CBR13Bingo: Mythic (Hades & Persephone)
Well, this book certainly lives up to its title – it is hot as heck. And I’m quite fond of Hades/Persephone retellings since they’re basically the OG grumpy/sunshine, so this was fun and quick read, if not everything I wanted.
From the moment Persephone is dumped (naked) into Hades’ lap, it’s a steamy ride. Neither knows how she ended up there, and both are annoyed about it, but once it becomes clear that Persephone’s stuck in Hades’ realm for a while, they both try to make the best of it. For Persephone, that’s exploring the palace and trying to learn how to control her powers, while for Hades it’s mostly… ignoring her. There’s all sorts of reasons why he shouldn’t give in to the attraction between them, but he also can’t resist helping Persephone with the deity training she so sorely needs. But Hades is bound to hell and Persephone will be leaving any day now, so what sort of relationship would work between them anyway?
“She was strong, and independent, and she would take what she wanted and everyone else could go to hell. Another hell.”
Persephone is adorable, though that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a spine of steel. She’s well aware of what most of the other deities are like and so she’s deadset on managing what little power she has. Hades is all muscles and stern looks and territoriality, but he just melts around Persephone. I loved how his focus was on helping her with her powers and how proud he was of her when she made progress. The author neatly navigates the problematic aspects of their relationship, though in this case it’s not really a captor/captive vibe. Hades is still aware that there’s a power imbalance and is very clear about their boundaries.
Unlike a lot of retellings which recast the story in another setting, in this case, they’re still straight-up Greek deities, though some bits (such as the fact that Persephone is adopted) are modified. Cerberus was perhaps my favorite. Each head had its own personality, though of course I’m sure everyone’s favorite is Bob, who acts like your general doofus puppers. It is a novella, so it feels silly to ding it on this, but I wanted a little bit more of the romantic development between the two of them. It felt like a lot of growth on Hades’ side for that, while for Persephone this story was more about independence. I’m glad of that, but I would’ve liked a bit more of the romance after that.
Overall, a fun, quick and steamy read, and definitely recommended for someone who’s a fan of mythic romance retellings.