The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

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The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Loralei Haylock
Reviewed by Loralei Haylock
Summary: An original take on the Paranormal Romance genre. A well paced, atmospheric read with interesting and colourful characters. A solid introduction to a series that promises bigger and better things in future instalments.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 304 Date: September 2011
Publisher: Mira Ink
ISBN: 978-1848450400

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When Kate's mother makes a dying wish to return to her home town, Eden, Kate drops what's left of her life and goes with her. She doesn't want to make friends – she's here for her mum and nothing else – so she's not very interested when popular girl Ava, with her jock boyfriend Dylan, invites her to a party.

But against her better nature, Kate goes, and sees something that changes everything. Henry. Dark, mysterious Henry, who seems to be able to bring people back to life. Kate knows such things are impossible, but the idea infects her – for what if Henry could save her mother?

When Kate enters into an agreement with Henry to save someone's life, she doesn't realise she's agreeing to marry him. Not only that, Kate has to pass seven tests to qualify for marriage, and the girls who have tried before her have all failed – or died. But with Henry keeping her mother alive for as long as Kate is in the running, Kate has no option but to succeed. She isn't ready to say goodbye to her mother yet.

This is one of those books where you really shouldn't look at the last few pages – a very bad habit of mine – as I rather spoiled the punchline for myself. Once I knew what the glossary at the back of the book told me, the whole affair was a tad on the predictable side. But that may also be due to my fairly broad knowledge of Greek Mythology.

Despite this, I really enjoyed reading The Goddess Test. It's a nice, original twist on the Paranormal Romance genre, and Kate as a main character was flawed and relatable. Her back story was tragic, but though she had good cause to mope, she stayed true to her morals and defended what she thought was the right thing to do with an admirable strength.

Yes, her logic on what was moral and right was a little skewed – it seemed for a long time that she was doing everything she did for other people, not in a selfless sort of way, but rather a selfish one: competing for Henry just to keep other people alive so she didn't have to live with the guilt. But that all made sense when paired with the fact that her mother was dying and as she started to develop and grow throughout her time at Eden manor, she became a rounded, interesting character – the sort you would like to read a series about.

I wasn't overly fond of Henry as a love interest. There were elements of his personality that were interesting, but Carter did play the old 'my heroine is so fantastic but she's the only one who can't see it' card to explain why he started to fall in love with her. I wouldn't say it was rushed – they certainly took their time getting to anywhere near a relationship, but the whole thing seemed a bit empty, especially when combined with the not so shocking surprise reveal at the end.

That said, I stand by what I said about really enjoying the book. It was a little too depressing at first to be a light read, but it was well paced, atmospheric and featured some interesting and colourful characters. It's one of those stories where I think, now the set up has been got out of the way, books two and three of the trilogy will be bigger and better. I will certainly be keeping an eye on the bookshelves for book number two Goddess Interrupted.

My thanks to the publishers for sending a copy. We also have a review of Carter's Simon Thorn and the Wolf's Den.

Fans of re-imaginings and retellings of Myths and legends should check out Bookbag's Top Ten Retellings of Myths, Legends and Fairy Tales list.

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