Title: The Goddess Test (available April 19, 2011)

Author: Aimee Carter

Redonk Nutshell: Teenager is subjected to a test of moral character in order to become a goddess

Official Synopsis: 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…

I really enjoyed this book.  Aimee Carter’s style of writing is relaxed yet descriptive enough to create a sort of dreamy and dark atmosphere.  I was really hooked by the premise – it’s a Greek myth turns reality sort of deal with a bit of a twist.  Kate is the modern day Persephone, and Henry is Hades.  The catch, however, is that there are no sinister machinations going on that Kate isn’t aware of.  There’s no kidnapping; no imprisonment.  In fact, she walks into the deal knowing fully well what’s expected of her.  And that, my friends, is what made The Goddess Test refreshing to me.  YA novels with brooding heroes and heroines tend to be filled with angsty teens teetering back and forth between emotional dilemmas.  Kate has her fair share of decisions to make, but what sets her apart is her willingness to accept what’s handed to her.  There’s very little resentment.  She’s a breath of fresh air in a world of angsty Bella Swan-like young women.

Then there’s Henry.  Personally, I really dug his whole sensitive, objective approach to his fate.  It was realistic to me – he is a god, afterall.  He’s been around for an unfathomable amount of time, so it felt right for him to be a near impenetrable facade of calm.  And of course he’s going to be attractive – again, he IS a god.  Sure, he’s the god of the underworld, but I think what a lot of people tend to forget is that in Greek mythology there isn’t anything inherently evil about the underworld.  Hades just happens to be its keeper.  So, all that said, I really, really liked Henry.  I liked Carter’s take on the pantheon of Greek gods in a modern world.  It felt right to me, believable, even.

The tone of The Goddess Test is what appealed most to me.  It feels heavy and foreboding, yet bearable and intriguing.  You root for Kate to survive her trials, and you really (I stress REALLY) cheer for her when she starts to take a liking to Henry.  What I also appreciated about this book was the mystery.  Kate has to pass seven tests, but we’re never really told what those tests are until the end when all is revealed.  If you go into this book looking for specific trials (i.e. The Hunger Games, etc.), you’re going to be disappointed.  It’s more realistic.  After all, life is a constant test – we’re not always aware of when we’re being tested.  So I dug that aspect.

The Goddess Test is the first in a series by Aimee Carter.  As you all know, I tend to abhor trilogies and/or series.  Luckily, The Goddess Test is a succinct, stand alone novel that won’t leave you hanging at the end.  HOO-RAH!  I’m definitely looking forward to getting my hands on the next installment, Goddess Interrupted due out February 2012.

This was definitely a fun read, one I could see myself reading again.

Rating: B

Romance: 3/5                              Raunch: 0/5

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