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5 Reasons to Read The Goddess Legacy by Aimée Carter (No Spoilers)

Title: The Goddess Legacy
Story Arc: Trilogy, Book 2.5
Publication: July 31, 2012 by Harlequin Teen
Paperback: 395 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Greek Mythology, Retellings
Age Group: Teen, Young Adult
Content: Kissing, Implicit Sex, Violence, Murder
Source: Harlequin Teen via NetGalley | Quote(s): Yes

In all the years I'd existed, I'd never expected to be free.

For millennia we've caught only glimpses of the lives and loves of the gods and goddesses on Olympus. Now Aime e Carter pulls back the curtain on how they became the powerful, petty, loving and dangerous immortals that Kate Winters knows.

Calliope/Hera represented constancy and yet had a husband who never matched her faithfulness....

Ava/Aphrodite was the goddess of love and yet commitment was a totally different deal....

Persephone was urged to marry one man, yet longed for another....

James/Hermes loved to make trouble for others-but never knew true loss before....

Henry/Hades's solitary existence had grown too wearisome to continue. But meeting Kate Winters gave him a new hope....

Five original novellas of love, loss and longing and the will to survive throughout the ages.
You won’t appreciate The Goddess Legacy by Aimee Carter if

- You haven’t been digging the series up to this point.

I don’t feel that The Goddess Legacy by Aimee Carter is an installment in the series to tempt you back in or to incite in you the desire to continue with the series. If you’ve been struggling with the series up until now, then The Goddess Legacy by Aimee Carter won’t be the novel to make you want to finish the trilogy. Or even begin it. While The Goddess Legacy by Aimee Carter can be read almost like a prequel to the series and potentially help readers who haven’t read The Goddess Test appreciate the first novel over those who ended up not liking it—I went back to reread the first book afterward and found I enjoyed it more than I did when I began the series—it’s more than likely going to deter interested readers.

- You don’t like the characters.

The Goddess Legacy by Aimee Carter is a collection of back stories of five different characters, which is why I don’t think newcomers would be intrigued but rather bored instead. There has to be some level of investment in the characters in order to truly enjoy this novel, because there is a lot of slow pacing and inner monolguing more than anything else. The Goddess Legacy by Aimee Carter acts as a way to bring depth to the characters we’ve encountered throughout the series, and whether it will it accomplish rousing your sympathies is dependent on how much you already like the characters as a whole and individually.

With all that said, however, you don’t have to have read any books in the series to read The Goddess Legacy by Aimee Carter, nor do you have to read this in-between installment to quench any fear of missing something that relates to The Goddess Inheritance.

If none of that applies to you, however, then I’ll continue on to why you SHOULD read The Goddess Legacy by Aimee Carter:

1. Any mystery shrouding the interpersonal relationships among the Olympians is cleared away. If you know anything about Greek mythology, then you know that the majority of it reads much like a giant and ongoing soap opera—affairs, infidelities, pregnancies—both legitimate and not, power struggles, revenge, etc. This novel gives it all a much more personal touch, so that you’re witnessing firsthand exactly what went down between the Olympians, how and why so many of them loathe, love, and respect each other. There isn’t this kind of depth to each of the gods and goddesses throughout the series because it’s pretty much focused on Kate and her romance with Henry. Take that away and you have fabulous working parts of a great story—deception, betrayal, violence, and romance.

2. That missing depth to the characters can be found here. Ever wonder why Aphrodite married Hephaestus but takes many lovers? How Hephaestus REALLY twisted his legs? Why Hera hated Zeus and some of his children so much? Why, in The Goddess Test, Hades seems so lonely, depressed, and hurt? The Goddess Legacy by Aimee Carter brings insight to the highlights and lowlights of the Olympians' lives, the ones that have shaped the characters into who they are at present. I’d never fully understood any character who wasn’t Kate because the trilogy is so centered on her, but after reading through each story I FELT for the majority of them. How at once tragic and happy their lives are and have been. How time can slowly drive even good, loving people mad and eat away at what was once the purest things about them.

