Title: The Goddess Test
Author: Aimee Carter
Publisher/format: Kindle Edition, Harlequin Teen
How I got this: Purchased
Challenges: 2012 ebook challenge, 2012 YA reading challenge
Synopsis (From Goodreads.com):
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.
I was really, really impressed with this book. I bought it on a whim, because it was in the kindle sale, having not particularly been interested in it before. It turned out to be a well-thought-out, interesting and fast read.
What impressed me most, was that things in this book actually seemed to make sense. All too often in books, especially YA fantasies, young girls disappear for months at a time (*cough* Everneath cough) and there’s very little/no reaction from their immediate families or friends. In this one, that was taken care of by the fact that Kate’s mother was in a coma, and that she had relatively few friends, having only just moved to the town of Eden.
She gets led into the grounds of the imposing Eden manor, where tragedy strikes a school friend, and leads Kate to meet Henry, who apparently can bring people back from the dead, and thinks he’s some sort of god. Literally. Kate ends up making a deal for her friend’s life, which involves doing anything Henry wants. Unfortunately, what he wants is for her to live with him for 6 months of every year, and quite possibly become his wife.
But that’s only if she manages to pass seven separate tests – if she fails, Henry himself fades away, and Kate will forget everything about the manor.
I liked Kate as a main character, she seemed well-rounded and caring, and what she’d gone through with her mother’s illness was pretty nasty, but it was tackled well, and the entire section was well-written. I liked the way that as a reader, you felt very inside Kate’s head, and saw her reactions, and how she worked things out.
I also liked her relationship with Henry, and how things seemed to progress naturally from companionship to friendship and then into something deeper. It felt very organic, and whilst the book was a fast read, it was nice to see the build-up to them being together. Definitely no instalove here – and it was also a love-triangle free zone, mostly! Fantastic!
However, a couple of things did bother me. Firstly, how Kate didn’t seem more freaked out by Ava’s death, and then her coming back to life. I know she didn’t know Ava so well at the time, but I’m pretty sure I’d be much more freaked out than Kate seemed to be. Also, Kate’s fears about Death, especially after she finds out that Henry is Hades, lord of the Underworld.
Also, how well would you take being sent away for six months immediately after getting married? I don’t think I’d be too happy about that one – but Kate seems to take it in her stride, no moping required.
She also didn’t panic when her apparently dead mother was suddenly alive again, and a deity to boot. I’d feel pretty betrayed, and like a rug had been pulled from under me at the very least!
However, overall, I completely loved this book. I really was glued to it right until the end. I’d recommend it to anyone who liked a well-thought out book, and is into mythic fiction and/or Greek mythology.
Have already got myself the next one to read!
Overall rating: 4.5/5
My Enjoyment: 5/5