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I Belong


Review: The Goddess Test by Aimée Carter

Title: The Goddess Test

Author: Aimée Carter

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Series: The Goddess Test (Book 1)

Publication Date: April 19, 2011

Format: Paperback, 293 Pages

ISBN-100373210264 (Harlequin Teen)

ISBN-13: 978-0373210268 (Harlequin Teen)

Reviewed by: Emmy

Synopsis:

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 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 succeeds, she’ll become Henry’s future bride and a goddess.

IF SHE FAILS…

Quick & Dirty: With a really well done twist on the myth of Persephone, the reader becomes immersed in a story about love, both romantic and familial, and the lengths people go to for what they want.

Opening Sentence: I spent my eighteenth birthday driving from New York City to Eden, Michigan, so my mother could die in the town where she was born.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

The myth of Persephone is a bit more complicated than you know. For one thing, Hades didn’t kidnap her or rape her. In fact, Henry (or so he’s called these days) is a pretty sweet, swoon-worthy guy. But Persephone made her choice to leave his side, and without a queen, Henry cannot rule. The Underworld needs a queen, and if Kate passes the seven tests Henry will keep her mother alive a while longer. It doesn’t matter that everyone before her has died taking the test. If there’s a chance she can save her mom, Kate will do anything. Even if it means leaving the world she knows behind forever.

There’s more to Eden, Michigan than meets the eye, just like there’s more to the beautiful mansion Henry lives at. Guessing what exactly the tests are is half the battle, but how do we know if Kate’s passed or failed? The plot is pretty evenly split between romance, mystery, and adventure. Because it turns out the girl’s who’ve been taking the test haven’t just died. They were murdered. And Kate is Henry’s last chance before he gives up and hands over the Underworld to his brother to rule in his stead.  He’s not your usual hero. He’s shy, for one thing, and not exactly happy to see her, for another. The idea of another girl dying to try and save him hurts, and he tries very hard not to get too attached to Kate for that very reason.

Kate’s character is strong, loyal and incredibly compassionate –within the first few pages you may end up crying.  Her mother’s dying and Kate wants to do everything she can to make her last few days happy. Sometimes, her self-sacrificing attitude seemed like it was a little much, but it may have just been that I’d had enough of the heavy. Poor Kate has to deal with real-world adult problems way too young, and cancer hits very close to home in my family.

She has to spend six months with Hades — her mother’s last few weeks. But Henry promises he’ll keep her alive while she’s away.  Kate, like any other self-respecting, intelligent girl doesn’t believe him — until he brings a girl named Ava back from the dead. A girl Kate saw die, right in front of her. Henry brought her back to prove a point. He needs Kate, and if anyone can save Kate’s mom, it would be the Lord of Death.

The rest of the characters in the book are really great to, they each correspond to a Greek god (but you probably can’t guess which), but could use a little fleshing out. To be fair, when you have that many secondary characters, it can get confusing if you give any one of them too much attention. It’s hard to peg people as good and bad, the way they’ve always been painted in mythology, when the gods have grown and changed so much in a few thousand years.

Overall, it’s a really fun, short read. As mythology retellings are in vogue right now, I’m sure The Goddess Test will get more popular.  Carter’s 180 on the Persephone myth makes the whole novel unpredictable and intriguing.

Notable Scene:

“Ava,” I said in a strangled voice. “I thought—James said—everyone thought you were dead.”

“I am,” she said, her voice soft, but still hers. “Or at least that’s what they tell me.”

I didn’t ask how. Henry had done it once, and even though he’d said he couldn’t do it again, maybe he’d tried. Maybe he’d discovered it wasn’t so impossible after all.

But if she were dead—really, truly dead—did that mean he’d been telling the truth after all? Was this how he was trying to prove it? The ground felt uneven underneath me. Even though every rational part of my mind screamed that this couldn’t be happening, Ava felt warm and real in my arms, and there was no way anyone would go to such lengths to pull off a prank. The whole school thought she was dead. James thought she was dead, and I trusted him not to lie to me like that.

The Goddess Test Series:

1. The Goddess Test

1.5 The Goddess Hunt

2. Goddess Interrupted

2.5 The Goddess Legacy (July 31, 2012)

3. The Goddess Inheritance

FTC Advisory: Harlequin Teen provided me with a copy of The Goddess Test.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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