Saturday, April 2, 2011

Book Review: The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
Release Date: April 26, 2011
Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Pages: 297
Received: ARC from Net Galley
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars 
Goodreads Page


From Goodreads: 

It's always been just Kate and her mom--and now 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.

If she fails...


I read this book quickly for two reasons. The first is Aimee Carter’s easy writing style. I like the way she writes and I felt transported into the world she created. The whole book had a dreamy, fairy-tale feel to it that was especially reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast.

The second reason is because I kept hoping something exciting would happen on the next page, but it didn’t really. Everything moved along at a very even keel for me. I never felt tension, excitement, or anything like that. Even the climax didn’t deviate from this steady level.

You will be tested

The point of the book is that the main character will experience a series of tests and I was looking forward to seeing how these tests would play out. As in all good tests of this nature, the main character never knows when she is being tested and what she is being tested on. The only problem in this case is neither does the reader (or at least this reader!). 

I kept waiting for the tests to come but then…nothing. There were a few instances where I suspected something might have been a test, but they lacked impact for me. I don’t want to be beaten over the head with the obvious stick, so I do appreciate the author taking a more subtle approach. Still, I think things were taken beyond “subtle” and into “barely there.” Or maybe I’m just dense. It’s been known to happen. 

The nature of the tests, once finally revealed, also didn’t seem to fit very well with the Greek myth aspects. I don’t really see why those tests in particular would be valued by the Greek gods (who weren’t exactly known for their principles) or how they relate to Kate’s eventual job as Hades’ bride.

This is Greek mythology?

One of the reasons I wanted to read this book so badly was because I’m a huge sucker for retellings. I love seeing how an author will twist a classic story while still retaining elements of the original. Part of the fun for me is catching all of the references to the original. 

I am not an expert in Greek mythology, but I do have a passing familiarity with most of the major myths. Even with that, I had a very difficult time identifying many references. There were a few, but there weren’t nearly as many as I would have liked. 

A bunch of the major gods and goddesses go “undercover” for the majority of the story. I liked this idea, but it is again done so subtly that there is very little connection between the characters and their mythological counterparts. I even peeked at the back to see which characters were supposed to represent each god, and I still had a  hard time seeing the connections. I also don’t really think the characters’ personalities matched the personalities of the Greek gods and goddesses very well. Some did, sort of, but very loosely.

Cry me a river

Aside from the tests and the myth references, I wanted to read this book because of Hades. I love the bad boy, and for that can you get any better than Hades, god of the underworld? I think not. And yet, this Hades didn’t even have a shred of bad boy in him. 

Instead of Bad Boy we get Sensitive Boy. Readers who like a male lead who is sad, sensitive, and meek and needs to be taken care of by the female lead will probably like Henry (Hades). If you like Sam from Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver then you’ll probably like Henry. I don’t like that kind of character, much preferring the strong Alpha male, so Henry just bored and frustrated me. 

Both Henry and Kate struck me as bland. They were both so wrapped up in their own melancholy and for me that dragged down the story. I didn’t like either of them because they were both so depressing. The reasons for their melancholy do play an important part in the story, but it served more to distance me from the characters. Their apathy dragged on for far too long, especially Henry’s. 

Kate was better and definitely did develop more drive as the book progressed, but I still had a hard time connecting with her. Her motivation primarily stems from her love of Henry, but because I didn’t love him I had a hard time figuring out why Kate cared so much. It just seemed like she was shifting her dependence from her mother to Henry. Her total absorption into their plights allowed her to put her own life completely on hold to the point that she seemed like a shell of a person to me. She felt like a doormat, always living for everyone but herself. I’m sure this is supposed to make her seem kind and generous, but to me it just made it difficult to respect her.

Where do we go from here?
Extremely mild spoiler:

The ending bothered me. I don’t like how things were resolved between Kate and her mother. I also don’t like the possible love triangle the very last chapter seems to be setting up. To me, that undermines the already unbelievable romance the entire book revolved around.

