Friday, July 22, 2011

Book Review: The Goddess Test by Aimée Carter

Title: The Goddess Test (The Goddess Test, #1)
Author: Aimée Carter
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
e-ARC, 293 pages (via NetGalley)
Date Published: April 26, 2011
Description (Taken from Goodreads):
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.
Greek mythology can be endlessly fascinating with so many different stories to tell, but Aimée Carter does something unconventional and takes the focus off the gods and puts it on Kate, the everyday, average girl. Kate really is spectacularly average, but she’s exceptionally caring at the same time; willing to give up her life and her dreams to care for her dying mother. If Carter was attempting to make Kate endearing right off the bat, this is a surefire way to do it.

The beginning of the story is focused entirely on Kate and her integration into her new home where her mother used to live. That means new setting, new school, and new people. Ava is instantly a disliked character, but her sudden rise from the dead at mysterious Henry’s hands turns her into a new person. Ava gets to come back because of this vague agreement between Kate and Henry. This part is annoying because Kate agrees to something, but has no clue what it really is, then Henry shows up and she doesn’t agree, but it’s confusing and – I never thought I’d use this word – befuddling.

Once we get past that and Kate moves into Henry’s fortress of a home, things get much more complicated, but make more sense. Henry is intriguing and has the tortured soul thing down perfectly. His story is a sad one, just as Kate’s is. Their slowly growing relationship feels very genuine. The tasks set up for Kate – the reason she’s there –  aren’t explained at all, but I enjoyed seeing her new day to day life, away from the responsibility of caring for her mother.

Carter has not only created two wonderful main characters, but her secondary characters are phenomenal. Ava - the new and improved Ava – has this perky nature brings vivaciousness to the story. James, another of Kate’s classmate is sweet and kind of dorky, but in a cute way. I loved him from his first appearance with goofy grin, then even more with his bulky headphones and affinity for french fries doused in ketchup.

Kate’s mother, who appears in dreams, brings out the more emotional aspect of the book. The scenes between Kate and her mom are almost bittersweet. These moments are balanced by the huge number of inhabitants in Henry’s house, all of whom have in interest in meeting Henry’s new girl. I was taken by every aspect of the story, yearning to learn more about the gods and everything in between.

The Goddess Test
is wonderfully unique and almost whimsical read that anyone could enjoy. The story is unlike any other and Carter takes the age-old mythology we know and spins it into her own tale; one that is always interesting and full of twists. I thought I knew what to expect at times, but was completely wrong when things turned out a different way. Reading that last page doesn’t feel like the end, but the beginning of something even bigger. I’m anxious to find out where Kate’s journey goes from here in Goddess Interrupted.

Opening line (from Chapter 1): I spent my eighteenth birthday driving from New York City to Eden, Michigan, so my mother could die in the town where she was born. ~ pg. 12

Favorite lines/passages (my favorite passage felt too spoilery to include here): “When you have eons to live, the world becomes a much smaller place,” he said. ~ pg. 98

*This is the e-ARC version and lines, pages, cover art may differ from final copy
3.5 for sure
 *This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

Find Aimée Carter online:

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Candace said...

This book had a very different feel to me. I really liked it, but it almost didn't feel like a YA, while at the same time it really did (especially all the crap with Ava). I pictured Henry as old and it took awhile before I settled into believing he looked young (though maybe I'm still having a hard time with that...). But the story was unique and I can't wait for the next one! Glad you liked it!

Angelica Joy said...

How many books are going to be in this series?

Lori said...

I really liked this book too, and I think I wasn't expecting to like it for some reason. So it surprised me and now I can't wait for Goddess Interrupted!

Bere said...

I've wanted to read this one since I first saw it. I really like the cover and the fonts used. And it sounds really interesting. I'm glad to hear you liked it. Thanks, Nikki! =D

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

Candace - Henry does come off as an old dude. That's why I wanted to sit around and take up a cheering section for more James!

Angelica Joy - I'm honestly not sure how many. My guess is three, as that's tends to be the norm nowadays.

Lori - Yay for liking it! I was expecting something completely different from what the story is, but I still enjoyed it and will be reading the sequel. The promise of more James is enough to make me want Goddess Interrupted.

Bere - I love that you mentioned fonts! I'm a total font whore and this book wins the freaking font lottery.

~The Book Pixie said...

This one has been pretty high up there on my wishlist for a while now. Most reviews I've seen have been positively glowing so it's good to see a review where someone enjoyed it but wasn't over the moon about it. Can't wait to read this one for myself! :D


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