The Goddess Test
Goddess Test #1
Written: Aimée Carter
Published: April 26, 2011
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Obtained via: NetGalley
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.
I had a long statement here before about how much I’ve always loved the Persephone myth, how I always thought something was missing, that I believed that Persephone might have been almost grateful for the things her kidnapping allowed her to become.
Then I realized that’s not what this book is about, so my review shouldn’t be, either. This book wasn’t the way that I had envisioned a retelling of this mythology – but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have merit in its own right.
In The Goddess Test, the original Persephone became Queen of the Underworld due to a political alliance, not through a kidnapping. Her husband loved her to distraction, but she did not return his favor. She loved a human, and gave up her status and power to follow him into death itself.
Now, the Underworld has been without a Queen for many years. Girls have been tested repeatedly, but all have failed – been murdered, actually, and the murderer has never been found. Now, in the last few years before a deadline that would force him to give up his life and his place, Hades has found his last chance: Kate.
Not only does she have to survive the testing, but she also has to be accepted by the other gods. Neither of these is an easy task. Worse, to Kate’s mind… What’s the point of becoming immortal if you’re forced to marry a guy who could never love you, because he’s put the memory of his former wife on a pedestal higher than any girl could ever reach?
This book is the ultimate in teenage wish fulfillment – which is good, because it’s a young adult novel. Ordinary girl Kate, who’s mother is dying and who hasn’t had a real friend in years, is snatched out of the mundane and given everything she could ever want. Her mother’s cancer is held back by a promise from Hades. A girl who started out hating her is suddenly her best friend. Two different gorgeous boys are vying for her favor. She’s also given a beautiful room, servants to dress her, all the food she could want, and a closet full of clothing from every time period known to man. Oh, and she also has the chance to become immortal: a goddess, with powers beyond imagining.
What teenage girl wouldn’t want all of that?
Persephone’s myth is a perfect story to be adapted for teen readers: forbidden love, a rich and powerful guy, the change in perception from girl to woman. What teenage girl wouldn’t swoon at that? It’s a classic. Even so, there’s always a chance that it could be handled badly.
I have to admit, though, that in this case it was handled very well. Even if the adult in me was rolling her eyes at the obvious wish-fulfillment, the teenage girl I still remember was fascinated by the tale. Yes, sometimes it even gets to me: clothes, food, friends, immortality (read: eternal youth and beauty), and the true love of an honestly decent guy. Now that I think about it, maybe even the adult woman in me had more fun with this than she’d care to admit.
If you’re a Greek mythology fan, especially if you like Persephone’s tale, and if you don’t mind a bit of teenage angst, then you should give The Goddess Test a try.