This is the first book in a projected trilogy, but it ends pretty well on its own.  I think this would have been much better as a standalone book than trying to stretch it into a trilogy. The story feels complete here, though I don’t think it’s fair of me to make any final judgments on this until I’ve read the other books. 

At this point I may read the rest of the trilogy, or I may not. This wasn’t a bad book, but I don’t really feel a burning desire to read more. I feel disappointed because of my expectations, but otherwise I just feel neutral. There is a good foundation here though, and I did like her writing style. While I’m not sure about continuing on with this series, I would probably read another non-Goddess Test book by Aimee Carter.

FYI note: Various characters have sex, though it is never graphic.

 Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key 

Read another review for The Goddess Test at 

This book satisfies the following challenges: 

Looking for more mythological books? You might like: 
The Everworld series by K. A. Applegate


  1. I've been debating on whether or not I should read this one. I've seen a lot of mixed reviews, and I'm not sure if this is the book for me or not. Hmm...

    Anyways, thanks for sharing your thoughts! I'll have to keep thinking about it!

  2. I have this queued to read because I am fascinated by Greek mythology but now I'm kind of worried. I do however like a more sensitive male rather than an Alpha so hopefully that will help.

  3. I wanted to read this book for Hades, but your review makes me wary now.

  4. Hades isn't a bad boy and you couldn't tell which of the characters was which Greek god/goddess? That's definitely not a good sign!

    I've got this one from NetGalley so I'll be reading it myself and am now hoping that I'll fall into the camp that likes it.

  5. Lol, I liked sensitive Henry! But he was kind of too broody and didn't leave much of a mark of character (I think it's the skimmed writing). I agree with your review.

  6. It's the second 2-star review i read about it in a week :o If it goes like this i will not bother to read it.

  7. Great review!
    I've seen a lot of mixed reviews about this one, but I know I'll read it because I can't resist Greek mythology.

  8. Enjoyed reading your review. This is one I've been mulling over too. Never quite sure, but I really don't think I'll enjoy it. I like a bit more action. If you couldn't really tell when the tests were happening, what was the point of it? It's probably one of those books I'll pick up if I see it at bargain price somewhere.

  9. I could totally relate to your feelings about this book! I know what you mean about the lack of mythology. That's one of the reason I didn't enjoy TGT as much as I expected. The characters were bland for me as well. The part that saved the book for me was Kate's relationship with her mother. Even though TGT flopped for me, I'll still be reading the sequel.

  10. Aw, I actually do really like the kind of male characters that are like Henry as opposed to the Alpha males which I find to be a bit too pompous and arrogant sometimes. Still, after reading this, this one certainly isn't at the top of my list to read with everything else going on in my life right now. Thanks for the review!

  11. Well, I received this book from NetGalley AND the long awaited return of the KINDLE TAB has finally happened. So, this one is next up on my reading list after, Hex Hall I don't really understand the gist of this book. After reading your review, I'm a little bit concerned I won't like it, but I'm going to give it a shot. Because NetGalley is becoming so hard to get books from I need to fufill my review obligations or I'll never get any more books from them (since I have such a small blog).

  12. I totally agree with you! The 'tests' alone annoyed me and even the god/goddesses big reveal was more like lighting a match then the fireworks I expected. I think that's what made me like this book less: I expected it to be a LOT different than it was.
    I also agree that the book could've ended like it did, but the love triangle prevails. Hopefully we'll see some fire in the next book.

  13. I agree with your review so much!
    I wish the test had been more epic/dramatic/climatic, something more just in general.
    And I also had a problem with Kate's mom, I sort of felt there was something very cruel about it all (not going to say why, 'cause it's spoilery) but yeah.

  14. Natalie, I did like her writing, and….I think with proper expectations about the tests/gods and if you like Sensitive Guys you’ll probably like it. I hope you do enjoy it if you decide to read it.

