Author: Aimée Carter
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: March 27, 2012
Series: Goddess Test #2
Links: Amazon | Goodreads
Source: Publicist (ARC)
Kate Winters has won immortality. But if she wants a life with Henry in the Underworld, she'll have to fight for it.
Becoming immortal wasn't supposed to be the easy part. Though Kate is about to be crowned Queen of the Underworld, she's as isolated as ever. And despite her growing love for Henry, ruler of the Underworld, he's becoming ever more distant and secretive. Then, in the midst of Kate's coronation, Henry is abducted by the only being powerful enough to kill him: the King of the Titans. As the other gods prepare for a war that could end them all, it is up to Kate to save Henry from the depths of Tartarus. But in order to navigate the endless caverns of the Underworld, Kate must enlist the help of the one person whom she would really rather not meet. Henry's first wife, Persephone.
Kate in this book is: insecure, codependent, maudlin, petulant, jealous, desperate, idiotic.
These things are fine with me - in small doses at low moments of inner struggle or whatever. We all have our times of self-doubt and insecurity and we all let it make us a little bit crazy once in a while. It could have provided some decent character depth to have a heroine who went through some heart-wrenching moments of self-doubt. But this "I'm not good enough" rampage went on for about 95% of the story. By the time Kate had (mostly) stopped acting like a hysterical lunatic, I was more than ready to hand her a pack of razor blades and high five her in her face.
Some words of advice to Kate: The end of the world is imminent. Please give more focus to that than to the fact that your spouse isn't raining attention down on you. Also, affection might not come so easily when you spent the last six months with another guy and your needy, jealous insecurity paired with a barrage of "Do you even want me here?" is really unattractive. STOP IT.
Kate's character seemed like she had herself pretty together in the first book (despite some second wife syndrome stuff she had going on) only to be an absolute mess in this one. She also spends the entirety of the book being told by others about the motivations and feelings of Henry or Persephone. So when Henry praises her ability to understand people and their motivations, I had to laugh. Derisively.
I also want to say that, while the name changes of the gods didn't bother me in the last book, I found them to be really confusing in this one. This is likely because in the first book their roles weren't so open and direct. In book two they're more prominent. Since their names are different and don't really provide any clue as to which god they represent (and, let's face it, the personalities of the gods in this series are not exactly all in accordance with the original versions), I had to constantly check the index in the back of the book to remind myself who each person is. I get the idea behind changing the names to fit a modern world, but found it to be a hassle.
Kate really affected my ability to enjoy the story in Goddess Interrupted. Her self-pity ate up most of the text of book two, which is nearly 300 pages, and that was just really disappointing. The plot outside of Kate's drama could have been fairly entertaining on its own - if one can put aside the mythology inaccuracies in this series and just enjoy it for what it is, which is more of a reimagined twist than a retelling. There was plenty of conflict to be had in the plot without throwing in relationship issues and a heroine who acts like a petulant child. It also doesn't help that there are multiple instances of girls competing with one another for a guy's affections (Kate vs. Persephone, Ava vs. Persephone, Calliope vs. Kate). I don't like seeing this notion that women are competition rather than companions perpetuated, particularly in young adult literature. Even the strongest girl-girl friendship, Kate and Ava, displays moments of jealousy and feelings of inadequacy on Kate's part because Ava is prettier than her.
Also, the ending? Cliffhanger. And not the resolution-with-something-thrown-in-to-make-you-think kind. The kind that ends right in the middle of a scene where something big is happening. The story was finally getting somewhere and then it was all, "Stay tuned next year!", and then I'm pretty sure that it flipped me off. It might as well have. Because this felt strongly like a filler book that exists just to draw this thing out into a trilogy.
Would I recommend it? I guess that depends on what you like. If you liked the first book, prefer that the romantic relationship elements of a story are the main focus, and don't mind the sort of character insecurity that I took issue with, then you might like Goddess Interrupted. If you're like me and prefer that the action parts of the plots of fantasy or adventure novels take the forefront and that the relationships happen as an aside, then you'd probably also find yourself a bit frustrated with this novel.