The Goddess Test
Author: Aimée Carter
Release: April 19th 2011
Genre: Mythology, Romance, YA
#1 in the Goddess Test trilogy
Sequels: Goddess Interrupted (#2), The Goddess Inheritance (#3)
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...
Wow. I'm thoroughly impressed. And not in a good way.
What did I even expect, though? I knew full well going into this not to expect too much. And yet, I still thought maybe the book would prove me wrong... it didn't.
This is a painful, fugly mess. Chaos. I honestly don't know what went wrong, but something did, big time. Jeez, where do I even begin? (Warning: lots of swearing ahead)
Let's start with a lot of feminist issues I had with this book. Kate and Henry have sex in this novel. And the morning after, Henry finds out Kate has been poisoned and he storms out angrily, trying to find out who did that. And Kate thinks she is the reason for that. I quote: “Was he mad at me because I'd made him sleep with me and subsequently failed because of it? (...) Was he mad because I said I'd loved him?”
Now, ladies, you should not ever think like that. Unless you know full well you just raped someone, then you should never degrade yourself like that. Yet Kate does this the whole time. And not only that, after her sexual intercourse, there comes this awesome quote on top of that: “This was supposed to be a big deal; I was supposed to feel upset or dirty, or at the very least confused about what to feel about the whole thing. But at that point, I was far more concerned about Henry than I was myself.” No. Fuck no. Again, you should never feel ashamed for embracing your sexuality. Never. It's okay to have sex. And I just hate that this book sent absolutely the wrong messages out. Kate was submissive to Henry the whole time and the one time, the one fucking time she stood up to him and confronted him about giving her the damn answers already, he simply put her off saying "it's for her own good" and she'll get the answers "soon." Kate accepts this and promptly goes back to obeying him like a perfect little lapdog.
And now add to that whole debacle the fact that Henry and Kate are basically party poopers. The only parties they'll never crash are their very own pity parties, because they constantly blame themselves for literally everything. Should a plate fall off the table out of fucking nowhere, it is Kate's fault. Should the river stop flowing, it is Henry's fault. They constantly took blame for the most absurd things, while the other party was trying to convince them that no, they're not at fault here, they didn't do anything. It was a merry-go-round with them. I couldn't go 10 pages without something happening and one or the other blaming themselves for it. Is this to show me how absolutely selfless these two are? How caring? Hell, it just annoyed the living crap out of me.
Ah, and let's not forget how rocky the start was. So Kate arrives in this nowhere town, and she hasn't been there for two fucking weeks when there's already four guys hovering around being hella creeps. That thing with Ava? What. the. heck? I thought it was a bad joke, it was ridiculous. Okay, so she drags Kate out into the woods, then decides to strip down and go for a nice, leisurely swim? But then she cracks open her skull and ooops, she's suddenly dead! Bummer. And Kate then promptly jumps in to save her, even though she has a phobia of water, but apparently it's not a big deal because water doesn't terrify her that much. Or so it seemed. If some stalker creep guy came out of the bushes after I discovered the bitch is dead, and then went on to heal said bitch after I agreed to stay with him 6 months of every year for the rest of my life, I'd run screaming. Get to the next police station, arrest him, commit him, 'cause GIRL HE'S BONKERS. Batshit crazy. But oh no, Kate thinks that's a perfectly normal request in exchange for bringing a girl back from the dead who has just tried to leave her in the forest.
Oh and believe me, it does not end there. I don't think Kate is completely sane, to be honest. Not only does she agree to go stay with some stranger (!!!) for half of her remaining life, she then proceeds to suffer Stockholm syndrome. All the while I was sitting here, getting more exasperated by the hour and tearing my hair out over how stupid a person can be. Surely it cannot be allowed to be this freaking dense.
Needless to say, the characters were simply horrendous. Henry a.k.a. Hades, perfect, swoon-worthy virgin God who was a cookie cutter of mysterious and brooding, because he's lost the love of his life, just with an additional sprinkle of creep on top. Kate was not only a Mary Sue, exceptionally beautiful, smart, talented and blah, but she was also a little mean bitch. She accuses her "best friend", the bitch who tried to abandon her in the forest and has died, you know? That's her "best friend" now. Well, anyhow, she accuses her of the most outrageous things and almost downright insults her. However, surprisingly, while Kate was an imbecile that annoyed the shit out of me, I didn't hate her. She didn't irritate me nearly as much as, say, Celaena from Throne of Glass did. So I guess that's good, huh? I don't have to mention any other characters because all of them, all of them with absolutely no exception, were cardboard cutouts with no personalities or voices of their own. Characterization is definitely not something that Carter has mastered yet.
The structure was disastrous. It was ridiculous. It was... what was it? I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I think if I simply view this book as huge, massive joke, then maybe it wouldn't be so bad, but otherwise... nothing happened. I shit you not, this is 293 pages of nothing. Especially the end was so anticlimactic, and it tried to desperately not to be, it was just immensely sad. I couldn't help but pity its wholly predictable and shallow ending.
I won't even say anything about how Carter has butchered, quartered and keelhauled Greek mythology here. Nope, not wasting my breath on that.
Writing was okay, though. I think writing is the only thing about this book that didn't make me grind my teeth. Nothing spectacular in that department, but it wasn't exactly bad, either. It worked for the most part.
I would not recommend this. If you feel really masochistic, then maybe this is just the right thing for you, but otherwise, I highly advise you to steer clear of this one.