3. Don’t let the monotony turn you off, because you will feel, in a sense, enlightened by the time you finish it. While some of the actions of the characters, especially the villainous sort, are inexcusable, I do feel sympathetic toward EACH character. And that’s what made me, ultimately, enjoy The Goddess Legacy by Aimee Carter so much. The fact that Carter created another opportunity for the characters to lure us into emotional attachments to them. If they never meant anything to you before, there’s a chance that’ll change after reading The Goddess Legacy by Aimee Carter, because you gain not only an understanding of every character but an actual liking, or even disliking. You might find that you care.

4. The twists on the mythology are sound and fascinating. I’d like to say I’m a big Greek myth buff, but I’m not. I just very much enjoy the stories, and that’s even truer when it comes to reinterpretations of the originals. I grasped the basics of all the stories but I didn’t thoroughly explore every single one, so it was not only interesting reading about some of those events but also Carter’s reinvention of the reasons, all the hows and whys. I was surprised on a number of occasions and that scored Carter even more points.

5. Carter has selected five characters whose voices really stand out. For instance, Hera’s voice starts out melancholy and glum but then quickly shifts into cold fury and vindictiveness, which matches up well to her current image. I never doubted that I was reading a different character after every new story. They all felt very natural and well-suited to what they’ve projected throughout the series. More than that, I loved that each story kind of bleeds into the following one, so that while they’re individual stories they are part of the same fabric tying them together.

The Goddess Queen—
The first story in The Goddess Legacy by Aimee Carter is Hera’s. The vindictive, vengeful queen of the gods has good reason to be as furious and twisted as she is. While her other siblings all found outlets and people to make them happy, Hera’s always had to suffer the price of loneliness. She’s always wanted one person to share her joys and successes and freedom with, but she was never content with her lot as her siblings were. She didn’t deserve the fate she was saddled with the moment she gave in to Zeus’s promises; however she’s not a faultless victim either. I was able to feel pity and sympathy toward her even as I understood that she had some responsibility in the mess of the marriage between her and Zeus. Her story does get a bit redundant and slow, but I did come out with a clearer understanding of her unrepentant hatred.

The Lovestruck Goddess—
Aphrodite’s story is by far my favorite of the whole book. Throughout the series, I never paid her much mind, nor did I care overly much about her presence in the books. I did, however, question her marriage to Hephaestus and her countless relationships with other partners. After reading ‘The Lovestruck Goddess,’ however, I understood in a way I don’t think I would’ve without Carter’s interpretation. She is the goddess of love, the embodiment of it and she feeds off of it, depends on it for her own survival. She flourishes amid adoration and affection and sentiment. She’s different from Zeus in that she does what she does not out of disloyalty, carelessness, or selfishness—she spreads joy and passion and amity as much as she needs to constantly feel it. Her and Hephaestus’s relationship is so beautifully stunning.

Goddess of the Underworld—
When you read The Goddess Test series, you become aware of Persephone’s involvement with Hades, and it’s so easy and simple-minded to begrudge and dislike her for her actions, but one shared theme in all the stories is time, and in each story it shows it’s devastating effects on the characters, their mentalities, and their lives. Living in misery as she did, without choice, trapped by her parents’ logic and Hades’s goodness, imprisoned in the dreary underworld for eons—which is such an abstract concept when it doesn’t apply to you, but when you try to think on what all that time really means, it’s terrifying—I developed a tolerance toward her, an understanding was bridged. Even so, it mainly made my heart break a little more for Hades.

God of Thieves—
Hermes/James’s story is actually the one I was most anticipating, and I ended up enjoying it the least. I still liked it, but I found more interest in the previous stories. I did feel for James’s character as well, but I was prone to skimming a few times because his story felt a bit tedious. It was the ending of it that spoke to me, and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him.

