Title: The Goddess Test
Author: Aimee Carter
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Released: April 2011
Page #: 304
Source: ebook from NetGalley
Summary from Barnes and Noble:
"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."
First Lines: (from the galley, so final copy subject to change)
"'How did it happen this time?'
Henry tensed at the sound of her voice, and he tore his eyes away from the lifeless body on the bed long enough to look at her."
I am a sucker for all reworked stories - or modern versions of ancient tales. That is exactly what this story is, but it comes with a few more twists. It's more like a modern story about gods and goddesses in our current world - and taking place after events in some of the stories. So cool!
This is the story of Kate who has moved from NYC to take care of her dying mother. She starts at a new school and meets a few people who change the course of her life. A huge turning point is where she has to bargain for the life of a classmate with someone who can save her. Unfortunately, she bargains with her own life.
Effectively, this is the story of Hades and Persephone reworked. It's post-Persephone, so Hades has been searching for a new partner to help him rule the Underworld. There's a lot of the Greek stories, but it's also fairly hidden in the characters you meet. You aren't told who people are until the end of the story - and I was shocked. I wasn't expecting some of the characters to be that important! Very cool thing to do. Though... they were a bit more human-like than I recall in the original Greek stories.
I was really rooting for Kate. She gives off the sort of sadness of someone constantly dealing with death. The sickness of her mother has shaped her personality and how she deals with things. But because of this, she eagerly accepts deals to help her and the people she loves. While she starts out a little sad... I ended up really getting excited about how things turned out.
There's a little romance in this story, but it's not at all the main theme. It actually is specifically the opposite. Kate isn't interested in guys and she's not interested in doing anything but saving her mother. But that base for a relationship helps it grow from friendship. It seemed a little more organic to me. I really liked that.
I think anyone who loves stories about gods and goddesses will really get into this book. Especially if you love paranormal romance as well. It's a great story and I definitely recommend it. As far as I can tell, this is the author's first book. It was wonderful and I cannot wait for more from her. The second book is set to be released next spring - I will definitely be in line for that!
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