Title: Goddess Interrupted
Author: Aimee Carter
Subtitle: The Goddess Test Series: Book II
Pub Date: March 27, 2012
As I started Goddess Interrupted, a nagging question kept distracting me. It wasn't the question you might expect, like OMG, what will happen between Kate and Henry or, what will it be like for Kate to be queen of the underworld? Although I'll admit, those questions were important. But the most important question was, will it suffer from second book syndrome? You see, I've eagerly anticipated so many second books in recent series, having been blown away by the first. But almost universally, they've failed to live up to my expectations.
I had my fingers crossed that Goddess Interrupted wouldn’t be another second novel that ultimately felt like a place holder, a way of bridging the gap between the first novel and the third that doesn’t hold as much magic as either. Fellow readers, feel free to get excited. Goddess Interrupted is the rare second novel that forges a new story which flows organically from where The Goddess Test left off.
The novel opens with Kate returning to the Underworld after six months spent traveling the world with James (Hermes) as her companion. The fact she spent so much time with him will prove a sore spot for Henry, but it’s clear that Kate is only interested in her husband. That’s a good thing, because their relationship is constantly tested throughout the novel, by expected and unexpected challenges.
Persephone and Calliope (Hera) each threaten the relationship in their own way. Kate responds in believable confusion, vacillating between hope and fear that she and Henry will have a happy ending. As if it weren’t enough that she has to deal with the fact that her husband has lingering feelings for his ex-wife, who’s also her sister, Calliope is back and bent on revenge. Worst of all, the slumbering Titans have been awakened. The fight that ensues between the gods and their father is full of tension, and incorporates Carter’s new take on the creation myth of the Titans and the gods.
While the war is interesting, my real interest is in Kate and Henry’s relationship. Luckily, the war interweaves with their evolving relationship, as opposed to functioning as a separate plot. Though at times I was exasperated at Kate’s desire to save Henry at all costs, while he doesn’t show her the same devotion, I was okay with knowing that Henry’s issues prevent both the reader and Kate from fully seeing his feelings about her.
There are slight missteps in the novel, but they are overshadowed by the high stakes plot and the appeal of our main character. At times Kate seems unevenly characterized in her understanding of Henry, at one moment sounding much wiser and more experienced than she is, then soon after reverting to relying on Ava (Aphrodite) for advice. But any inconsistency can also be explained by the incredibly challenging nature of Kate’s relationship with Henry.
I also would have liked to get more of a visual sense of the Underworld. While I understand that in the world of the novel, every individual gets her own Underworld, we really only see the afterlives of Persephone and Ingrid (one of the girls who died being tested). Though apparently there are many rocky caverns in the Underworld, I still had trouble visually linking the afterlife spaces with the barren spaces. Without this visualization, it’s difficult for me as a reader to fully grasp what Kate’s life will be like when she starts functioning as Queen. Will she be interacting with the dead, or just staying in the palace and avoiding the endless rocky caves? Lastly, I was confused by the distance between Kate and her mother Diane (Demeter) in this novel. The Goddess Test alluded to the fact that their relationship would change somewhat now that Kate knows her mother is a goddess, but their relationship was appealing. While they still interact in this book, the closeness that bound them in the first book seems diminished.
In the next novel, I’m hoping love will finally blossom between Henry and Kate, without the obstacles of Persephone, tests or secrets. I’m also hoping that the Titan War will have a twist, so that we don’t see the gods and gods once again fighting the impossible fight throughout the next novel. But since Carter clearly knows how to navigate her fictional universe and create a new experience in each novel, I have faith that the third book will be as unpredictable and exciting as Goddess Interrupted. Until then, I’ll be awaiting The Goddess Hunt, the novella about Kate’s time in Greece being released on March 1st.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for review purposes from netgalley.com