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Crimson Romance
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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

Publisher:  Harlequin Teen
Pages:  304

(Released:  April, 19, 2011)

From the Cover:

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. 

Kate would do anything she could for her mother including moving from her beloved New York City to some no name town in Michigan. If only it bought her mother a few more days, if only it made her happy to see her childhood home once more. Kate would even promise to stay in this place, even after her death, if only it would make her mother smile. And it does, it seems to squeeze a little more life into her mother's eyes, if only temporarily.

But, the school sucks. Kate excels at not making friends, ties are the last thing she needs in her life. Only one boy can't seem the hint, and he becomes important in her life. James turns out to be the friend who'll comfort her when her mother takes a sudden turn for the worse.

Before she knows it, others are intruding into her solitary existence. Where it's only been her mother before, others seep into her life. When Ava invites her to a party, she has little choice but to go. But, Ava isn't trying to be her friend, she's trying to keep Kate from drawing the attention away from herself. Ava plans to ditch her in the middle of nowhere. But, Ava's plans go awry when instead of ditching Kate, she hits her head and dies, leaving Kate with little hope and alone, until Henry finds them. With a single thought, Ava is whole. Now the question remains, would he be able to do the same thing for Kate's mother?

When fall arrives, it's time for Kate to fulfill the bargain she made for Ava's life. She must go to Henry and remain with him until spring's arrival. If she refuses, Ava's life will be forfeited.

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter is a wonderful take on the mythology surrounding Hades and Persephone. In this reality, Hades released Persephone from the underworld because she fell in love with a mortal. His love for her goes unmatched, and for a hundred years, the Gods try and fail to find her replacement. Someone is killing any mortal woman who might become Henry's mate and Queen, and he doesn't know why. But, Henry has vowed to end his own existence, to fade into the unknown, before another mortal woman can meet her end. His sister-Goddess, Diana, begs him not to fade, to give her one more chance to find him his match, and though he is dishearten, he agrees. There is only one possible way left. Into his life walks Kate, with a mother dying of cancer, without anyone else, as wanting as he is. What he sees in her eyes is someone who could pass the tests, become his mate, rule at his side, and possibly, take Persephone's place. She'll have to meet the Gods's tests, pass them all, to become a Goddess, immortal, and Henry/Hades's mate.

The Goddess Test was an excellent YA read, fast paced, drawing the reader deeper into the mythology of the story. I want to encourage all mythology lovers and YA lovers to pick this book up, the retelling is fantastic! The heroine, Kate, is a little older than the average at 18, but the story deals with the death of Persephone (the death of love), the death of Kate's mother (loss of a parent), and finding love (there is a brief sex scene when Henry and Kate fall under a spell). That leads to the 13 and over crowd, but other than these few brief scenes, it is an appropriate read for all ages, so, I'll leave it to a higher authority, lol. I love how the author develops her version of the story between Hades and Persephone. [If you know the story of Hades and Persephone, Hades abducted Persephone (some say willingly) and carried her off to the underworld. There, even though she knew better than to eat any underworld food or drink, she consumes six pomegranates (some say seeds, some say she was starved, some say again willingly). Demeter, Persephone's mother, becomes enraged and seeks Zeus's decree. He rules since Persephone ate six pomegranates, she would spend six months in the underworld, six months with her mother.] In Ms. Carter's world (as in the mythology) Henry/Hades truly loved Persephone, but here's the twist. Hades released Persephone from her obligatory underworld stay when he can't find a way to make her happy. She fell in love with a mortal, but to love a mortal, she has to become a mortal which means her eventual death. Henry cannot reign in the underworld unassisted, he must have a mate. Kate is the only likely candidate, and only if she survives where the others have not.

Aimee Carter creates a world where anything is possible, where Kate remains in the underworld for six months of the year, then released to the mortal world for the remaining six. Just like Persephone, she'll be in contact with other mortals, and we have yet to see where this will be lead in the story. She becomes attached to the people who make up her new world, and falls under the gorgeous Henry's spell. But, as she slips further into Henry's world and love, can he let her take Persephone's place in his heart? Can he forget a dead love to find a new one, living and breathing, wanting his love in return? Can Kate survive the true test of love? Will she remain Henry's or fall in love with a mortal as Persephone had? I fell in love with the characters in this story, one by one the Gods are revealed to be the people who make up Kate's new world, the Olympians. Personally, I don't look for an exact retelling of the mythos, that would be boring, and as I am such as lover of the mythos, I already know those stories. I want something new, someone else's take or possibilities, and that's what you'll find in The Goddess Test, an original story full of possibilities. To all lovers of mythology, this is an excellent addition to the growing genre. YA lovers will want to give this one a try, it's a most excellent retelling. Paranormal romances lovers will find an endearing tale of love lost and found. The Goddess Test is another to add to the growing list of must reads. The next in the series, Goddess Interrupted, will follow in January 2012.

From the Cover:

Kate Winters has won immortality.

But if she wants a life in the Underworld with Henry, she'll have to fight for it.

Becoming immortal wasn't supposed to be the easy part. Though Kate is about to be crowned Queen of the Underworld, she's as isolated as ever. And despite her growing love for Henry, ruler of the Underworld, he's becoming ever more distant and secretive. Then, in the midst of Kate's coronation, Henry is abducted by the only being powerful enough to kill him: the King of the Titans.

As the other gods prepare for a war that could end them all, it is up to Kate to save Henry from the depths of Tartarus. But in order to navigate the endless caverns of the Underworld, Kate must enlist the help of the one person who is the greatest threat to her future.

Henry's first wife, Persephone.

OMG!!!  I so want to read this!!!

I received my copy for review from NetGalley and the publisher, Harlequin Teen. All opinions expressed are my own.


Anna said...

Great review Dottie!

This book took me by surprise. I loved it, a lot more than I thought I would. Can't wait to read the next book. :)

Unknown said...

Hi Anna!

I absolutely loved this book! When I first requested it, I thought it looked interesting. But, then I started reading the book, at the first chapter kind of threw me. As I continued, I found myself enthralled, couldn't put the book down! Now, I'm waiting for the second book, the first exceeded my expectations. Can't wait to take a peek!

Thanks Anna!

Dottie :)

Teddyree said...

Great review, I enjoyed this one too and can't wait to see where the author takes it next!

Blodeuedd said...

I always did love Hades. But he is alays portrayed in such a bad way, good to hear it is better here

Unknown said...

Hi Teddyree!

I loved this book, it was different than I expected, and in a good way! So glad I picked it up! I'll be picking up the next too!

Dottie :)

Unknown said...

Hi B!

I you like Hades, you'll love this book. We see some of his cold distance he has to keep between him and the outside world, but when we we see inside, he's a completely different person/God. It wasn't what I was expecting, and it was sooo good!

Dottie :)

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