For What It's Worth

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Review: The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

The Goddess Test (Harlequin Teen)
Every girl who has taken the test has died.
Now it's Kate's turn.
It's always been just Kate and her mom--and now 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.
If she fails...(YA) April 19, 2011

I was really intrigued by The Goddess Test . I had read a few great reviews but ultimately it left me frustrated and sad for everyone involved.
Kate’s mom is dying and as her last wish she brings Kate back to her childhood home in Eden, Michigan and enrolls Kate in a new school.
Kate has spent most of her time caring for her mom and not socializing as a regular teenager would. This part of the story was very touching and I loved how loyal Kate was to her mom. From personal experience this is not an easy situation for a teenager and Carter did an excellent job writing about the effects of a family member with a terminal illness.
Once Kate gets to her new high school she is befriended by James, a slightly awkward but sweet boy who is obviously crushing on her. Another boy takes an interest in Kate that draws the attention of his girlfriend Ava. Ava invites her to a party in the woods and Kate decides that despite her reservations she will go.
Something goes horribly wrong that night and Kate finds herself with an impossible choice to make. Become the bride of Hades (aka: gorgeous but aloof Henry) and the queen of the underworld with the gift of immortality or lose her mom and new friend (frienimy?) Ava.
Aaaand this is where the book lost me.  Ok – so I let it go that everyone pretty much quickly accepts the fact that Henry really is Hades and that Kate may have to go be his bride for 6 months every year. Ava & James are believer’s right away trying to talk her into – or out of it in James’s case. She wants her mom to live and is willing to do anything so I suspended my disbelief and went with the flow.
The catch? Kate has to pass a series of seven tests and be judged by a group of unknown people. Many girls have been brought to Henry but have died while trying to pass these tests. Henry’s rule of the underworld will end if he can’t find a queen and he is heartbroken after losing so many girls and his true love Persephone. Kate starts to understand Henry's isolated life and she not only agrees to the challenge but falls in love with him. When he wants to give up she is his strength.
I don’t want to give too much of the plot away but not everyone is who they appear and there are several twists and turns to this story that I truly believe most people will love. I was left feeling really sorry for Kate. She’s very young and handled an inordinate amount of betrayal very well but I found it difficult to believe she could let so many things go without being angry or feeling manipulated. Even her reason for existing struck a nerve with me. Why is she friends with any of these people? I just couldn't answer that question.
Henry is just so sad. I liked him well enough and I wanted them to fall in love but he wasn’t a very strong character. He sat back most of the time and acted as an observer. Some of that makes sense in the context of the story but wasn’t too exciting to read. I wanted him to be bolder. He is Hades after all.
We never really know when Kate is being tested. It would have been more interesting to me if she had a visible set of challenges. We never know when the test is occurring, who is giving it or if she passed until later. Henry is incredibly vague about the whole thing despite promising to do everything he can to help.
Then near the end…..the bane of my existence….a potential love triangle. It wasn’t really played up too much in this book but I imagine it will be a stronger part of the next book. This left me really sad. When you read about Henry’s past and how Kate fought for him it bothers me to think she would turn away. James is also incredibly nice and I feel bad for him too if it doesn’t work out the way he would like. Like I said the book just left me kind of sad.
I admit I am extremely sensitive on the whole love triangle topic and maybe I’m even reading it wrong. Conversely, I wasn't completely convinced she should just throw her life away for Henry so quickly either - she's too young for all the responsibilities that were thrown at her. Fussy, fussy reader....tsk tsk.
There really wasn’t much on Greek mythology. It just skirts around it. Maybe the next book will delve deeper now that the groundwork has been laid out.
Despite everything I just said I would recommend this book to the vast majority of readers. If you’re willing to just go with the flow of the story and not be nit picky like me you should be fine. I think I just had different expectations of what this book was about. It is a bit like Twilight with the brooding hunk and near obsessive love.
Rating 2.5 out of 4 This just wasn't the right book for me -there were too many things I had to overlook to enjoy it. I think most people will like it though.

Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: E-Galley from


  1. Thanks for this review. It's the best description of the book I've read yet. I've also read lots of great reviews so its nice to read a contrasting one.
    BTW...loved your When I'm Not Reading post :-)

  2. I totally understand how you feel about triangles and loved your review. I don't know if I can handle a sad book right now.

  3. Thanks for the honest review, Karen. I'm glad to hear your take on this one.

  4. I'm a bit nit-picky too so I might sit this one out.

  5. awwww pitty you didnt love this one =/

    It didnt really attract me either.

    Thanks for your honest review!

  6. Thanks for your honest review, sweetie. I'm sad Henry wasn't more bold and that you didn't really know when she was being tested. Sad times.

  7. Hm. I've been wanting to read this, because I love adaptations of Greek myth, but it sounds SO light on the myth...bummer. I may still thumb through it, but maybe as a gym read, instead of something I curl up with.

  8. The Goddess Test is one of the best deubt books I have ever had the pleasure to read. Aimee Carter has created a story world which pulled me stright in and held me the whole book.