Friday, May 25, 2012

The Goddess Test


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 that 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 suceeds, she'll become Henry's future bride and a goddess

Ugh. I cannot stress enough how sad this book made me. So much freaking potential and then a huge letdown. This is happening so much lately. I love Greek mythology. When I was younger I was pretty much so obsessed that I know just about every story there is to know. Well, of the popular ones. I know the gods' personalities and some of the lineage. I hoped that this would be a fun and modern twist on the mythologies, which is what it was meant to be, but it turned out to be a dull, superficial read. 

1. A Person has Three Dimensions not just Two. Kate doesn't leap out of the pages like a good heroine should. Considering that she is faced with losing her mother, she seems pretty nonchalant and I don't think Carter meant for it to come across that way. In fact I'm sure of it but I will get more to that later. There are moments where Kate will say something that shows a spark of originality, so I'm chalking this up to this being Carter's first novel. 

2. Show Don't Tell. How many times in my English classes was I told that it was better to show and not tell? I can't even count how many times. A plot is far more intriguing, a character far more personalized, a scene more realized when the writer shows what is going on rather than telling us. We are told way too many times that Kate is depressed or that she feels this or that. I wanted it to be expressed in dialogue or in exposition. Everything just seemed to fall flat and boring. 

3. Being Mysterious for the Sake of Being Mysterious. Henry is supposed to be Hades. Aimee, if you're going to sex up the god of the underworld, do it in a less cliche manner. Nothing about Henry screams leading man. We're just told that he's gorgeous (see Point #2) and he is supposedly brooding and whatnot but his dialogue just shows him as a thoughtful and somewhat pained guy. I didn't fully understand why they had gone through so many girls if they were gods. Surely they would have figured out the little twist a long time ago but, again, it is stressed that they are not omniscient. Ugh. I think it would have been far more interesting if Henry was charismatic and bright, everything that you wouldn't think the god of death would be, and that would make the revelation that he is Hades all the more surprising. 

4. A Twist just to have a Twist. Ok. The twist didn't really shock me. I knew something was up with either Calliope or Ella. 

5. The Gods must be Crazy. I wish the gods had been more identifiable. That would have been far more entertaining. And why would they all be hanging out in limbo? Not impressed. 

6. The Whore of a Best Friend. I didn't understand why Kate and (Enter Name Here) became friends. Ugh! And then Kate finally shows some emotion when what's-her-face sleeps around and gets one of the guys killed and they have this stupid fight that doesn't make sense, and I just want to slap Kate. At least I was feeling some sort of emotion. 

7. Greeks were Whores. Ummm...The whole infidelity/adultery/lust thing was too freaking much! WTF?!?!? The Greeks were sluts. Especially the gods. To go on forever about how it was terrible that Kate and Henry did the nasty is just stupid and goes against the whole Greek mythology and ideal. Read just one myth about Zeus and you see how much of a player that man was. The Seven Deadly Sins thing has been done and redone. Get over that. 

I may or may not read the second one. This did not leave me intrigued enough for it. With all this ranting I think it is safe to say that this book has good parts. I just didn't focus on them in this review because, for the most part, I didn't like the book. This book, however, might be good for younger teen girls but I would also tell them to steer clear simply because it is another one of those books that glamorizes immortality. Plus there's the whole premarital sex stuff. So yeah...I don't know if I'd recommend it to anyone. There ya go!

Here is a review by Anna from Goodreads that I loved:

(Warning: Contains Foul Language)

Here's the thing about this book: it was decent enough. Not nearly as good as what I was expecting, but decent.

Now, I have been having a love affair with Greek mythology since the 2nd grade. I love it all- it's like a soap opera times 100. It is some of the most entertaining and sinful group of stories I have ever had the pleasure to read. Hear that, Ms. Carter? Sinful. And here leads to what I didn't like about this book.

The. Greek. Gods. Sinned. Like. Motherfuckers. Literally, if you catch my drift. (Sorry, children.)

Look, I understand - and appreciate - artistic license. You can bend your material a bit. But when you have ZEUS - the king (haha, pun!) of promiscuity saying that lust is wrong...? You know you've done something wrong. You made a wrong turn somewhere, Ms. Carter.

Let us ponder.

I think I know.


Look, both mythologies are interesting on their own, and I get the idea that everyone goes where they imagine/want when they die, and I even kind of like that. But do you realize that Greek mythology came about before Jesus was even a twinkle in the great God's eye? Zeus was fucking his sister in peace thousands of years before that, Ms. Carter. Shall I draw you a time line? I think I shall!

A REALLY LONG ASS TIME AGO: Kronos ate his kids.
A LONG ASS TIME AGO: Zeus married his sister, killed his father with the help of his brothers, and fucked every other female member of his family.
A LONG TIME AGO: Jesus came out of Mary's magnificently holy vagina.

