Friday, April 1, 2011
The Goddess Test: Aimee Carter
I'm not sure what I expected to find when I chose to read The Goddess Test, but I somehow didn't think I'd be reading about the Greek gods again. However, this is not another Percy Jackson story.
Kate's mother is dying of cancer. Her last wish is that Kate take her to the little town of Eden, where she can end her days peacefully. While trying to care for her ailing mother and spend as much time with her as possible, Kate also has to battle the challenges of being a new student at a new school. Ava, the pretty, popular girl, takes an almost immediate disliking to Kate, making her life in Eden hellish. Kate's one friend is an outcast named James. However, Eden is not what it appears to be, and when Ava plays a sickening trick on Kate, things get really strange. A man appears from out of nowhere to bring Ava back to life and make Kate an offer of immortality. Henry is dark, handsome, and mysterious...oh yeah, and he also happens to be the god of the underworld, Hades. He has the power to offer Kate more time with her dying mother, but only if Kate agrees to spend 6 months of the year with him in Eden, attempting to pass seven tests of character to determine if she is fit to rule the underworld with him. Initially Kate shrugs him off as a crazy person, no more powerful than a rich eccentric. But when her mother falls into a coma and Ava's miracle of life is revoked, Kate is willing to try anything, including moving in to Henry'd home. Life in Eden manor is exquisite, and Kate finds herself falling in love with Henry. The only problem is that Henry is still heartbroken over Persephone--the woman he loved, who loved a mortal, causing her to give up her immortality and leaving Mount Olympus forever. Kate continues to learn her Greek mythology (except in Eden it's history and not mythology), and as she grows more determined to stay with Henry, he softens towards her, anxious to make her his wife and thereby saving his job as god of the underworld. Unfortunately someone is trying to prevent Kate from passing the Goddess Test and if she fails the test, she may lose Henry and her life.
I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this book. I admit, I was confused at first. Hades appearing in the middle of a small town was so incongruent that I spent the first few chapters trying to wrap my head around the basic idea. But then Henry became a central character and I was so in love with the god of the underworld that I didn't care that the story was implausible. Aimee Carter is a creative writer with new ideas about the Greek gods--fresh ideas about a cast of characters that have nearly become as passé as vampires and werewolves. Carter shifts the focus off of Zeus and Hera, to highlight some of the lesser known gods and their myths. The cast of characters--including the mortals and the undead--is fresh-faced and fascinating. Kate is endearingly flawed and self-conscious, with just enough courage and strength to make her a goddess candidate.
The only thing I didn't like about this book is that it appears to be the first in a series, which means I have to wait to find out what happens next!
ARC received courtesy of Harlequin Teen