Every girl who had taken the test has died.
Now it’s Kate’s turn.
It’s always been just Kate and her mom – and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate’s going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear that her mother won’t live past the fall.
Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld – and if she accepts his bargain, he’ll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.
Kate is sure he’s crazy – until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she’ll become Henry’s future bride and a goddess.
If she fails… (GoodReads description)
ISBN: 0373210264, pb, 293pp, 2011, Harlequin Teen, YA, Mythology, Fantasy, Romance
This is a series that hasn’t been available at my local library for a couple of years. I was finally able to obtain it through my library’s Inter-Library Loan services and read the whole series in one go this past January.
As a general rule, I love trilogies — not too short, not too long — but I HATE it when the second book ends on a cliffhanger and you have to wait another year for the last book to come out. That’s Aimee Carter’s series in a nutshell. Oh, and I’m looking at you too, Kiera Cass. You know what I’m talking about.
So, to clarify first, this is not actually a modern-day retelling of the Persephone myth. This is more or less a sequel. Thousands of years after Persephone has left Hades, he has decided he can no longer bear the burden of ruling the Underworld alone and the pantheon of gods has designed a series of tests to find his successor. The problem is that someone is sabotaging the girls and they’re all dying.
Kate has just moved to town with her dying mother and a spur of the moment decision leads to a bargain that will change her life forever. She agrees to undertake the tests and Henry will keep her mum alive in the interim.
Kate is so mature for her age and has stepped up (compared to other teens her age) in the care-taking of her mother as she navigates hospitalization and impending death. Maybe it’s because Kate and her mother are able to have some “good days” that makes the story that much more beautiful and bittersweet.
And I haven’t even begun talking about Henry, Carter’s modern-day Hades, or the pantheon of deities who will put forth the tests for Kate to pass. Henry is gorgeous. There’s also Kate’s human friend, James, whom she leaves behind. So plenty of “yum” for the girls to admire. 😉
I was really nervous, this being a release by Harlequin, about the possibility of sexual content. It’s a YA book, after all. So, I was pleasantly surprised that although there is one moment in the book, it’s not gratuitous, and Carter doesn’t dwell on the scene. And no, despite the book’s cover, it doesn’t take place outdoors.
This is a super-quick read and Carter’s writing style is pretty addictive. I strongly recommend you get the whole series before you begin. Carter sets up the sequel fairly well – she’s also done some e-book novellas that take place between the books. The cover’s attractive but perhaps a bit misleading. I like that the model seems to be same for the whole series. I’d like to see more of the opposite gender on the books (after all, isn’t it all about the guys?) Seriously.
I liked that Kate stays true to herself. I love her devotion to her mum and how her upbringing has (at least in part) given her a sporting chance for the tests which will surprise you. They’re not the Herculean labors you’d imagine. I like that Henry isn’t overtly sexualized. He’s certainly attractive, and he’s got the upper-hand, but he isn’t pressuring Kate at all, which would give teenage girls the wrong message about guys.
I really liked it. 4 stars!