The whole storyline centered on Kate's mother, her illness, their relationship, her impending death and Kate’s reactions to that was extremely well-written. I absolutely identified with Kate’s emotions and her need to bargain, and I found that it was entirely believable. A lot of the book is dedicated to the relationship that Kate continues with her mother while she is in the Underworld, and it takes place, in her dreams, in Central Park. These dreamy, surreal sequences were full of symbolism and meaning and were quite fascinating.
There was, however, one aspect of the story that I didn’t quite understand. I could not figure out how Kate went from feeling like a prisoner and not exactly liking Henry to suddenly becoming hell-bent on saving him from himself. In many ways, the development of the romance between Henry and Kate was nowhere as well-written as the relationship between Kate and her mother.
The actual tests were extremely subtle, and all the readers knows throughout the novel is that Kate is being tested. The big reveal comes at the end of the novel during the final reckoning. I can’t say too much without giving away the plot, but I wasn’t too pleased to learn that Kate had essentially been a pawn in a much bigger game. It remains to be seen how Kate will fight back against this in future novels.
If the tests were subtle, then the links to Greek mythology were tenuous at best. When the identities of the gods and goddesses were revealed, I was quite surprised because little in the development of those characters had indicated their true identities. This is, of course, something that can be built upon in the sequel Goddess Interrupted which is due out in 2012. Without the need for secrecy and intrigue, the real intentions and personalities of the gods can be explored.
Author Aimée Carter was just 22 when she wrote this novel and she certainly has an impressive grasp of human interactions and motivations. If she puts more emphasis on the mythology and legends of the Greek gods, then this could become quite a powerful series.
The verdict is that this is an enjoyable, easy read and I will certainly be reading the rest of the books in the series.
I give The Goddess Test 3.5 stars out of 5.