Personally? I would've been good with the money. (More) Few spoilers!
What a fool I’ve been when it comes to this series by Aimee G. Carter (the “G” is for genius). A long, long time ago, I wrote a review for The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter that, to sum up, had less glow than a squashed and dying glowworm. Poor glowworm. I was a silly girl I was, and I think I’ve made up for it with reviews since then, but I can’t help going back to that one time when this series meant bugger off to me. Because I gather that many people must’ve felt the same. AND THAT IS A SHAME. After going through the entire series (including rereading The Goddess Test), I realized that Carter is not only creative but much attuned to the characters she’s written. She took their roles, their mistakes, their histories in mythology and made them into something human, relatable, and just plain real. Call me batcaca, but that takes SKILLZ.
Scratch out with several violent strokes of your fingernails what I said about not reading The Goddess Legacy like a prequel because blah blah whatevs and other stupid reasons. Once again I was on an I’m Not Thinking Straight diet that day (I lost 85 good ideas). You should definitely read the series that way. Whereas the characters seem elusive and less sympathetic in the main books, if you read The Goddess Legacy first, you will develop a hard case of The Feels for most of them. Though the series is mainly focused on Kate and Henry’s relationship, the trials and development of it, there’s also so much more happening. How loneliness and time can easily turn sanity, how inescapable humanity is—flaws/weaknesses as well as positive emotions—even for the gods who claim to better controlled, and how important it is to take nothing for granted, even more especially, I think, if you’ve been around the block for eons in the company of people since the beginning of time. If this series does nothing else, it shows how easily good things can crumble and how much worse it feels when they aren’t valued as they should be.
And yet, even without all that noise, Kate and Henry’s relationship speaks volumes too. Two closely self-guarded, easily wounded and very vulnerable characters who are attempting, slowly, to grow for the sake of what they’re starting to feel for each other. Loving each other is easy, and perhaps maybe that’s why I was turned off in the beginning. But, Carter, like I said, is a genius, because she makes their trials long and lengthy over accepting every bit of each other—the annoying, stupid, and downright ugly. They both fought down a long, gravelly, when-are-they-going-to-fill-in-these-darn-potholes road to learn trust and communication, and that’s probably what began to fascinate me. Carter makes you feel, if you’ve never experienced this, how incredibly scary it is to put yourself out there, make a move, fix something when it’s breaking, and hold onto something before it’s gone. Kate and Henry make TONS of wrong turns, until you start thinking up ways to SMOOSH THEM TOGETHER. Henry is a dude before he’s a god, and so that makes him just as inclined as Kate to do and say dumb things, which I, OBVS, loved.
But as their relationship forms, there’s all this bad stuff being flung at them like Carter is wielding a slingshot full of dung and enjoys pancaking them into the dire things of the plot.
Let’s continue with a checklist. I’ve always found them to be enlightening.
+Henry was dumped by Persephone eons ago (see: cheating wench who opts for death to be with her lover Adonis in the Underworld)
+Kate’s mother is dying
+A bully tries to pull a fast one over Kate and ends up dying
+In order to revive her, Kate must strike a deal with God of the Underworld (GotU for short, because I think it’s funny) aka Henry
+Kate must take these sneaky secret tests to prove she’s goddess-worthy
+There’s a psycho jealous killer on the loose killing all of Henry’s potential new partners/brides
+There’s a moment with aphrodisiac
+There’s also more—you guessed it—dying
+Kate spends a summer away with bff James (see: backstabber who slept with GotU’s first wife)
+Revenge-seeking goddess begins unleashing deadly, also revenge-seeking titan
+There’s some kidnapping and fighting
+Remember cheating wench? She is needed to help save people
+More jealousy and tension
+To top it all off, Kate falls right into revenge-seeking goddess’s trap
Lovely. Can you see why their relationship might have, you know, a few troubles?
And through it all, there’s a dawning understanding. Henry isn’t afraid to love Kate, he’s afraid to let her love him. Because what if she changes her mind—humans, people in general, do this all the time. It’s difficult for someone, who was both happy and madly in love with his arranged bride and was betrayed—countless times, I might add—by the same woman, to trust in everlasting, triumph-over-evil-and-stuff love. Once I got that, everything sort of clicked.
I began rooting for these two more than your average soccer mom in the stands.
More than that, I began to realize there was no need to hate on the tests themselves—which seemed so odd and misplaced when you consider the gods and their mischievous/evil/sly/rape-a-million/sextastic places in mythology. I do think the synopsis can be a little misleading in that they seemed like they were going to be action-packed tests. But these tests are common, eons-old human weaknesses—Kate recognizes them as something specific—that are logical impediments to godhood. What I find a clever play with irony is that these tests are designed to separate the gods from those weaknesses, and yet all of them consistently fall prey to them. They are riddled with human flaws as well as values. They’ve become so human and almost ordinary, it’s almost as if they’ve lost their formidability. Because they have emotions, they can’t escape acting on them. Is it better to have gods who can understand the scope of our emotion or judge mercilessly without the slightest inkling of what we’re capable of doing, saying, and thinking based on what we feel?
Yes, I got all deep with this. I’ve been known to do that after I’ve smoked something pleasant.
The tests are more about balance. It’s the other gods saying can you override your emotional urges to do your task thoroughly and with consistent success? Can you balance your godly duties with your human heart? You’ve been chosen, but can you handle it in spite of what you may have to deal with along the way?
