Kate Winters has won immortality. But if she wants a life with Henry in the Underworld, she’ll have to fight for it.Becoming immortal wasn’t supposed to be the easy part. Though Kate is about to be crowned Queen of the Underworld, she’s as isolated as ever. And despite her growing love for Henry, ruler of the Underworld, he’s becoming ever more distant and secretive. Then, in the midst of Kate’s coronation, Henry is abducted by the only being powerful enough to kill him: the King of the Titans.
As the other gods prepare for a war that could end them all, it is up to Kate to save Henry from the depths of Tartarus. But in order to navigate the endless caverns of the Underworld, Kate must enlist the help of the one person who is the greatest threat to her future.
Henry’s first wife, Persephone.
“If I were a better man, I would be able to show you the love and affection you deserve. As I am not, I can only offer you what I am capable of giving. But I assure you, just because I do not show it doesn’t mean I do not feel it.” – Henry to Kate
I did not love the first book, Goddess Test. Yeah, it was okay… I thought it had a tinge of originality and creativity, and the execution of the Greek myth better written than most supernatural young adult reads out there, but I wasn’t totally captivated. It did keep me interested enough to want to read the rest (and I kind of have to, since I have an ARC of the third book *ducks*), but I didn’t expect that it would leave me wanting and longing for more after I was done. I should be reading the third book right now, but allow me a minute or two of your sweet time to rave (and rant) about this particular novel that made me equally frustrated and enchanted.
Some of you who’ve read this book (and didn’t like it) and a few of its not-so-positive reviews may be giving me a raised eyebrow right now, thinking “What the fudge? You liked it? WHY? DUDE, IT FUCKED UP GREEK MYTHOLOGY, MMKAY? DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW THIS BOOK MADE BADASS ZEUS AND THE OTHER BADASS GREEK GODS AND GODDESSES LOOK LIKE WUSSIES AND DRAMA QUEENS? HUH? HUH?”
Calm your tits, because yes, I’m aware of that. I’m aware that for what it’s worth, it did not truly depict Greek Mythology and its gods and goddesses accurately. I’m aware that the author was quite liberal in her portrayal and characterization of them, but I don’t give a flying shit about that. Anyone with an ounce of brain would know what real Greek mythology is from their high school classes. Last I heard, these myths were already even considered common sense. If I wanted a precise and literal depiction of them, I would’ve ransacked my boxes of high school things and pulled out a book on these ancient deities. So, yeah, I’m not going to let the liberal representation of these greek characters cloud my judgement of a freaking good book. So, there.
There were a lot of things that I liked about this book. Like I said, I didn’t expect to be enamored with it, but I did, and there are many reasons why it ended up as such. Here are the reasons why I loved it:
First, Kate’s transformation was frustrating to read, but rewarding at the same time. Yes, our dear heroine pretty much whined, complained and wallowed herself in self-pity and self-despair in the first, like, I don’t know, 50-60% of the book? Which is a HUGE chunk. This was such a large contrast compared to her character in the first book, where she was stubborn, fierce, and incredibly strong-willed. I won’t deny that she annoyed the hell out of me multiple times, and I oftentimes found myself saying in the wee hours of the morning as I was reading this, “Oh, my god. Just get on with it. B****, please have an ounce of dignity and self-respect! The world doesn’t frigging revolve around you!” She was incredibly selfish in this book, with her constant “He doesn’t love me the way I expect him to love me! Who cares if he had a fucked-up past? I’m the star here! Boo-hoo!” Yeah. Horrible. Cringe-worthy. I know.
BUT! She grows up. She matures from someone completely self-centered into someone compassionate and able to empathize with other people and their feelings. If you follow my reviews, many of you have probably noticed that I detest annoying heroines like described above, but like any other people, I love and I welcome transformations into someone better. I, myself, enjoyed reading the realizations Kate had when she discerned her actions. If there’s anything I hate more, it’s too-perfect-to-be-true characters without any flaws whatsoever. Kate is flawed. Incredibly flawed. Yet she overcomes this. Not totally, but surely and steadily. And who would seriously not be pleased by that?
Second, I appreciated the way it portrayed that love is perfect, yet imperfect at the same time. This is especially seen in the character of Henry, the persona representing Hades, ruler of the Underworld where all the souls go after their passing. Henry was a seriously emotionally-scarred person due to his unforgiving past with Persephone. As we all know, he found a second chance not only at love, but also at life, when he met Kate Winters, and while he sincerely loves and cares for her, he doesn’t know how to show this. He is incredibly fragile and afraid. Of loving again, of hurting once more, not just himself but others, and I found this incredibly endearing and saddening at the same time. All of us have different ways of showing our affection, but not everyone can understand. Some of us may take time to adjust, take time to completely open up and heal, but not everyone has the patience. I appreciated that Henry embodied the kind of love we need to face in real life – that it’s perfect, yet imperfect; that it heals, but also scars. He portrayed a kind of love that we do not see very often in fiction, the kind of love that is gentle, yet broken; fragile, yet strong.
Third, I enjoyed reading its portrayal of the reality of human flaws – that it’s not a one-way street, that it’s not only black and white. Humans (or gods, in this case, but anyway they’re taking on human personalities and characters, so, yeah) are incredibly selfish creatures. Some of us may have it everything in the world, but will never get satisfied. At the end of the day, we may have it all, but we’ll always have this tendency to be selfish. In most cases, that’s terrible, because we think of ourselves first at the expense of others. Yet this book showcased to me through the stories of its characters that sometimes, just because something is not right, that doesn’t mean it’s totally not good. Of course this depends on the context. Everything depends on the context. Like I said, not everything is black and white, that it’s a two or even a three-way street. If there’s anything this book portrayed, it’s that when it comes to relationships, you need to respect yourself more and love yourself better.
Fourth, IT MADE ME SO PHILOSOPHICAL. Yeah, like you didn’t notice that yet, right? But books that make me think like that are rare, and it’s kind of funny how I found it in this supernatural Young Adult about Greek gods and goddesses that have names like Walter and Henry.
This does not mean to say that everything is all rainbows and butterflies. There were some stuff that I didn’t really like as well, and they are as follows:
First, the villain was too one-dimensional. She was evil throughout, blinded by jealousy and frustration. I didn’t think she really had any profound depth in her, and I find that kind of disappointing. It’s all “BWAHAHA! I AM EVIL. I HATE YOU BECAUSE FUCK, NO REASON, I JUST HATE YOU!” —_—
Second, cheating was kind of romanticized too much here that I found it slightly disturbing. Of course, if anything, that’s an accurate portrayal of gods and goddesses. We all know that those all-powerful beings weren’t exactly faithful to each other, but in here, everyone has slept with everyone at some point, and to make things worse, their spouses even know it! Their justifications are as follows: “Well, if you’ve lived with someone for more than a thousand years, you kinda want to toy with someone new” AND “Well, he/she knows that I slept and still sleep around, but the important thing is that he knows I still love him the most at the end of the day.” What the fuck, say what??? Yeah, I ain’t kidding… they really said these at some point, non-verbatim…
Lastly, there were many side characters, but they weren’t given much depth. They’re freaking gods and goddesses, they DESERVE to have more spotlight, right? Right? Who’s with me?
Anyway, that was a long review. To sum it all up, this book made me philosophize a lot on human ethics and love, and it’s a bit amusing that a YA PNR book triggered this. I’ll let you guys know if the next book will make me feel the same way.
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