Sunday, May 3, 2009

Book Review: Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman

We all think we know the myth. Hades kidnaps Demeter’s daughter Persephone and takes her to the underworld and in her grief, Demeter lets the Earth go barren. Only when Zeus intercedes is Persephone allowed to return for part of each year, thus creating our seasons of spring and summer.

But then comes along RADIANT DARKNESS and with it, Persephone’s chance to set the record straight. You see, in reality, Persephone yearns for her independence from a mother who still sees her as a little girl. Demeter has Persephone locked away in a vale with no men, no humans, and no fun. So when Hades shows up, Persephone takes up his offer of escape eagerly, and without really thinking about the consequences.

This was a very clever and thoughtful spin on the Persephone myth, which even offers up a touching subplot involving a young mother Persephone meets in the underworld and her undying love for the daughter she left behind. I didn’t buy that Persephone and Hades are soul mates though. He’s depicted as a very manipulative, selfish guy (not untypical for men, ha!) and Persephone is so naïve and desperate, she probably would’ve run off with ANY guy who showed up (though maybe that’s the point?). In any case, this is an excellent read for fans of Greek mythology and those who’d like to know more about it.

RADIANT DARKNESS just came out in hardcover.

18 comments:

susan said...

Thanks for the review. Like that the author took a creative spin but the desperate girl wanting the manipulative guy- I'll pass. :-)

NotNessie said...

Ooo.. I had no idea this was about Persephone. I have to read it now, I love Greek mythology.

Alexa said...

Thanks for the review, this sounds a great book. I love greek myths.

Kate said...

Nice review. I really should read up on greek mythology. I know nothing about Persephone :)

infiniteshelf said...

Thanks for the great review! I love everything ancient history and mythology, and I love books inspired by those, but I had never heard of Radiant Darkness. I think I'll try to get my hand on this one!

Taren said...

That sounds really interesting. Like I think everyone else has said, I'm interested in Greek (and Roman) mythology. Also, any book where a familiar tale is changed around and jazzed up is okay by me!

Mari said...

I used to love reading Greek Mythology back in high school but have lapsed and forgotten much. This sounds like an interesting take on it, though.

Amy said...

This does look like a good one!

Nymeth said...

I love Greek mythology! And though I'm not big on the whole concept of soul mates in general, this sounds like a book I'd enjoy.

Insert Book Title said...

It sounds really good. Great review!

Staci said...

I've never really been interested in Greek Mythology but I may have to pick this book up if I see it in the library. Thanks for a great review Lenore!

Rebecca Herman said...

This books sounds interesting but there are mixed reviews and I haven't decided yet if I want to pay HC price.

Reader Rabbit said...

I love Greek Mythology, so I really wanted to read this one...but the whole needy girl falling for the manipulative, jerky guy probably won't be my thing. :) So I'll probably pass.

Great review!

writemeg said...

Sounds like a really interesting and different book! I don't know much about Persephone and Hades, so I'm intrigued. I'll definitely look for it!

Zibilee said...

Sounds kind of interesting, but I really don't like the cover. I might wait until it's out in paperback and then check it out. Great review though.

Anna said...

Didn't you do a Waiting on Wednesday post for this a while back? I've been waiting for your review. I don't know much about mythology, but this one sounds interesting.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Joanne said...

This sounds great! I've been seeing so many books lately that take on aspects of mythology - maybe it's time for me to take a refresher course :P

dissectingperfection said...

Yesss... I had no idea this was from Persephone's point of view. I've always thought that was an untold story just waiting to be told! I have this on my bookshelf and will be reading it soon! Thanks for the review!

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