None of the gods are punished for succumbing to their emotions except Hera. Because she failed to do what she had vowed to do, failed to do her task without bias and malice, and all together neglected it. However, while Hera’s a lying sack of revenge balls, there’s so much more to her character as well. It’s sad. Every millennium, another betrayal by Zeus. Another blatant infidelity and show of disrespect. Another new child showing up that isn’t hers. A betrayal by one of those she considered sister. Repeated rejection from someone she’s convinced is the love of her life. Seeing that person happily decide to marry someone else. Can you blame a vindictive cow like her for snapping? For saying to hell with all of you, I’m going rogue baby?
Hera may have blame on one shoulder, but it lands on any one of Zeus’s slutty appendages as well. His pride, his stubbornness, even misogynist undertones is the cause; Hera’s wrath is the effect. And yet he isn’t completely bad either. The king of the gods is just severely flawed. He’s desperately trying to cancel out the spiraling effects of Hera’s turned allegiance and his own mistakes, while trying to save the planet from certain destruction. The burden falls squarely on him, and he may be the only one who can make the cut. He’s necessary, because he’s the one who makes all the hard decisions and accepts being hated for it.
Which brings me to The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter.
Ok, So What Had Happened Was: With a titan on the brink of escape, already capable of mass destruction, everyone is feeling the pressure and is growing more desperate. There’s an Olympus-wide understanding that a battle is to be fought, else the Olympians face annihilation. The lesser gods are cowering in their corners of the world and refuse to help fight. Hera/Calliope is more diabolical than ever. And Kate is anxious to escape the clutches of the god-queen who stole her from under everyone’s noses, because it’s not just her or Hades/Henry’s life on the line anymore; there’s someone else she means to protect. But Cronus, with his creepy lobsession, is unwilling to let Kate go, and Calliope is even more eager to torture the living screams out of her. And Henry is blind to the deception of his brother, the king of the gods, who knows precisely what Kate’s predicament is and how her future will end up. Her death will trigger loyalties, and the terror of Henry, to his mind, and Aphrodite/Ava is along for the ride in the deceitmobile.
One thing I’ve learned to love about Kate is her self-deprecating manner. She’s well-aware of her limitations and has no illusions as to her still-forming godly capabilities. She just chooses to do stupid stuff anyway, and most often times rashly, because she’d rather be doing than feeling helpless. No one at least tries to tell her she can be the lookout. She’s never included in Plan Save The World, and therefore runs off to try to do the noble thing. A martyr to the nth degree is our Kate, and everyone basically accepts that, including Kate. But between her impulsiveness and temper, sometimes she comes out with a valid point. And I liked that there are a couple moments in The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter where her plans and thoughts didn’t totes publicly demean her intelligence, as they sometimes tend to do.
Of course, an obvious highlight is the surge of marital love between Kate and Henry that has taken forever to arise throughout the series. I love yous are thrown around with feeling, and we’ve got some snuggling with purpose, kissing, comforting, and, yes, action in the bedroom, hurrah! Carter did a pleasant job making their dynamic happy and soothing while still having both characters acknowledge and prepare for the seriousness of their situation. In fact, to show how far they’ve come, they share their fears with each other, knowing full well that while they’re a team, there’s a great risk involved. Especially when both are committing to plans that keeps the harm to the other to a minimal. There’s that struggle between protect and be protected.
And oh, Nick fighting with a stick! THOSE FINAL FEW CHAPTERS. As someone who has grown to love and understand many of the characters, I had fun during the battle sequence even as I prayed for their non-demise. Which just goes to show I should stop expecting things, especially when it comes to the living or deathness of my favorite characters, because, story of my life, SOMETHING HAPPENS ANWAY. Like contracting some mysterious illness, getting eaten by a silver wolf, or stabbed by a god-killing weapon. The usual. Pure disbelief is the best I can explain my reaction followed by gut-wrenching despair. And yet, there was a small, rebellious piece of my treacherous brain that understood Carter’s move. Hated it, but understood.
This death gave everybody pause. In terms of their emotional response, which isn’t too spoilery, I don’t think anyone of them believed that one of their own could actually die. It was a risk, a possibility in the back of their heads, but none of them fully accepted the reality until it was, completely, a reality. To have been with each other for eons upon eons, and to see one of their own fall, caused a rupturing of shock in each god and goddess, even the villains, which had everyone doing an emotional double take. It didn’t matter how they felt about this person. This person had seen countless eons with them, and embodies something, as they all do, so precious and essential to not only human life, but their own lives as well.
This is essentially why I love this series. On the surface, the writing is mediocre, the depth is hard to see, and the characters are elusive and difficult to understand. But I’m like a reading archaeologist, ladies and bros, and I excavated so many lovable aspects. Some of you may be looking at this post wondering why I’m hitting that cray button, but I’ll be happy if even one other person looks at this series like I do, if even one other person looks this series up after this.
As a whole, I’m happy this series is over. Nothing else really needs to be said or done. Everything is just kind of the way it should be, and it ended in a way that made me positive I really, really like this series. It may not contain perfect books, but they’re good books filled with a story that is an interesting, relatively unique spin on the classic Hades/Persephone tale.
Have you read The Goddess Test trilogy? Oh, word? Who’s your favorite character(s) then? What’s something that surprised you the most in one or any of the books? Would you want some sort of spin-off series? Make sure to write spoilery at the beginning of your comment, if necessary. Otherwise let’s get some talky talk rolling.