Pages: 297 (paperback)
To Be Published: April 2011 by Harlequin Teen
Recommended for: paranormal romance fans
Every girl who has taken the test has died.
Now it's Kate's turn.
The Goddess Test immediately caught my eye as a book I absolutely had to get my hands on, what with the promise of a fresh take on Greek mythology and, of course, that fabulous cover. While a hardcore mythology geek like myself couldn't help but despair over every last thing this fantasy romance novel changed and altered slightly for the sake of its story, this is still an upcoming YA book well worth the read.
Doctors say our MC Kate's mother won't hold out much longer, and she's as uncertain of what her fate will be as she is determined to pretend all this isn't happening. Kate is wary when her dying mother moves their small family from her beloved New York to the small town she grew up in, especially after the local high school's 'mean girl' tries to pull a prank over Kate's head and ends up busting her head open on the sharp rocks of the local creek. A mysterious young man, Henry, appears and offers Kate a chance to restore said mean girl's life and prolong her dying mother's as well-- if she only agrees to be his Persephone, spending six months of every year with him within the walls of beautiful Eden Manor. Kate accepts, not knowing the consequences of her promise-- and that the mysterious Henry is in fact Hades, ancient god of the Underworld. He has been alone and heartbroken all these long centuries ever since his bride the goddess Persephone left him for the mortal world. Dozens of girls have died facing the seven tests, set up by the Council of Olympus, which are mandatory for a mortal to become Henry/Hades's wife and the goddess of the Underworld. For Kate, literally everything hangs on the outcome of the tests: her awkward relationship with Henry, her mother's life and her future-- and perhaps even the fate of the world-- both the Underworld and the mortal world.
This book has a remarkable premise, based on one of my favorite Greek myths: that of Hades and Persephone. The execution is less than positively remarkable, but truly enjoyable. The major flaw of The Goddess Test is that I figured out the gist of most of the secret goings-on at Eden Manor and among the Olympians long before Kate did, which here was not the result of my awesome detective skills-- it's simple because the story is in places almost painfully predictable. Plenty of things are left unexplained, which is great for the prospects of a sequel, but not so great when you still have a million burning questions and no conceivable answers after you turn the last page. All that said, Aimee Carter does a good job weaving Greek myths into a simple and sweet love story, and her take on Hades/Persephone is really unique. Kate's a great narrator, and her situation with her mother and slow-moving romance with Henry make this book stand out from the YA masses.
Plot: 3/4Overall Rating: 4/5
*I received this book from Harlequin via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, and this in no way affected the contents of my review.*