Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Goddess Test

* spoilers *

Kate Winters's life isn't like other teenagers'. Her mother has terminal cancer and she has spent years taking care of her mother through chemo treatments, sickness, and health. Now, the fight is over and her mother's dying wish is to move back to her childhood town. Kate wants to finish high school, but wants to be there for her mom as much as she can. At school, she's the center of attention as a novelty, but no one except odd yet friendly James befriends her. Ava is jealous and tries to play a mean trick on her, but ends up dying instead. Henry, a dark and mysterious stranger, offers to save her in exchange for her fulfilling the role or Persephone to his Hades, who he claims to be. Kate has to decide if he's jut some crazy person or if she should take his offer seriously.

The Goddess Test is honestly kind of a mess. It's very Twilight like with Henry being the dark broody dark creature who just wants to be love with plain Jane Bella/Kate. I actually enjoy Twilight as a guilty pleasure, so I didn't have too big of a problem with that part. Their romance, while based on essentially nothing, was sweet. Kate's all over the place. I like her background taking care of her mother and having to grow up very fast. However, she makes some the dumbest decisions ever. All the other girls to take this test were killed by an unknown person and she thinks it's a great idea to open a random present. Girl, really? I was willing to let a lot of things slide to get my romantic guilty pleasure, but the last quarter of the book just pushed me other the edge.

At the end of the novel, the 7 tests administered to Kate are revealed to be on the 7 deadly sins, which is a Christian concept. These gods predate Christianity by thousands of years and reveled in the 7 deadly sins. They slept with each other, killed people, raped people, went to war, fought over lovers, and a whole slew of other petty, unpious things. As gods, they are above human morality. Suddenly, they hold Christian morals and it becomes earth shattering if Kate wants to eat food or sleep with her soon to be husband, which she was manipulated into doing because good girls don't have sex. Seriously, stop with the slut shaming, which is particularly heavy handed here with Kate's situation and with Ava (Aphrodite), who slept with 2 men who ended up trying to kill each other. It was ruled to be Ava's fault and she was condemned to be ostracized.  It's especially important for teenage girls to know that their sexuality isn't something to be ashamed of. Female sexuality is viewed in the most bizarre way in our society where women who have sex are slutty and dirty, but if they don't they're prudes or frigid. Narratives like this simply reinforce this ridiculous double standard.

The Goddess Test ended up being a ridiculous novel that tells women that their worth is whether or not they have sex. I was on board for a guilty pleasure romance book, but this filled me with rage at its obviously Christian, puritanical message.

My rating: 2/5 fishmuffins

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