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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Review: The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

Author: Aimee Carter
Pages: 304
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Series or Standalone: 1st in series
Genre: YA  Greek Myth Retelling
Reading Level: 13 years old+
Dominant Themes: Greek Gods, Murder, Romance
Buy This Book:
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 would first like to say that this isn’t actually a Greek myth retelling, it’s a Greek myth continuation. There’s a difference. The retelling of the myth of Hades and Persephone would be if Kate were Persephone reincarnated, or something of the sort. But Persephone is her own separate character in this story, and while Kate is directly linked to her, it’s in a different way. So, conclusion of this ramble: NOT a retelling, but a continuation.

Ever since I first studied Greek mythology in school several years ago, I’ve been obsessed with it. Most especially the myth of Hades and Persephone. I even dressed up as Persephone for Halloween (even though no one understood it). So I was extremely excited to read The Goddess Test when I found out that it involved my favorite myth of all time, and had such high hopes for it. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. I had an issue with the mythology itself of the novel. My reasoning being that, if this is a retelling of a Greek myth, stay true to it. Aimee created a wonderful cast of characters as the gods and goddesses, but the whole Greek element was completely taken out and replaced with “If you think when you die you’ll be a ball of light, then that’s what you’ll be. Or, if you imagine big white gates, then that’s what you get.” (That is not word-for-word what is said, but something along those lines.) Under any other circumstances, I wouldn’t mind that at all, I love that idea. But it left me unsatisfied in the mythology department.

Our main characters Kate and Henry were my favorites, especially Henry. He was so sweet and fragile, yet he’s the god of the dead. It’s the perfect juxtaposition. Kate was strong and dedicated, loyal to the ones she loved and cared for. Her friends Ava and James, well, I was just confused by them. Ava goes from hating Kate, to the next day being her best friend? What? And James… I’m not sure what he was, exactly. They seemed inconsequential to the story itself.

I was also very disappointed about the tests Kate must go through. From the description, I got the idea that she would go through boot camp-style, get-your-ass-covered-in-mud kind of tests. But the way it played out was… anticlimactic.

The best parts were the scenes with Kate and Henry, because their relationship is my favorite part of this novel, and the scenes with Kate and her mother, because those scenes were so genuine and heart-breaking. Overall, I wasn’t very pleased with this book, but I will pick up the second just to see read more Henry. Also, Aimee's writing style was very fluid and palpable, which is another plus for the story.

On a more positive note, the cover for this novel is absolutely gorgeous. It gives an exotic, sensual feel to it.

I give this novel 3 out of 5 stars.


  1. Thanks for the clarification about how Hades & Persephone fit into the story. We've always been a bit confused about that.

    Love the review.

  2. I'm always a little worried about books containing Greek Mythology because most times they mess up the myths and I get mad. Maybe someday I'll pick this up.

  3. The Goddess Test opens with an intense first couple of scenes that got me hooked right from the start. I was instantly snagged by Kate's dark and miserable life with her dying mother and new location. I also loved the retelling of the Persephone myth. It's always been one of my favorites, but Aimee Carter does a superb job bringing into modern times. And she makes Henry so dang alluring! Her writing style is very readable, with angsty and moody action that keeps the reader craving chapter after chapter. Kate is a very down-to-earth character, acting as real and as raw as I imagine a real life person would in her situation.


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