Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Goddess Test: Engaging writing will draw you in but a lot of license has been taken...

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.

Book Review

Title: The Goddess Test
Author: Aimee Carter
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: April 19, 2011

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Aimee Carter's The Goddess Test is a unique, modern reimagining of the Persephone myth. Kate Winters fulfills her dying mother's wish by returning her to her childhood home, where Kate meets the engimatic Henry. Kate makes a bargain with Henry to save a friend, and now Kate must pass seven tests for the chance to say goodbye to her mother and save Henry. But someone doesn't want Kate to pass...and will do anything to stop her.

The Goddess Test sparkles with engaging writing, a caring heroine, and a loving mother/daughter relationship. Compulsively readable, The Goddess Test drew me in until I couldn't put it down without knowing how it ended. Classic mythology with its amoral, selfish gods is reshaped to the point where it's almost unrecognizable, but those who don't mind a bit of license taken with the classic stories will enjoy it. This is very sanitized version of mythology, but the target audience will enjoy the slow-simmer relationship between the angsting, tortured Henry and the girl who can show him love and make him want to stay.

The best part of The Goddess Test is the love and concern Kate shows for her mother. So many YA characters disregard their parents (if they even have parents at all!) so Kate's care and compassion for her mother felt unique and refreshing. I was touched reading the sacrifices Kate has been willing to make for her mother and how deeply Kate cares for her mother.

An interesting underlying message of The Goddess Test is revealed in the tests themselves. Knowing this book involves Greek mythology, I expected the tests to be EPIC and grand in scale and nature. However, many of the tests are so subtle that Kate doesn't even realize they're happening. At first, I was disappointed that the tests were not more glorious, but then I realized the message of these seemingly mundane tests. Sometimes, it's not the big, grand things that define us, but the consistent, everyday virtue of our lives. It's the little day-to-day choices that make us who we are--the choices we make when we don't think anyone's watching. While the tests are based on Western values and don't relate particularly well to Greek mythology, I love this message that our daily actions are the best reflections of our character.

With it's engaging writing and caring heroine, The Goddess Test is an enjoyable, light read, perfect for summer vacation.

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