fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsYA fantasy book reviews Aimée Carter Goddess InterruptedGoddess Interrupted  by Aimée Carter

I read Aimée Carter’s The Goddess Test last year and was disappointed in it, but saw enough potential in Carter that I was curious about the sequel, Goddess Interrupted. As it turns out, it’s better than The Goddess Test in one major way, but has problems of its own. Overall, they come out about equal and I’m giving them the same star rating.

The biggest problem with The Goddess Test was its bowdlerization of the Greek gods. Carter had rendered the gods nearly unrecognizable by making them believers in a strict Christian morality. Here, she fixes that to a large extent. The gods’ lurid histories are restored to them. It’s just that, as Aphrodite puts it, they have a tendency to be self-righteous. For this mythology geek, they’re much easier to stomach as hypocrites than as sanitized versions of themselves.

The problem, instead, is one of focus. Carter is better at writing, and more focused on, social drama than action or epic conflicts. In The Goddess Test, this intimate style works — it’s an intimate story, part romance, part country house mystery, part examination of grief. While I disliked the portrayal of the gods and the final twist, for the most part the emotional content rang true and was compelling.

In Goddess Interrupted, Carter has an opportunity to make this a more epic story, but this potential goes unrealized. Cronus, the evil Titan, has awakened and is on the verge of being freed. If he escapes, humanity is doomed and all the gods will fade. But the social drama remains the focus of the novel. There’s a lot of angst — Kate angsting about whether Hades will ever love her as much as he did Persephone; Hades angsting about both Persephone and Kate. There’s a huge amount of bickering too; characters bicker over who had affairs with whom in the past, who’s prettier than whom, and so on. I can’t complain too much about this after rejoicing in the gods being more authentic this time, of course. After all, these were the gods who started a war over a certain golden apple. The problem is balance. The Cronus threat feels secondary to these dramas.

The Cronus plot does come to the fore in the action scenes, but there are too few of these, and too much of the action is narrated to Kate and the reader after the fact. During several of the clashes, the other gods leave Kate at home because she’s underpowered. Other times, she is blocked from getting a full picture of what’s going on. For example, once she can’t see well because Cronus (in mist form) is in the way, and in another scene she loses consciousness before the battle’s outcome is decided.

Goddess Interrupted ends on a cliffhanger, yet I find I’m not dying to continue. I would be willing to read future books by Carter, but probably not in this series.

The Goddess Test — (2011-2013) Young adult. The Goddess Hunt is an ebook novella. The Goddess Legacy is a story collection. Publisher: 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.

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  • Kelly Lasiter

    KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.