The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Honestly, this novel was a little disappointing. I have been on a bit of a YA mythology binge lately, and I have been astonished again and again by the original and beautiful stories I have been reading. The Goddess Test was a cute enough story, but there was nothing unique about it.
Books based on mythology are hard to get right - you need the perfect balance of traditional mythology aspects and new, modern twists. This novel, for me, felt like a lukewarm version of the original mythology, just set in modern times and without the really hardcore parts (like, you know, the ancient Greeks penchant for murder and deception). Even putting aside the mythology relation, I felt like I had read this story before in other YA novels. It had some pretty obvious tropes and all the 'twists' were predictable. Only one really shocked me, and that was who killed the previous girls.
I found parts of this novel very unrealistic. Like how easily Kate accepted that Henry's offer was genuine when he first made it. What 18-year-old reads the tale of Persephone after a strange man asks her to, brings it up with her high school friends, and then proceeds to believes it's real? I needed a little less credulity from Kate to make her more realistic.
I think that Carter has treated this novel as a prologue of sorts to the rest of series. Some of the characters felt unnecessary to the plot, and I hope she has just introduced them now for them to become more relevant later on. Characters like Ella, Irene, Walter, and Dylan seemed to have no purpose other than to fill out the mythology aspect of the plot (which is disappointing, as Ella and Irene are based on my favourite Greek goddesses). There were enough twists and turns in this novel to keep me reading, but if the second novel continues to feel like a prologue, I will be very disappointed.
Henry and Kate's romance was well done, as Carter did not try to force them into deep love moments after meeting. They started as friends, and despite eventually making their relationship romantic (not a spoiler, if you didn't see that coming you didn't read the blurb), she never makes them confess their undying love for each other. I particularly enjoyed the ending of this novel for that reason. While we are on it, I will be reading the second novel almost entirely because of the ending.
Overall, this was an average rendition of the traditional Greek tales, with interesting characters and a cute romance. I'd recommend it to anyone who wants a quick and easy read with a fantasy bent, but definitely not to die-hard Greek mythology fans.
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