So how could we possibly go wrong with a book about a girl who must face a series of challenges administered by the all-powerful bastards themselves to win her immortality? It'd be like a teenage version of the Labors of Hercules, right?
Wrong. So, so wrong. This isn't like the Labors of Hercules, this is Twilight with Greek gods instead of vampires. If you ever wondered what would happen if Twilight borrowed Wicked Lovely's concept and then took everything good out of that and replaced it with more Twilight and tortured Greek gods (in name only), well, HURRAY, you don't have to wonder anymore, because what would happen is The Goddess Test.
That is NOT a good thing. And yes, this is gonna be a long one. Beware unmarked spoilers.
Let's start with something easy, though. Like the plot. The idea is that Hades (who in this book has taken on the significantly less intimidating moniker of Henry) has been without a queen so long that his department has started under-performing, so "the Council" (a weirdly unnecessary euphemism for "the Olympians") decrees that he needs to find a co-ruler/wife and get his shit together yesterday, or they're going to let Hermes replace him. I shit you not.
Anyway, with the help of his BFF Demeter (yeah, they're buds, and believe me, we'll get to that) Hades Henry has spent like a century "interviewing" random girls for the position of wife/Queen of the Underworld. Unfortunately, he can't just close his eyes and point, there are rules, okay. She has to a) willingly give up half a year to prepare for the role and face a series of seven tests, administered by the Olympians Council, and b) agree to spend at least the winter months of every year for the rest of her immortal life ruling the Underworld by Henry's side.
If he doesn't find a suitable bride by the deadline, Henry will lose his job, and since that is literally the reason he exists, he'll eventually lose his life as well. The trouble is that someone doesn't want Henry to succeed, and has been stealthily dispatching all the candidates who don't quit or go insane. This makes Henry sadface and emo, and in our prologue - taking place just after the death of yet another potential queen - he's given up and resigned himself to failure. Luckily for him, Demeter is not so easily put out, and she convinces him to let her use one last ~mysterious~ trick up her sleeve to find Henry another girl. Cut to twenty years later, and enter our heroine, Kate, the final candidate and Henry's last hope.
Like I said, it's an awesome idea, and we loved it when it was Wicked Lovely. Unfortunately, everything WL did right, The Goddess Test does wrong. The reasoning Carter uses to get Kate to accept Henry's offer in the first place rings false, and the ruse the Olympians concoct to set the whole thing in motion is...elaborate at best, a cop-out at worst. Plus, there's not a whole lot of action. The flap summary touts "seven tests" that Kate must pass, but the adventure and wit and Herculean challenges I was expecting to read about were a no-show...
Read more at You're Killing.Us