Monday, July 4, 2011
Carter, Aimee: The Goddess Test (The Goddess Test, #1)
304 pages, Harlequin Teen
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.
If she fails...
Honestly, I liked the concept of this story a bit more than I thought I would be. Recently, I seem to be a bit - jaded? pessimistic? - about the quality of YA fiction. Characters are redundant. Plots fall through like the hole in a donut. However, The Goddess Test was a rare exception.
That isn't to say the story was completely perfect. The main aspect that made my sister and I have a good laugh was the name Henry. If you're a mythology geek (like moi) you are probably aware that besides his main title, Hades, the God of the Underworld has several different names that he is called by. Henry evokes a picture of a stuffy young English man with lace about his collar, rather than a tall, dark and handsome immortal.
Also (not really a big deal) the high school and its surrounding areas instantly makes me think of Forks - or that might be the little blurb stating Henry as being "dark and tortured"...Edward Cullen, anyone?
The other bone of contention happened near the end - a brief, not-at-all described night of intimacy between Kate and Henry that I thought was unnecessary. If this doesn't bother you, please overlook my morals, but for me that was a bit of a squicky situation, as was the "discussion" afterward about the circumstances that fueled their, ahem, lust. As a teenager, I can tell you straight off that adding intimate scenes in a YA book doesn't convince me that it's meant for my age group.
(Then again, I guess you can't expect less from Harlequin.)
Other than that, the story was an intriguing idea - what if Persephone couldn't adapt to Hades? What if there was a need for another Queen of the Underworld? I liked Kate well enough - up until the part I mentioned; her desire to have more time with her dying mother was honorable, although I don't think that quickly accepting the proposal of a strange guy - no matter how cute he is - is really a smart thing to do. (Don't try this at home, kids.)
To make a long story short, it wasn't Rick Riordan, but it was an interesting opening to the series, and I can't help but want to see what happens next.
Warnings: Brief scene of intimacy, not described, but you know what happened. There's also a girl with loose morals when it comes to the opposite gender, if you get what I mean.
Just a quick commentary on the cover. I think that the designers were very appropriate with the model and the way they positioned her. She sort of gives off this desperate, yet resigned, look (does that even make sense?), and the way her hand rests on her chest makes me feel as though she's taking her last breath.
I'm all about the symbolism.