Was that amazingly crude time line enlightening?

I really hope so. Wanna know why? Because I actually have some hopes for this trilogy.

And here is where I talk about what I actually liked about this book and why I gave it three stars.

1) Kate's relationship with her mother (AKA: Demeter) really was lovely.

2) I liked Kate and Henry (Hades) enough (Oh, Lord, that is a sad statement. Enough? That's just depressing). Especially 'cause he's Hades, AKA god of badass-ery, but she totally got him wrong in a few ways. The fits of rage were good, because that's fitting for any Greek god, really, but she made him a VIRGIN. A virgin I tell you. I'm really sick of these sexy as hell men in these YA books who have been alive for forever and yet never manage to get laid. Oh, I know! Maybe he's saving it for the Lord.


3) I didn't see that shit with Calliope coming. You got me there, Ms. Carter, I'll admit it. I like to be surprised.

4) It wasn't entirely boring. Kate held my attention well enough. I don't hate her. I don't love her, but I don't hate her. She's kind of on the fence for me right now. We'll see how the second book goes.

5) The book smelled amazing. True story, bra.

And so, if Ms. Carter can pull her shit together and stop talking down to us good readers, and cut it out with that Seven Sins bullshit, and let Henry fuck, I will enjoy the second book. I really will, Ms. Carter. Overall, you had a good idea. So please, please, grant my wishes and don't let me down like most books I read nowadays. Please?

PS - I feel I should add this in: Look at that cover. That is one beautiful cover. Sometimes I pull this down from the shelf just to smell/ogle it. IDK I'M JUST A COVER WHORE DON'T JUDGE ME.

Friday, May 11, 2012


Woot Woot!

Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago - surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness.

The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous - and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the any means necessary.

In the sequel to Lauren DeStefano’s harrowing Wither, Rhine must decide if freedom is worth the price - now that she has more to lose than ever.

What I'm loving about DeStefano's series is that it is unlike anything else I've ever read. I try to compare it to other young adult fiction I've read recently and I can't do it. Sure, it's another dystopian novel, but so many of the other dystopian plots out there at least have a glimmer of hope to them. DeStefano has created a completely hopeless world filled with young people who see no reason to waste time because their lives are so short. While the premise might seem a little odd and somewhat romantic DeStefano manages to shed the gloom and doom on a world that is slowly dying like all of the characters. 

We find our lovebirds, Gabriel and Rhine, on the run only to get caught in a morbid, creepy scarlet district headed by an old woman referred to as Madame. This is just the first in a series of events that show a broken world that is darker than Rhine had remembered. Gabriel seems disappointed in the world void of holographs and beauty. 

The relationship between Gabriel and Rhine is beautiful. They have chemistry and love between them that DeStefano describes beautifully. While many young adult novels are utilizing the love triangle plot, DeStefano has not gone that route which is quite refreshing. Linden seemed to be a part of a love triangle in the first book, but I don't think Rhine loves him in the way that qualifies as competition to Gabriel. Here is yet another proof that DeStefano's series is going against the latest mold in young adult fiction. 

DeStefano's writing is superb. Her prose is pitch-perfect. While her characters are drugged or sick, the reader can feel the fever and the dreamlike state just through the words on the page. 

In Whither Rhine was strong and defiant, willful and quietly scheming. With this followup we find our heroine broken just like the world that surrounds her. She is disenchanted pretty quickly once she is captured by Madame. When she was a prisoner in Linden's mansion, she seemed larger than life, bigger and capable of escape even though her situation was so futile. When she was supposed to be free, she wasn't actually free, but she seemed smaller and more and more hopeless throughout this book. It is a story that is masterfully told and the reader is taken on a journey through a world of despair. 

In closing, DeStefano manages to use imagery to show this dying world. A ferris wheel at Madame's twisted carnival that still turns. A malformed child. Girls in the scarlet district stripped of their identities and assigned colors as their names. A broken pitcher used to become Rhine's only means of escape from Vaughn's iron grip. A fortune teller woman with tarot cards.

I look forward to DeStefano's final installment, Sever, so that I can see what happens to Rhine and Gabriel. Will she finally find her brother, Rowan? Will she discover what her parents were keeping from her and her twin? Will she be reunited with Gabriel? Will the world be cured from the virus? So many questions! I hope DeStefano answers them. And I also look forward to the other adventures she has in store for us. 

One opal cloudlet in an oval form

Reflects the rainbow of a thunderstorm

Which in a distant valley

has been staged--

For we are most artistically caged. 

--Vladimir Nabokov, "Pale Fire"