, that's not the Kate I knew.

 This could have easily gotten a worse rating. The few good parts were pretty good and the bad parts were bad a on a level I wasn't sure existed. This is just another title in the young adult fantasy crowd, one girls will pick up and fall in love with despite all of its inaccuracies and uncomfortable implications. Anything that could have made this novel something new was killed off before it could even sprout. I thought about picking up its sequel Goddess Interrupted in 2012, but I'm not sure I want to now. That would be a waste of my money.

2 stars!


  1. Well now that I know this book completely destorys Greek mythology, I can take this off my to read list. (Why is it so hard to find good books about Greek mythlogy?) I also disagree slightly on them having no morality; some things were considered very heinous by them: Canabalism, breaking of sacred hospitality. They didn't have a lot of moral standards but they had some.

    Though I don't necessarily agree that the Greek gods are incapable of changing over the centuries, the fact that the author made Hera, Godess of Marriage, in love with Hades seems to drastic a change, especially without adequete reasons for this kind of radical change.

    Also, what's with the seven deadly sins? And I'm pretty sure at least the godesses would have a problem with girls only getting morality tests. Artemis had her huntreses, Athena was the godesses of strategic warfare, and even Ahprodite when she had Pshyce jumping through hoos gave her the ardousous task of getting into the Underworld.

    I can understand wanting to be innovative and make changes to Greek mythology, and the gods themselves specifically. But there has to be reasons, good reasons, for changes; the gods can't suddenly be completely diffrent just because an author wants them to be.

    Sorry, for this rambaling comment. I just hate when people slaughter Greek mythology.

  2. If you have to put a table at the end of the book that tells you which character was which god or goddess, YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG.

    RIGHT? Christ, I mean, I don't see how someone (author or publisher) could have seen the necessity for a handy god conversion chart and not had Carter go back into the text and make it a little clearer. The awful part is, the table is still there in book two! Because you're still totally unable to tell the gods apart! It's ridiculous.

    NGL, my biggest problem with this whole series is the Henry/Kate dynamic. They are just so unhealthily attached to one another, and the gods encourage this attachment. Demeter, the "council", they all think it's totally cool to just find Henry a new wife to live for so that he can keep performing his duties, never once considering that hey, maybe finding a human being to hinge his continued existence on might not be the best solution.

    GRR, ARGH, this book. Now I'm gonna go see if you've read book two...

  3. It's really still there in book two? -rolls eyes- There are so many things about this book and this series that are just gross, especially Henry and Kate's dynamic. I agree with you there.

    Nah, I didn't read book two. I never intended to in the first place, even when I saw it pop up on NetGalley. I did see someone else's review of it and they pretty much confirmed all my worst fears about Goddess Interrupted.


I love hearing what others have to say about books and it makes me feel less like I'm talking to an empty auditorium, so comment away. Thank you for reading my blog post!