The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

goddess test coverKate’s mother is dying, and her last request is to return to her childhood home of Eden, Michigan. So Kate drives from New York City to the backwoods of Michigan to fulfill her mother’s dying request, and try to figure out how she’s going to live without her. There, at a brand new high school, she quickly makes friends with James, an outcast, and Ava, the popular cheerleader type. She tries to keep a low profile and worry solely about her mother, but then she meets Henry. Henry claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld. After a prank-gone-wrong, Henry brings Ava back from the dead, and tells Kate he can keep her mother alive as well–all she has to do is live with him for six months, and pass seven tests while she is there. If she passes, she becomes Queen of the Underworld. If she fails, she dies, and so does the only other person she cares about.

First, let’s be clear. Despite “Hades” being a main character, this is NOT a book loaded with Greek mythology. There was actually very little mythology in it, for a book having “goddess” in the title, and a major Greek god as a main character. So if you’re looking for a book based on mythology, this is not the book for you. That being said, I still liked this story. I liked Kate’s character, and how she turned a tragic situation into something she could live with. She had to make some hard choices and be willing to make sacrifices beyond what your “average” senior in high school is expected to make. I felt her actions were believable and made sense. I thought the love story between Kate and Henry was cute and the kind that gave you a warm fuzzy feeling. I found myself rooting for them, even though I thought parts of the plot were cliched or silly. In this story, I thought they worked. Some parts of the story were predictable, but some were not. We were introduced to the character of James early in the story, but then he disappeared for awhile, and we are left with the feeling that he will be important in the next novel. I’m intrigued to see what happens next with him and Kate.

I didn’t like all the side characters in this book. I felt like Carter wanted them to be more important, but she never really developed them. Maybe she did in earlier drafts and their back stories were cut due to length, but I thought there were a LOT of side characters mentioned that we never really heard from again, and that was somewhat awkward. Also, the passage of time was a little confusing. A few days in September went by very slowly, then suddenly it was Christmas, and then even more suddenly it was March. The timeline in the second half of the book was especially confusing at times.

I’m interested to see where Carter goes with this series next. I thought this book would have been a nice stand alone novel, but she did leave enough questions to make me want to read more. Again, not a book to read for the mythology, but I like Kate and want to see what happens to her next.

Happy reading,

-Branwen

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