God of Darkness—
Hades/Henry’s story is the only one told in third person. You’re level of enjoyment on this last novella will depend on how much you are for his character. I’ve read a bunch of reviews on this series, more than enough to know that not everyone relishes his romance with Kate, but this story combined with Persephone’s gave more insight into his character, and I felt awful for him. I began my little love affair with him after Goddess Interrupted, but once I read this, I decided he needed eons-long hugs, because HE SUFFERED. It’s much simpler to grasp after reading the stories, and his pain became personal in a way it hadn’t even after Goddess Interrupted. However, I gave a long *happy-sigh* at the lovely hopeful note it ended on, and I loved how his hope centered on meeting a young Kate just once. (Which isn’t creepy, I assure you, because he never expected to fall in love with any of his potential brides, never wanted to. All he wanted was a friend and an equal partner in ruling the Underworld, and that in itself is so sad. It’s wrenching because, yes, on some level, he didn’t want anything more, but another, more hopeful, part dreamed in secret but never thought it possible.) I care for Henry so much more now.

And that’s the whole point, the point of reading something like this. When you like a series enough to want to dig further into the characters and come out happy with the results, it makes reading it worth it even if it’s not a necessary part of the series.

The Goddess Legacy by Aimee Carter is a great match for readers who adore Carter’s novels and need another sample of her writing and the characters we’ve grown to care for while we wait for the final installment in The Goddess Test trilogy.
It's easy to be immortal--all you have to do is sit there. But the world passes you by that way, and I don't see the point of existing for eternity if we don't feel it.
Being alive, that's the hard part. That's when my heart beats, my eyes are open and I see and smell and feel and taste and hear everything. It's heat, it's fire, it's the crash of the waves and the rumble of thunder. It's an awareness mortals take for granted. (23%)
Rating: Sud-Kissed

I wouldn't go into The Goddess Legacy by Aimee Carter expecting to come out loving the series and wanting to continue. The Goddess Legacy by Aimee Carter isn't strictly for fans, but it will be harder to appreciate and enjoy if you don't like the previous books, as it's very much character-driven. There does have to be an appreciation for the characters in order to like this installment. Because I am fond of the series, I was often fascinated by the insight into the characters through their histories. Carter did a lovely job of recreating the original myths to suit what we already know about the characters. Her imagination is memorable, and though everyone might not enjoy The Goddess Legacy by Aimee Carter for the reasons I did, I found it to be a telling and insightful installment in the series that works to satisfy anxious fans waiting for the final book.

Got something specific in mind? Dare I believe I might NOT have covered something you wish to know? If so, let me know down in the comments section. Don't be shy!


Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue said...

GAH. Asher, you're making me regret my decision not to get this one from NetGalley. I REALLY REALLY want to read it, because I've already heard from several people that it's the best one in the series. I think what I may wait and do is splurge on physical copies of all the books, or maybe just get this one for my Nook for now. I LOVE the idea of getting to see inside the other character's minds, since before now, we've only seen them through Kate's eyes, and we only know what SHE knows about them. I love your "5 reasons" post...as if I needed convincing! HEE.

Sonia said...

So, based on your assessment, I think (hopefully!) I'm going to really like this one! The Aphrodite story is deeeefinitely the most intriguing to me right now. I can't wait to get a handle on who this beautiful Goddess really is! And, of course, getting to know Henry sounds like a big plus as well. He's still largely a mystery at this point to me although layers of his shell are starting to be pulled away. This book sounds like an awesome way to get to know the characters more intimately and I can't wait! :)

Fabulous post as always, Asher! :D

Sarah said...

I still need to read The Goddess Test... hmmm... I might start with it first, but ASHER. I LOVE YOUR REVIEWY/RCOMMENDATIONY THINGY YOU BRILLIANT GIRL!

RadiantShadows said...

"I loved that each story kind of bleeds into the following one, so that while they’re individual stories they are part of the same fabric tying them together. "

Yes! I think this is why it reads so well, because it does almost seem like each story is a part of the whole. I think The Goddess Test needs a re-read, because I'm sure, like you, that I would enjoy it more having now read The Goddess Legacy.

Oh, and thanks for linking to my review!

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