The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Ugh. Cassandra Clare said this was a great book. Much like her book being reviewed by Stephanie Meyer, mother of dreck, I should have known better. There are spoilers for the entire book in this review.
I'm running out of things to say about all the YA I've been reading lately, because it's all starting to sound the same. Why? Because all the books I've been reading are all reading the same way. One thing I've noticed is that every YA author seems to have picked up a liking for the word "deft(ly)" at the same time, and love sprinkling it everywhere. Also, whenever you kiss someone, your lips get swollen so badly you need to mention it. The other thing I'm noticing is that, plot-wise, nothing matters nearly as much as the romance. And that's just no fun.
I don't mind a romance, but I'm starting to think that teen girls are being encouraged to fall in love with the first or second guy they meet, at age 16-17-18, and let that consume their entire being. Their lives suddenly become all about making the guy happy. What about their own happiness? What about their own identities? By the end of this book, Kate is married (she's 18), she's become immortal, and she's 100% certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that she'll never stop loving Henry ever ever ever! She did this entire thing so that she could (a) spend more time with her mom before she dies, and (b) keep Henry from fading away. But what about her life? What about her hopes and dreams? She has zero identity outside of being Henry's new wife and queen of the Underworld. And that strange love triangle with James was forced and awkward. I never would have gone for that angle.
I remember, back when I was a teenager reading YA fantasy, there was actual fantasy amid the romance. The romance did not take center stage, it was often only a background element that blossomed into something more much later in a series. Take, for example, Tamora Pierce's Tortall books. Magic, intrigue, adventure, lots and lots of danger and excitement, and oh, a little romance here and there. Diana Wynne Jones' Howl's Moving Castle is also a great example of fantasy taking center stage, with the romance as something on the side. Why is that so hard to find in this generation of YA fantasy? Why is it that all teen girls (and adults who read YA) apparently want to read about is how a hot girl gets with a hot guy (or a not-so-hot girl gets with a super-hot guy), and oh maybe there's some magic here and there?
Lastly, the writing on this was so glaringly obvious that I had no trouble figuring out James was on the council, and that Kate's mom was actually the goddess Diana. Sorry if that ruined anything for you. I promise that you would have seen it coming a mile away yourself, unless you're super dense.
And I won't even get into the whole mythology thing. That has been very thoroughly covered in other reviews. (These are just two. Go see the multitude for yourself.)
The only reason I'm going to read book 2 is because I swapped for it at the same time as this one, and it's been sitting in my house, and I feel like I should read it before I send it away.
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