Thursday, March 22, 2012

Taking a closer look at retellings of the myth of Persephone

Dear Readers,

Before 5 months ago, I had never read a book on Persephone. Now I've read three. So for a second I'd like to do a compare and contrast and just take a closer look at each of these Persephone novels.

These are the three books on Persephone that I read:

I really enjoyed reading all three of these and have posted my review for all three. To read these reviews, just click on the book title.

I'm going to start out by talking about Emily Whitman's Radiant Darkness because I read this one first and I feel like that's the best starting point. I read this around last December.

Emily published this novel on April 28,2009 with HarperTeen. 

To start out, I love love love this cover. Her intense look captured me from the very beginning. From the moment I saw the cover,  I couldn't wait to read this novel. The cover is why I read this one. 

This one is set in Ancient Greece--Emily didn't mess with the time frame. What she changed in this story was the character of Persephone and her mother Demeter. Demeter was ultra controlling and didn't allow any guys to get close to Persephone, so when Hades showed up it's no wonder she fell in love with him. :) That's change number two, Persephone loved Hades and wanted to go with him to the Underworld. 

This novel kept the original names from the myth of Persephone, the original time frame, and followed the myth really really closely. This was a stand-alone novel.

The Verdict: A beautiful retelling of the same myth that we all grew up hearing. The question this novel raises is: What if Persephone went with Hades because she loved him?

The second one I'm going to talk about is Meg Cabot's Abandon. I read this one a few weeks ago.

Cabot published this one in April 26, 2011 with Point.

I picked this one up because it's by Meg Cabot. And that's enough to get me to read a book. I love her writing style. I like the cover on this one a lot and it's creepy looking. There is a girl lying in this fancy dress with her eyes closed in a really uncomfortable looking position underneath a tagline that says "She knows what it's like to die." How could I pass this up knowing it was Meg Cabot, Persephone, and had a tagline like that?

I couldn't.

First off, this one definitely has a creepier, more paranormal feel than Whitman's novel or the original myth. Secondly, the time frame changed. It's set in modern day United States. Third, the characters names all changed. The main girl's name is Pierce and Hades is now John, not Hades but still a death deity. Pierce has a much more kick-butt attitude than the original myth or Emily's retelling. 

However, it wouldn't be a Meg Cabot novel if it didn't have a kick-butt heroine. Oddly enough, Pierce is also a very loving, kind person.  Pierce was taken to the Underworld because she died, not because John (Hades) took her there. The only problem is she came back to live but he wants her back. Doesn't that send chills down your spine?

This one is the first one in the series and I can't wait to read the sequel, which comes out in May. 

The final one I'm going to talk about is Aimee Carter's The Goddess Test. This one was published in April 19,2011 (so about a week before Meg Cabot's novel) by Harlequin. 

First off, once again with the girl wearing a white 
dress in a creepy position. Except this time her eyes are open and she's surrounded by some type of forest. 

First off, this one is set in modern day United States like Meg Cabot's novel. However, it doesn't have the same creepy paranormal feel as Meg Cabot's novel.  Similar to Meg Cabot's novel, this one uses new names. Persephone is now Kate and Hades is now Henry. 

However, unlike Meg Cabot's novel Henry actually is Hades and the actual Greek gods and goddesses appear within the novel. This one follows the original myth more closely than Meg Cabot's but is definitely reimangined. The Underworld isn't depicted quite like it is in the original myth and the premise of the novel is different. 

Kate is set against a series of tests to decide if she's worthy to be Henry's wife and queen of the underworld. If she passes, she'll take her new fate. And if she fails, well she's not actually sure what's going to happen.

This one is also a series. The sequel comes out March 27,2012 and luckily I got an arc of this one. I'll be reading it soon. :)

The Wrap-up: I loved all three of these. I couldn't really pick which one I liked best. I really liked all three novels and couldn't pick one as my favorite. All three offered something very different. 


  1. Brodi Ashton"s book Everneath has alot to do with the Persephone Myth with a twist. It's also set in modern day and is an excellent book. It's got me wanting to read more about the myth or books having to do with it. I'm trying to wait patiently for the next book without alot of success. I think that you would like it. Thanks for letting me know about the other books. ;-)

    1. I haven't read that one yet, and so I didn't feel like I could adequately compare it to others, but I'm dying to read that one.

      Thanks for commenting and you are most welcome.

  2. That's too funny, because Solstice by PJ Hoover is also about the Persephone/Hades myth! It seems more similar to Abandon: the love twist on the myth. But it's not available right now, maybe a publisher is looking at it or something?

    1. I'll have to check that one out. Books about Persephone/Hades seem to be a popular theme right now.

      Thanks for commenting!


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