all of the splendour of spring bends to her will.
But this floral maiden also sends shudders of fear
with one delicate footstep through all of hell.
She reigns over the birth of flowers and gentle beings,
raises baby birds in her lap, and with fawns she plays.
She reigns over demons and demise alike
and before her fury, even Death himself pales.
The Greek myth of Hades and Persephone is strangely one that I’m repeatedly drawn to, given that their story begins with a kidnapping. However, something about the power in Persephone becoming Goddess of the Spring and Goddess of Death is oddly inspiring. And the gentleness and compassion shown by the King of the Underworld is horribly romantic in a fantasy setting.
Over this past year, I found myself picking up different versions of this same story, all inspired by the myth of Hades and Persephone. While each of these three tales varies pretty drastically in their execution and take on some very generous creative liberties, they each hold some… addictive qualities.
My book of choice is always a high fantasy with lots of romance. However, these three books introduced me to a type of story I didn’t know interested me: one full of socialites, spice, killers, and modern settings. If you’re like me and prefer reading of times without phones or even running water and desire a more charming love interest, bear with me for these because they do not disappoint.
A Touch of Darkness
by Scarlett St. Clair | published May 23, 2019
The series that started it all for me. In craving more of the sweet and spicy love of this Hades and Persephone, I picked up the following two books on this list.
While Hades is a nightclub owner and Persephone is a student studying journalism, this retelling most closely follows their myth, which I greatly appreciate. Hades actually is the ruler of the Underworld in this trilogy and, after making a bargain with Persephone, forms a contract to make her keep coming back. One that could keep her there forever—but would that be so horrible?
At one point in this scandalous slow-burn, Hades shows up at Persephone’s apartment in pajamas to, for a very out-of-character moment, bake cookies together. Need I say more?
by Katee Robert | published June 1, 2021
An unusual twist on the setting of Olympus is a high society ruled by the Olympians. Each god’s title is inherited after the death or retirement of the previous title owner. That means this story brims with socialite and political drama.
Now, there’s a reason this book has swept the internet for its spice. And I fell victim to the hype. After her surprise engagement to Zeus, announced by her controlling mother, Persephone finds herself running to the forbidden undercity and into the arms of the God of Death. I had never read a book quite like this, and it’s definitely not a story for everyone. But it was certainly entertaining.
Promises and Pomegranates
by Sav R. Miller | published August 10, 2021
A mafia romance theme on top of the Hades and Persephone trope was, to be honest, a bit off-putting at first. When reading a book based on a Greek myth, you might expect it to have heavy Grecian inspiration. Rather, this loose retelling was a kind of half-baked version with the only element tying it to the myth being the initial events of the plot.
With the weird plot twist lacking substance and the character development lacking in general, what interested me most in this story was the intimacy between Elena and Kal. If you’re looking for an easy read with, let’s face it, plenty of cringe, this isn’t too bad.