Battle of the Books

 Abandon                                            VS                                 The Goddess Test

From Goodreads:


Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can’t help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she’s never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.

The Goddess Test:

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 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.

The Breakdown:

Going into the battle Cabot’s Abandon and Carter’s The Goddess Test seem pretty evenly matched. Abandon comes out swinging with its impressive abundance of parental figures. Goddess Test hits back with its less-than-forbidden (down right encouraged) romance.

Both of our challengers are reimaginings of the Hades Persephone myth, where Hades abducts Persephone and brings her to the underworld. After Demeter, Persephone’s mother, causes a terrible drought in her grief Zeus is forced to intercede. He demands Hades release Persephone, but not before Hades tricks Persephone into eating some seeds (typically pomegranate seeds). Persephone is therefore forced to spend part of the year in the Underworld as Hades’ queen.

In Abandon, Cabot has taken a lot of liberties with the mythology, don’t go into this book expecting a faithful retelling. John, the love interest and Hades figure, is only one of many keepers of the underworld (which has multiple entrances and keepers around the world to deal with the amount of souls). Pierce is the troubled and unwilling object of his affection. I liked Pierce, she was spunky, bright, and tough. She was afraid of John and the strange things that began happening all around her after a brush with death. I found both of these things understandable and believeable.Pierce was not the type of heroine who was willing to just glide along in the wake of her love interest taking his word for everything. She was a sacred confused teenager trying her best to work out what was happening to her and keep herself end everyone around her safe. I found her character realistic and refreshing. The story kept me hooked from page one and didn’t let me go until the end.

I also really liked John, dark, brooding, mysterious but still accessible. He was overly protective of Pierce to the point that it seemed excessive at times but once I realized why I understood his reasoning, even if I didn’t entirely agree with him. I like my characters to have motivation; even if I don’t agree with their actions as long as they have a good reason (beyond ‘But she’s a girl and therefore incapable of life’) I can usually get past it. The only thing that I didn’t like about this book was the end; for all the build up of the story the end felt a bit rushed to me. It is a trilogy, however, so I have high hopes for the future.

Carter stays closer to the origins of the story in The Goddess Test (though she does put her own spin Hades and Persephone’s relationship) her Hades is actually Hades (er, Henry)  and she even pulls in some other mythical figures. Her heroine Kate is likeable enough on the surface, but her personality seemed to get both more insufferable and more bland as the book went on. Her treatment of Ava, supposedly her close friend, and her reaction, or lack thereof, to the big reveal at the end of the book cemented my dislike of her.

Beyond that Henry fell flat, I didn’t feel any connection to him, very little chemistry between the two, and in the end didn’t care in the least if they ended up together. It’s hard to take the premise of this book from the blurb alone (Greek gods, life or death tests to become one of them, romance, danger) and make it boring; this book succeeded. The tests were not only NOT remotely life or death, they were so petty and moralizing that they actually made me angry. Seriously **SPOILER ALERT** one of the tests was gluttony, her friends told her that if she wanted to pass it she had to stop eating, she was living in a super special magic mansion and had already been told that she didn’t have to eat because of that. So she stopped eating. Test Passed.**End SPOLIER** If you’re going to test someone on their worthiness to BE A GODDESS, maybe you want to bump up your game a bit.

Final Thoughts:

While not perfect, Abandon emerges as the clear winner and I’m looking forward to the sequel.

The Goddess Test let me down, the overall feeling of the book was dull and preachy. Not a winning combination.

Bonus Points: One of the books I’m most excited about: Jessie Harrell’s Destined comes out on November 17th!! It’s based on the Cupid(Eros)/Psyche myth and sounds amazing. Check out a review here and follow Jessie Harrell on Twitter.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Oh wow – thanks for the shout out!! I love being included among some of the very cool Greek myth stories told this year!


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