    Bookworm1858, I was disappointed by the Greek mythology, though maybe I just didn’t know enough to catch everything? You might really like Henry then. A lot of the book is about their relationship, so hopefully that will make up for it.

    Bookish Hobbit, He’s far from the traditional Hades, that’s for sure. He’s very dreary.

    A Canadian Girl, No, not a good sign at all. It was a decent story that I didn’t think really needed the Greek myth connection. It actually reminded me more of a Beauty and the Beast retelling. I hope you fall into the group that likes it, too.

    Dazzling Mage, Good! I’m glad you liked him :) I can see why lots of people would like him, but he’s just not my type.

    Yiota, I think it really depends on your preferences. Henry was a big drawback for me, but a lot of readers will probably love him. I think if I had gone into it with different expectations I would have enjoyed it more. Here is a glowing review for balance from Fragments of Life

    Lamia, Thank you! I’m really curious to see what you think of it. I love Greek mythology, but I’m far from an expert. I’ll be interested in reading your take on how the myth and gods/goddesses were portrayed.

    The Slowest Bookworm, That’s what I thought about the tests. I was expecting lots of action and peril, but it wasn’t like that at all. Maybe a library read or bargain bin would be the way to go if you like more action like me.

    Honey, Her relationship with her mother had the most emotion and depth to it. I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought there was a lack of mythology. I kept wondering if I was super blind. I think I’m going to look at reviews before reading the sequel.

    Aylee, Oh you’ll probably like Henry then. He’s far from pompous and arrogant. Liking Henry would probably also elevate the book as a whole, too. I hope you do enjoy it when you get a chance to read it.

    Gina, I’m so happy the Kindle button is back! For most books at least. I liked Hex Hall. Hope you enjoy it :) I think I’m the only person on the planet who isn’t in love with Archer. I hope you do enjoy The Goddess Test too. I don’t think it was a bad book at all, I just don’t think it was the right book for me. Good luck with your Net Galley requests. I’m not sure how they work it as I’ve been rejected for books that I’ve seen other bloggers get accepted for even though their blogs are smaller. I’ve also been accepted for books that bigger bloggers than me have been rejected for. I’m not sure why. Maybe they’re trying to anticipate our preferences?

    Laura, Yes! I love your description of a match instead of fireworks. That’s exactly what the tests and identity reveals felt like to me. I’m not sure where things are going to go with that love triangle. I think this is the first love triangle where I don’t really like either guy.

    Alex, Yes, it was all just very flat. I agree with you about her mom. It was like, “You just dedicated your whole life to this thing. Sike!” I’d be all WTH Mom?!

  15. Awww. I'm sad you didn't like the book as much as me Small. :(

    I have to agree with you, bad boys are more my style, too (gotta love the aggressiveness that guys have) and the story had no real tension which made it an easy read, but the mother daughter relationship is what had me turning the pages so fast since it struck a heart string for me.


  16. I had very similar problems with this book, but I was starting to feel like the only one after seeing so many rave reviews! Glad I'm not the only one. I expected the tests to be more obvious too -- like the 12 labors of Hercules or something. And Henry just didn't do it for me. Sigh. I'm usually such a sucker for Greek myth books.

  17. I'm right in the middle of this one now, and you pointed out a lot of the same things I'm feeling currently. Though I do think I like Henry more than you did, I am having some trouble with Kate. I'm just over halfway and she is getting better, but I was not impressed with her the first half with her melancholy and her disbelief of everything that was happening. Still enjoying it despite those flaws though. Fabulous and very thorough review, glad to see you had a similar reaction!

  18. I have this book to review too and I've heard all the same comments that you have from others about what they didn't like about this book. Eeek. I hope it's okay. I love Greek mythology and all that.

    It didn't let me log in again as need-tea. Drat. Maybe it just hates me. Haha.

