Book Review (eGalley): THE GODDESS TEST by Aimee Carter

I've been putting off writing my review of The Goddess Test since my mind was preoccupied with other "darker" matters such as the explosive dance of words with my grandmother, the news about my research paper and other things that I felt was driving my temper a few notches than the norm.

And of course, I've also been training myself not to put up any comments other than "I love it!" before the book release for fear of blurting out relevant plot facts that may spoil the reading pleasure of others. 

So, without further ado, my mini review of The Goddess Test. Yes, I call this mini since I did not put my entire thoughts here.

The Goddess Test
the first book in the Goddess Test series
by Aimee Carter
Source: NetGalley
Publication Date: April 26, 2011
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
ISBN: 0373210264

Synopsis from Goodreads
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.
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Plot:

Reading the blurb on Goodreads and other blogs that featured it, I thought The Goddess Test was just a retelling of the story of Hades and Persephone. My knowledge of that story was limited to the most popular version. That version had Persephone abducted by Hades against her will, was forced to stay with him for six months since she ate six pomegranate seeds, and be his queen of an underworld generally depicted to be bleak, full of dead people, and kind of like the "hell" that was featured in the movie Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. 

All in all, it was not a pretty story.

But, that perception changed after I read The Goddess Test. 

The first chapters, I was like: "Hey, it's like the original story." The only difference is that Kate was a  mortal which was my initial perception but further context clues alerted me to the fact that she was the daughter of Demeter herself, my only question was how Persephone factored in the story. But as the story progressed it became an entirely different story - there were still some parallels with the original Persephone/Hades story but Aimee Carter managed to create a sequel-of-sorts that will truly captivate the imagination of readers who love mythology.

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Characters:

While Kate was the central character of the story, I was drawn primarily to Henry and the other characters. As expected, Henry was gorgeous! He's a god for chrisssakes. Yet, I did not expect Henry to be so moody, depressed, and kind of deep. He still was surrounded in mystery and darkness but he was not at all my picture of Hades. Hades, to me, was someone who was, yes, dark but also fiery of temper and downright evil. It maybe because he was the ruler of hell but I did not quite imagine hell to be just, well, a place for the dead - a bleak landscape full of whimsy and the fantastical. And that what was painted in the book and I loved Henry here (I really am drawn to boys who possess an aura of mystery).

I also had fun guessing who was who here - which character corresponded to a certain god or goddess - I confess I cheated a bit and looked at the end of the book where there was a 'who's who' guide. *teehee* Furthermore, I know that Aimee kind of had liberties with the characters and all (I was still shocked that Hera went for Hades) but the character developments all went in harmony to make the story more interesting and fun to read. After all, there are many versions of these particular characters and with them are varieties of their own tales.
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Ending:

Shall I spoil? Eh, what do you think happened?

The ending was quite satisfying for me and really marked the end of a chapter in Kate's journey. And with how things ended, I think that The Goddess Test warrants a sequel - which there will be, of course.
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Overall:

As I said before, I LOVE the book! I love mythology in all forms no matter where they came from. In fact, I went and read about the original story and got a surprise: not all versions depicted Hades as a bad guy and some even went on to say that Persephone was not adverse to Hades and even was in love with him. I quite learned some new things.

Now, I can't wait for Goddess Interrupted.


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