Synopsis :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 that 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.
With her mother’s impending death Kate has lost all hope. Until an unfortunate chain of events leads Kate to Henry, the resident of the mysterious Eden Manor and Hades himself.
How amazing does this plot sound?
I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of YA novels based in or around mythology, unfortunately, The Goddess Test left me extremely disappointed.
Kate Winters agrees to spend the winter with Henry (Hades) in his manor, in exchange for more time with her mother. Therefore the majority of the novel takes place inside the mansion walls. At first, I would think such an insular environment wouldn’t work but It was done pretty well Illuminate so I digressed.
However, I found the setting to be claustrophobic and it did little to alleviate the characters who felt like little more than words on paper. Henry (Hades) is your very average brooding male protagonist his characterization was like a checklist of how brooding male protagonist are supposed to act. Secretive? Check. Hot and Cold attitude? Check Hot/ Beautiful? Check. I struggled to find anything original about him.
Maybe it’s because this novel is called The Goddess Test that you would think some actual testing would be happening but the plot is so subtle that it is almost non-existent. I’m pretty sure all Kate actually does is wear pretty dresses and ask questions.
As a reader we don’t actually get to experience things, it’s more like we are told everything and the few times we are actually let into the action it involves dropping an Aesop Anvilwhich leads to another frustration.
Initially, I liked Kate and her passion for her mother but as the novel progressed she started to lose me. Henry and everyone is constantly telling Kate that he life is in danger, yet she gets mad when Henry tells her not to wear/eat a mysterious Christmas present?
Apart from Kate’s mission to passing the test, We literally know nothing about Kate. I get that she has been busy her caring for her sick mother, but she has no ambitions or hobbies or anything that we know of.
I felt like this book was filled with a lot of political correctness. The novel watered down Greek mythology to explain away things like kidnapping, incest, jealousy, and rage. What I found most bothersome was the subtle slut-shaming. Over and Over again it seemed like female characters were punished for (as the book puts it) having lustful thoughts or trying to defend themselves.
In a little under 300 pages, the plot and characters didn’t have room to develop. The exposition of the story goes by so quickly that when tragic events take place it’s hard to care because the readers don’t really know the characters.
In the end, I just didn’t care about the characters and the story didn’t come off the page. The book just frustrated me. It had a few plot twist but they came off as annoying instead of shocking. The characters felt paper thin and in the end, I wasn’t really sure what I had read. The books wraps up nice enough that it could very well stand alone and stand-alone on my shelf it will.
*Thanks to Susan from Wastepaper Prosefor this copy !
1/2 of the blogging duo at Books and Sensibility, I have been blogging about and reviewing books since 2011. I read any and every genre, here on the blog I mostly review Fantasy, Adult Fiction, and Young Adult with a focus on audiobooks.