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Trudy White, Markus Zusak
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The Goddess Test - Aimee Carter Moving from New York (hurrah, NY!) to Eden wasn't easy for Kate, but she was willing to make the sacrifice for her terminally ill mother who was sick with cancer. On the very first day driving into town things were strange, and she glimpsed someone standing in the middle of the road - or was it a hallucination? Her first day at school she meets James whom she quickly befriends, and bubbly Ava who begins a much more tenuous friendship and a one-way journey.I really enjoyed this book. I was slightly hesitant coming in as coming from a background in Classics I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to separate myth from fiction, but found myself pleasantly surprised. You have to suspend disbelief a bit, but where myth is concerned you need to do that anyhow. The traits of the gods aren't set in finite stone as they are gods after all, and so the associated characterizations were believable given the modern context and story. I know some will have an issue with this and that's something I can understand, but I hope you'll give it a go because it really is a lovely story. There were a lot of little things peppered throughout it that were nice such as the inclusion of the river (the Styx), Cerberus (although this dog wasn't guarding anything that I saw), the seeds (pomegranate!) to name a few.Kate is a strong female character who speaks her mind when she needs to and keeps quiet when she needs to. I mention this because it seems to be a trend to have really strong female characters, but sometimes they're too concerned with this idea of strong that they instead turn reckless and go the opposite way. For me, strong isn't always brute force and yelling what you think, it's also knowing when not to do those things. Kate balances this out well and I give Aimée Carter credit for doing a good job with that. The same for Henry; I've seen him be described as weak and un-godlike but I have to disagree with that. This telling of the story of Hades and Persephone is quite different in some respects and that, for me, makes all the differences as far as rationalising his character. Just because he isn't all fire and a booming voice doesn't make him any less Hades - in fact if he were like that the story would be quite dull as it wouldn't fit with the changes made to the myth. I rather liked Henry and look forward to reading more about where their path goes.Just a quick side note: the big difference for me between The Goddess Test and Wither (and any other story where a girl falls unexpectedly into a relationship with a guy) as far as Kate and Rhine and whomever else are concerned is choice. Kate was able to make her own decision and that was a world of difference as far as how I viewed everything after that.Apologies that this review is a bit light on story discussion, as that's mainly because I thought it was a fantastic book and I don't want to give anything away. The magic is in the details and that first read-through and an ending that I was happily surprised with. The sequel is definitely going onto the pre-order list!