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 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.
I am a fan of retellings, and there have been many Greek mythology retellings that I have read and enjoyed. There are a lot of stories in those, but the best one romance-wise, is the Hades-Persephone myth. I love how authors come up with new variations for the story, something that evokes a part of The Beauty and the Beast, or similar. I definitely liked the direction Carter went with this myth – of Persephone leaving her place and now Hades (Henry in this modern times) searching for someone to replace her as the Queen of the Underworld. Kate, who has been lonely all her life, finds a kindred soul in Henry but to save him, she has to pass a series of tests designed to prove her worthiness as an immortal.
While the story calls itself The Goddess Test, we actually don’t know the nature of the tests until the end of the story, and even then the design of the tests stumped me as they had more to do Biblical mythology than Greek. And similarly, I also found that I couldn’t really find the Olympians in the characters they were meant to be in the book. Henry is a broody guy – okay, I have actually seen that version of Hades – but he seemed so powerless, I guess, considering he rules the Underworld? Calliope – I had her pegged from the start as someone suspicious but her identity doesn’t really match up with the myth, or more appropriately, the object of her affection doesn’t match up. Also, the whole set-up of the story, while whisked away for the ultimate twist in the end, still left a lot of confusing doubts in my mind.
Now, for any Hades-Persephone myth, the romance is sort of like a prerequisite, and Henry and Kate seem convincing enough, for now. Honestly, the whole test kind of messed with my head, too, so I am not sure what exactly was real from his part. James also looks like he may cause a future love triangle, which I am so not interested in seeing in this story. In any case, it was a good start, but I hope for better from the sequels.