On behalf of all the Greek gods everywhere, I protests!
And if I were Hades, I would whistle up my three-headed dog, leap into my chariot, scream across the River Styx and come and smite Aimee Carter for daring to malign my name by association with Henry (Henry!!!), so-called hero of this book.
The book in question?
The Goddess Test (Goodreads)
Find the positives.
Ho-hum . . . Rubs chin . . .
Ah! Light bulb moment.
Kate, the heroine, is a devoted nurse to her dying mother. Yes, we'll go with that. But she is also so guilt-ridden as to make her pathetic. Almost as pathetic as the love interest Henry, AKA Hades. But we will get on to him in a minute.
So back to Kate. Let me explain: If a so-called friend (Ava) invites you to a party, drives you into the bush to said party, only for you to discover that it's all a lie - a ploy to get you on your own so the so-called friend can abandon you in the wilds - would you feel responsible/guilty when said friend cracks her head open on a rock and dies? No, of course not. No normal person would.
But Kate now, she's different. I mean, if she hadn't moved to Eden, hadn't met Ava, hadn't spoken once in passing to Ava's boyfriend, hadn't agreed to accept the party invitation, then Ava would never have needed to dump her in the first place, and then Ava would never have cracked her head open on the rock and died. So it's all Kate's fault. Logical, right?
Wrong. But that doesn't stop Kate from trading away half her life to Henry in-exchange for resuscitating Ava.
Yes, Kate and Henry are relieving the Hades and Persephone story, but with a modern-day twist.
Now I'm all for kindness and doing a good turn, but really, this is just ridiculous. And it didn't stop there. Kate carries such a burden of guilt, I swear she begrudges herself the oxygen she breaths. I honestly can't remember when last I found a heroine to be so pathetic.
Pathetic, that word again.
And then there's Henry. *Eye Roll* I won't debase Hades again by referring to him in the same breath as his namesake Henry. Just know that Hades was not - and never will be - a hot teenage immortal. But here in The Goddess Test, our Henry is gorgeous (of course), tortured (obviously) and only about eighteen years old. (Does the name Edward Cullen ring any bells?) He is also pathetic.
I think Carter was trying to put the pants on the wimpy Kate by making her the (supposedly) tough one, the seducer of the god, which is why she made Henry so diffident and, dare I say it, so useless. As a ploy, it was an epic fail.
Which brings me to the love.
There are some authors who know how to write love (Katie McGarry and Stephenie Meyer spring to mind) They can take the simplest moments and create sizzling romance out of them. Carter, I'm afraid, isn't one of those authors. Not once did my heartstrings tug, not once did I feel the slightest tingle, or the vaguest flutter of butterfly wings. The love in this book is about as dead as the folk living in Hades' Underworld.
And speaking of the Underworld, what about the other Greek gods?
Yes, they're all represented here. Ah, another positive! I have to give Aimee Carter credit for an interesting twist at the end of the book. But, yet again, if you showed Zeus, or Poseidon, or Athene their supposed look-a-likes in The Goddess Test, they would, in Kate's words, 'turn you into a pile of ash'. Carter's gods are about as unbelievable and as unimpressive as a photocopied banknote.
So, I think you can gather that I didn't go for The Goddess Test in a big way, and I definitely won't be reading the sequel, even though I have it sitting on my bookshelf. I had my daughters in mind when I bought these books, but knowing their tastes, I think I'll just frogmarch these two down to the book exchange.
Don't ask. We in the southern hemisphere have a cosmic phenomenon called The Coal Sack, (a dark patch of sky near the Southern Cross), so named for the total lack of observable stars. Maybe that would be my rating . . . one miserable coal sack.
I know many of you will disagree with my review. Please don't be shy to comment and tell me why you think I've got it all wrong.