Series: Goddess Test #1
Published by HarlequinTeen on April 19th 2011
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 293 (Paperback)
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Every girl who had taken the test has died.
Now 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 that 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...
I requested this galley because, after reading the blurb, I immediately decided that the concept was awesome and that this book would be made of win. I tried to rationalize with myself that it might not be the fantastic story I was imagining, but it still had to be good, right? RIGHT?
Of course the concept of Vampire has already been taken, murdered, chopped into little pieces, jellified and poured into a modern, PC mould of super coolness.
And this is where to entire book falls apart. Which is extremely sad because the concept was so awesome. There was potential for REAL characters, great dialogue, witty mythology-based banter, awkward circumstances and believable chemistry.
Mythology: The Greek gods and goddesses, like normal people except with immortality and individual powers. They torment, rape or save mortals and generally act insane before retiring for the evening to get drunk and partake in debauchery.
TGT: The gods and goddesses are no longer blood relatives and they’re no longer Greek. They’re equal opportunity dieties. They don’t stand for any immoral shenanigans and consider human life valid.
Mythology: Hades is a mostly okay god having only raped a few mortals and embroiled in a small case of kidnap which may or may not have given Persephone the world’s first case of Stockholm Syndrome. He is the guardian to the Underworld which is a miserable place according to every spirit spoken to, the few retrieved or those couple who’ve bravely entered alive and lived to tell the tale. DON’T try to mess with or remove spirits from this horrible place. It seriously pisses Hades off though he has been known to return a spirit or two because he’s a generally alright God. He’s the eldest of his three brothers. He has an awesome helm of invisibility and a few other useful trinkets and also a three-headed dog.
TGT: Hades is a brooding, twenty-two year old (looking) VIRGIN immortal, with a ONE headed dog named Cerebrus and none of the awesome or LACK OF VIRGINITY. His only powers seem to be an incredible ability to angst up a room and all the romantic tact of a wet fish with a bad case of herpes (WHO IS A VIRGIN!) He also follows some preset rules (if gods don’t make the rules then who does?) and is generally a pussywhipped virgin!
Oh, how the mighty have fallen…
I could go on, but I think it’s enough that the original mythology which was this book’s biggest drawcard, has been destroyed and along with it, the possibility of a really great story. Because, after all, you can’t proudly base your story so heavily on Greek mythology and then turn it into something so very uncomfortably western and Christian based.
The characters weren’t all bad. Kate was extremely exasperating in the beginning of this novel. She, for good reason, believes that Hades has the ability to take life and death right up until she’s in his beautiful mansion and has seen all the proof. Then she refuses to believe any of it and insist he’s crazy.
The biggest problem is that when you’re reading a story about being tested to become a god or goddess, you’re kind of expecting the trial to be somewhat hard. You know, stealing the Girdle of Hippolyte or DESTROY A FREAKIN’ HYDRA!!! It’s immortality, dude. You can’t just go giving that shit away.
One day I would like to discuss why a man gets twelve tests that require strength, skill, cunning and intelligence; and a woman gets seven tests requiring morality and humility. There seems to be an underlying message there for those people who want to draw conclusions.
And that’s my final problem with this story. It’s not that the writing is necessarily bad or that all that characters are bad. Most of them are fine and this book is actually readable. My problem is the massive copouts left, right and centre.
Being coerced into a deal to save your mother’s life should involve maybe a few more hardships than getting to wear pretty dresses, living in a rich mansion and falling in love with a super sexy God. Tests for immortality should be a little more difficult than going an afternoon without food and letting your friends have the clothes that you didn’t want anyway.
Finally, I felt the entire ending of this story was the biggest copout of all.
It’s been a sad trend in YA lit that everything always has to be hunky-dory perfect with a kickass outfit to boot. I was really hoping this book would be something special and unique. The Goddess Test didn’t pass its final grade.
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