Saturday, August 3, 2013

Book Review: The Goddess Test (#1 & 1.5)

Author: Aimée Carter
Series: The Goddess Test
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: April 2011 and March 2012
Pages: 385
Format: Paperback, eBook
Average Rating: 3.89, 3.82
Read it in: 2 days
Source: Bought from Amazon

- Summary - 

Every girl who had 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...

- Review - 

What do you mean Greek gods have a bad habbit of falling in love with mortals? What on earth would give you that idea?

(That, friends, was sarcasm.)

Greek mythology has been the basis of several fictional stories over the years (as well as plays, movies, ect. ect.) because, well, there is so much material to work with. Gods falling in love with cute girls, jealous goddesses, curses, rivalries, wars, and people turning into animals.... Such a colorful history. And a great premise for a story, for sure. And thus, The Goddess Test was born!

Now, the overall plot was actually kind of interesting. We have all heard the story of Hades and Persephone; the latter being kidnapped by the "King of the Dead" and forced into marriage, where she spends half a year in the Underworld and the other half above-ground with her mother, Demeter. That is the story, anyway. In The Goddess Test, Carter gives this tale a modern twist, in which Hades is in demand for a new wife; and it just so happens that our main character, Kate, has caught his eye. But there's a catch. In order for Kate to become Hades' new Queen, she must pass a series of tests put together by the other Olympians. Tests that could be the difference between survival and death. See, great premise. Unfortunately, the execution was not as wow-worthy.

The majority of the characters in this book were either unlikable or completely irrelevant (with the exception of Henry); especially the main character, Kate. She was extremely whiny and self-absorbed. When she moves to Eden with her dying mother, she basically shuts down any attempts at friendship and kindness offered to her by her teachers and fellow classmates. Which, I get it; her mother is dying and she does not want to get too attached to anyone/anything, but people are trying to be nice. The least she can do is thank them and try to explain her feelings toward building a relationship at this point in time. But no; instead, she just sits there silently, brooding over the fact that these people are even bothering.

"How DARE this kid want to be my friend!"


"The boys keep staring at me and think I am cute? GOD! MY LIFE SUCKS."

Which is basically the vibe you get from her the entire time she is attending school. She was also kind of stupid. While she is staying with Henry, he and everyone around her keep warning her to be careful; that there is someone out there who has killed the girls that came before her and would not think twice about offing her as well. So, say you are the one to receive this information. Any sane, smart person would take extra care to not go anywhere alone or open anonymous packages. Instead, our heroine complains about her food being tasted before she eats, having guards watching her every move, and getting a Christmas present with no card or name being taken away before she can open it. Kate. Someone. Is. Trying. To. Kill. You. Are you really in any position to question/rebel against Henry's decision in the matter of your safety? Also, her priorities are a tad messed up, given that she was more concerned about the fact that she had to wear a dress (heaven forbid!) than the tests that would determine her fate. She was also very back-and-forth; falling in love with Henry one minute and demanding that she does not want to stay in Eden Manor and rule the Underworld the next. She got a little better towards the ending, but there was no real, present progress there. Basically, her ability to whine less was passed off as character development. 

Henry, as stated above, was probably one of the only characters that I did really like. I enjoyed the twist on his and Persephone's tale, and it gave him good reason to be a little unsure of falling in love with and taking another wife. His protectiveness was understandable as well; given how every single woman taking the test(s) had died. I really looked forward to all of his parts. The only thing I have to say, in regards to his personal story is: How the HECK did he fail one of his own tests?! It was on Greek mythology, for crying out loud!

As for the other, less important characters; well... they were not very important. Ava was basically useless up until the very end of the book, and James... Oh, James. I did not really get his character. I mean, maybe as a friend he would have been okay, but as a love interest? It made absolutely no sense. They barely knew each other and were friends for like, a month before Kate shut him out of her life. And then he comes back and is all of the sudden a threat to Henry and has romantic feelings for Kate. Just, no. Also, why does he have to fade now that he will not be taking over the Underworld? He's Hermes. Surely there is a purpose for him, otherwise how else has he been able to survive for all these years? Inconsistencies!!

The writing was not by any means cringe-worthy, but there were a lot of new writer/contemporary/teenage clichés and the descriptions and transitions could definitely use some work. But, overall, there were some things I really did like about this book. For one, the plot has a ton of potential, and I am hoping that the next books had enough critique and work to make them much more enjoyable. And I do want to read on. Another enjoyable aspect of this book was how it was kind of left up to the readers to discover which character turned out to be which god. I loved that.

- Rating - 


Overall, I gave this book 3/5 stars. Now, while I was on this whole Greek mythology kick, I went ahead and purchased the eBook novella that comes between books one and two, The Goddess Hunt, which follows Kate and Jame's adventures through Greece. I really liked the incorporation of Pollux and Castor, but Kate's inability to understand situations and trust Henry was extremely annoying. And while I did enjoy Henry's POV (as well as Kate calling Zeus a bastard and an ass), the whole "romance" with James was not a fun reading experience. So, in the end, this story had more problems than not and I was only willing to give it 2/5 stars. I wont be in any big rush to finish this series right now (have you seen my Book Bucket List?!), but I am sure that I will get to it eventually and will (hopefully) be doing a full review. In the meantime, however, books number 1 and 1.5 will have to do.

Until next time! :)

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