Title: The Goddess Test
Author: Aimee Carter
No. of Pages: 304
Genre: Young Adult; Fantasy
Origins: Mine. All mine.
Release Date: 19 April 2011
Bottom Line: Breezy and fun, fun, fun!
“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.”
Thoughts: The Greek gods are fun subjects. They are whimsical, petulant, and all-powerful. They have personalities that are larger than life and are so well-known that a few well-chosen words are all that one needs to be able to identify them. Aimee Carter’s The Goddess Test series is another in a long line of highly enjoyable stories about these infamous mythological beings. Her spin on them, however, is what makes the series sparkle.
In spite of the story being about Kate’s tests and potential future as co-ruler of the Underworld, The Goddess Test keeps the god talk to a minimum. She accomplishes this in part through the modern nomenclature. It is easy to forget that Henry and Hades are the same person because Henry is such an unassuming name. She also accomplishes this in the ordinariness of life at Eden Manor. Yes, there is magic and power, but there is also boredom, school, card games, sleeping and eating. These activities take up a majority of Kate’s experiences, thereby minimizing the fantasy.
Then there is Kate. She is everything one wants in a heroine – loyal, steadfast, compassionate, strong, resilient, and so much more. She has a backbone but understands how to pick her battles. She stands by her promises and is not easily distracted. She knows her own mind and is not afraid to stand on her own, even if that puts her in the minority among her peers. Watching her first learn about and then accept her potential new life, one envisions Kate as a fictional Grace Kelly struggling in her transition from actress to queen, for by the end of the story, she is every bit as poised and powerful as Grace was in Monaco. One knows at the very beginning that Kate is special, and it is a delight to watch her blossom into her potential.
The Goddess Test is frivolous and silly and an absolute blast. Ms. Carter introduces the Greek gods to a new generation, and her modern touches make them approachable and less otherworldly. There are some brilliant twists that only heighten the creativity and fun of the story. It is going to be thoroughly enjoyable to continue the series and see how Kate and Henry fare.