  19. Interesting. I'm approaching this one with trepidation. I, for one, am a fan of the obvious stick. Beat away. I need a lot of hints or I'm lost forever. Plus a book with even tension? And the fact that I am a little behind on my Greek mythology? Doesn't bode well for me. Hmmm.

  20. I have sooo been looking forward to this one. I like a Sensitive Man, so that shouldn't be bad, but I'm worried that it sounds like it only very loosely ties in to Greek myths.
    Will I like this one? We shall see, we shall see!

  21. *snorts*

    I loved your "Cry me a River" section. An emo Hades? huh?? And of course I couldn't resist the spoiler. *shakes head* No, I probably won't be picking this one up. Your review told me all I need to know.

    Thanks Smalls.

  22. l do feel so many authors try to stretch a book to a trilogy when it doesn't need to be! Shame you didn't enjoy this much =(

  23. I've read mixed reviews of this one. I'm still curious about it but don't have high expectations. I'm sort of glad it's a loose retelling of Greek mythology since I've never been really into it. That being said, I do love the Goddess Girls series.

  24. Casey, Haha, I was thinking the same thing until I started seeing a few more reviews like mine pop up. I was wondering if I was just really dense not recognizing those tests (which may still be true, but at least I’m not the only one!) I usually love Greek myth books too, but I think the problem here is that there really wasn’t all that much Greek myth in them.

    Jenny, I thought Kate improved as the book went on but…eh, I’m not a rah-rah feminist, but I just wanted to slap her and tell her to get some self-respect already. Her disbelief was annoying too. Sure, it might be realistic (would I think, “Oh, yes, you’re Hades. Of course.” No, probably not), but that’s just boring to read about. I’m so interested in seeing your review for it now!

    Krystle, Err, blogger is bothering me lately. It keeps telling me I’m logged out when I try to comment…except I’m not logged out. I wish I knew how to fix it! Thank you for taking the time to comment again. I’ll be super interested in your take on this book. Please, make me laugh :)

    Logan, lol, I can appreciate the obvious stick too. Yeah, the even tension was a big let-down. Maybe if someone was more invested in the characters than I was? Eh, I don’t know. I don’t think it’ll matter that you’re behind on your Greek myths because as far as I can tell the characters had very little in common with the Greek gods and the tests are based on something very NOT Greek myth.

    Madigan, It does tie very, very loosely to Greek myths but if you like the Sensitive Man then you’ll probably enjoy The Goddess Test a lot more than I did.

    Missie, Ha, yeah, way emo. WAAAAAAAYY emo. Like, depressed for centuries kind of emo.

    Books for Company, Yes, I really wish they wouldn't do that. There's nothing wrong with a good, solid standalone. In fact, I'm almost more likely to pick one of them up than get involved in another series.

    Alison, Aw, the GG series is so cute! But they have so much more Greek myth than this one. You'll be totally fine. The level of myth is not really there much at all.

  25. I've heard about this book already, though your review goes a little deeper. I still want to give it a shot, but it might not be as high on my list. Good review!

  26. Your paragraph on Sensitive Boy is exactly how I felt! It describes my feelings exactly. Sam is my absolute least favorite hero. I've always said I need a guy who'll be there to fight for me or by me, not one I have to protect and cheer up. Not something I'd expect from Hades, but I know a lot of people liked him.

  27. Book Geek, I’ve seen mixed reviews, so hopefully you’ll fall on the side that loves it :)

    Peep, I so agree about Sam. He bugged me like crazy. I was surprised at Hades (I mean, Hades of all characters!) would be made like that. It was strange and disappointing.


It's all about friendly conversation here at Small Review :) I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Be sure to check back again because I do make every effort to reply to your comments here.

Because I am absolutely terrible about following through with blog awards, I can't in good conscience accept any more. Thank you very much for thinking of me though!

Spam WILL be deleted. Attacks on myself or other comments WILL be deleted.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...