Friday, November 16, 2012

Persephone by Kaitlin Bevis

Persephone : 5/5 stars

I love mythology and I am especially fascinated by Hades and Persephone's myth. Therefore I was really, really excited about this book but at the same time, wary because I've already read a few modern rewritings of this myth and they were downright terrible (The Goddess Test, anyone? Diddn't think a book could make me feel that angry).
And this is undoubtedly the best rewriting I've read so far.

The characters were very well-written and felt real. Persephone doesn't care for being a damsel in distress and takes matter into her own hands. Her reaction to the whole "hey you're a goddess" is not downplayed at all, like it usually is, and quite realistic I've found. I loved Cassandra, with her sass and her always rectifying Hades - she made me giggle out loud. Hades is alright but quite different from what I'd thought : the author slightly changed the myth. This Hades is not really the "bad guy" of the story, he actually "kidnaps" Persephone so that she can stay safe in the Underworld from the real bad guy, a psychopath and serial rapist : Boreas, God of Winter. At first, it slightly unsettled me but I realised that I am not sure I really want to read a love story with an abusive and pedophile Hades... So that's actually for the better!
Speaking of the love story, this one mercifully avoided the classic "insta-love" situation. Persephone seems particularly unimpressed by Hades at first and only learns to like him and eventually love him with time, upon seeing how he rules on the Underworld. Also, I found quite mature how Persephone handled her own feelings for him. It was really refreshing compared to the cheesy stuff you usually see in YA.
Another aspect of the story I really liked : the transformation of the Gods in the modern world. Honestly, that was just GREAT. It was just as good as Percy Jackson. The more I read about it, the more I thought "omg this is awesome, THIS IS AWESOME.". Everything just made a lot of sense and there were no loose ends or discrepancies.
The writing style was clear and fluent. The dialogues were quite witty and made me giggle sometimes and the Twilight references under the name "Dusk" really amused me.
Another aspect of the book I really appreciated, speaking of Twilight, is that they never downplayed the importance of the age difference between Hades and Persephone. It didn't feel like it was just a momentary hindrance to increase the sexual tension and anticipation, it felt like it was a real problem that Hades (and the author) carefully considered so that it wouldn't be creepy. Honestly, these days I've read so much YA where seriously wrong and unhealthy relationship were glorified that I just have to highlight how this book was a breath of fresh air compared to them because it avoided these pitfalls.
It is a great book : I recommend it to anyone. I am so glad it didn't disappoint me and I really can't wait for the second installment in the series!

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