The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

Title: The Goddess Test
Author: Aimee Carter
Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Publication Date: April 26, 2011
Pages: 304
Source: ARC
Interest: 2011 Debut, Greek Mythology
Rating: 5/5

Every girl who has taken the test has DIED.
Not it's Kate's turn.
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.
If she fails...

This novel is spot-on, 100% wonderful. Have you ever heard of the myth of Hades and Persephone? Instead of yet another reimagined fairy tale, Aimee Carter takes the myth and continues it in the modern day, and the result is both refreshing and exhilarating.

Now, to be perfectly honest, I wasn't quite so sure at first...the first several chapters felt a bit rushed, like I was missing some very important background information about Kate and her mom...and then came Ava with her odd behavior...and the events that follow are ever so slightly bizarre...BUT. Once Henry enters the picture everything seems to start flowing along quite nicely; I was a hundred pages in before I even realized it.

The characters are all very well rounded and unique, especially James and Henry. I do wish we had seen more of James! Henry is just like Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. Handsome, impeccable manners, aloof, alluring, very mysterious...and yet Aimee Carter gives us just enough glimpses of his true character to fall for him exactly when Kate does. Even the main setting of the story, and Henry's residence, Eden Manor, is so lushly described that I feel it could be a character in and of itself. I wish it was a real place that I could visit...while I'm still alive, of course:)

I was ever so slightly disappointed when I realized that the seven tests that Kate has to pass were kind of going on in the background whilst the rest of the story continued - at one point, Henry tells her that she has already passed one, and two others are in progress. It does make more sense that she be tested on the things she is tested on (sorry to be so cryptic, but I don't want to spoil the story for you!) when she is least aware of it, but, from the buildup of the synopsis and the first couple chapters, I was expecting something more dramatic and visual, along the lines of the Herculean tests. However, it was really not that big of a deal.

The cover is, of course, gorgeous, and instantly gives you the right feel of the story. I think the model looks a bit too mature to be Kate, but that's just my personal opinion.

The sequel, Goddess Interrupted, will be published in January 2012, and I can't wait!

I have the feeling we are at the beginning of a new trend here; we've had the vampires, then the angels, and now,  the greek myths. Hooray! Something I actually love. I've spotted several other releases coming soon with this theme. Starcrossed, by Josephine Angelini, is the one I'm most looking forward to. How do you feel about a greek myth trend?

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