YA Friday: The Goddess Legacy by Aimee Carter

Friday, August 31, 2012

Title: The Goddess Legacy
Author: Aimee Carter
Series: Goddess Test 2.5
Genre: Mythology, fantasy, YA
Publisher: Harlequin Teen, 2012
Source: NetGalley
Read for: Review

The Goddess Legacy gives a more in-depth acquaintance with five of the gods and goddesses we met in The Goddess Test and Goddess, Interrupted. Before Kate arrived on the scene, Hera, Aphrodite, Persephone, Hermes, and Henry had millennia of history and experiences, many of which explain some of their behavior in the Goddess Test books.

I had a mixed experience with The Goddess Legacy. On one hand, I really enjoyed the background of the characters that are only touched upon as an ensemble cast in the main books of the series. However, some of the motivations and actions of the characters seemed really immature and one-dimensional, which decreased the enjoyment I derived from reading about their experiences.

Hera's story focused on how she became married to Zeus, her relationship with Henry, and how she subsequently became bitter and crazy. It was probably my favorite of the collection despite the fact that I really don't like her as a character. I think it was more enjoyable to me because she was a complex character and her situation was terrible. It explained quite a bit about how she became the person she was and her motivations.

Aphrodite's story was about her complex love affairs with Ares and Hephaestus. I enjoyed the aspect of Aphrodite's relationship with Hephaestus, because their mythological marriage was always confusing to me. However, I was bothered by her selfish attitude toward relationships and her claim that she has to be constantly seducing different men and being in new relationships because it is her "nature." I know that is part of mythology and that the Greek gods and goddesses are not exactly moral pillars; however, I think that is an awful message to portray to the teenagers reading this book. I can just see someone saying, "Oh, I had to cheat on my boyfriend because that is just the way I am; I can't be happy with just one guy." I also was extremely bothered by Aphrodite's voice. I know why Aimee Carter chooses to portray her as a flippant and silly girl, but she still irked me.

Persephone's story was another so-so experience for me. It described her marriage to Henry and her subsequent affair with Adonis. I enjoyed her voice -- possibly in part because it was a change from Aphrodite's annoying tone. She is a character that is much-discussed in the other books in the series, but we don't get a great deal of face time with her, so it was interesting to be inside her head. However, I felt that many of her motivations were shallow and her actions unreasonable. Everything seemed very abrupt with Persephone -- something would happen and she would have no patience for it, immediately drawing conclusions that were drastic and affected those around her. The plot movements seemed a bit forced to me for that reason. There was something slightly plastic about her tale -- it just didn't quite seem believable. And of course it is fantasy -- I'm talking about the believability of an individual reacting to situations the way Persephone reacted.

Hermes' story was probably my favorite. It had a sort of Robin Hood feel to it -- in trouble with Zeus for his part in Persephone's problems with Henry, Hermes goes off to find the reason why the minor god and goddess Selene and Helios have disappeared to. He feels drawn to a young English girl who leads a band of boys in the woods hoping for survival. As Hermes becomes close to Tuck and her friends, he gains a sense of family that has been missing from his life on Olympus for a long time. In addition, he gains the insight needed to protect the gods on Mount Olympus from fading into oblivion. I enjoyed Hermes' voice -- it seemed realistic for a male voice, not fixating on the same problems and annoyances that a female narrator would probably notice. I also loved the change in setting and Tuck's character. I thought this story was a unique and refreshing addition to The Goddess Legacy.

Henry's story was so-so for me. There was nothing in particular that bothered me about it, but I wasn't particularly interested in it, either. He discusses his emotions about his failed marriage with Persephone, as well as how he feels about the girls who do not pass "The Goddess Test," but most of this is summarized in the previous books in the series, and as Henry's story is the only one not told in the first person, it doesn't seem particularly informational. One aspect of the story that was a bit more interesting was when Henry's feelings toward Kate before meeting her are discussed, giving us a better idea of where he stands despite the fact that he can be cold toward her.

Overall, while there were certainly stories I enjoyed more than others, I think The Goddess Legacy contributes to this series by giving more background into pivotal characters and their motivations. I think any fan of the series will find this book important to read in addition to the main trilogy. However, certain of the characters irritated me, leaving me not 100% satisfied with the book.

3 stars

Warnings: Descriptions of affairs, a few un-detailed scenes of sensuality, moderate violence

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