CBR14 Bingo: Adapted (Rachel Smythe’s modern take on the Greek myths – and obviously especially Hades and Persephone is so cleverly done)
So, searching my blog and Goodreads to see what I wrote about Lore Olympus, my current web-comic obsession, I discovered that after finishing volume one in November last year, all I did was leave a two-sentence comment on Goodreads. If I recall correctly, I was pretty solidly burned out last winter, so I’m amazed I posted any reviews in the final months of the year.So what’s Lore Olympus about, and why did I seek out the webcomic and read an additional hundred and twenty issues after finishing volume 3? Rachel Smythe has taken the entire pantheon of the Greek gods and reimagined them brilliantly.
The story begins when Kore, the young goddess of spring, who has been kept extremely sheltered in the mortal world for her entire short life so far, comes to Olympus to study. Her mother, Demeter, has reluctantly agreed to let her go, on the condition that she stays with Artemis, who is known for her chastity and because Kore, or Persephone as she is sometimes known, has received a scholarship via TGOEM, The Goddesses of Eternal Maidenhood (currently consisting of Artemis, Hestia and Athena, but always thrilled to get another member). The innocent Kore ends up at a party at Zeus and Hera’s mansion, where Hades is overheard by Aphrodite as describing the young goddess of spring as even more beautiful than the goddess of love, and obviously, Aphrodite takes offense. She orders her son, Eros, to get Kore very drunk and plant her in Hades’ car, hoping that this will cause both the maiden and the very serious god of the Underworld some difficulties. Instead, Hades takes our drunken heroine home to sleep it off (he lives alone in a very large, empty house with many dogs he’s adopted). There’s clearly a mutual attraction between them, but Kore is far too drunk for anything to happen. Hades does gift her a beautiful fur coat that Hera once rejected as a gift.
Hades is appalled when he is told by Hera that Kore/Persephone is only nineteen years old (while the gods don’t really age after a certain point, she is actually just out of adolescence and raised almost exclusively in the company of women). As Hades is literally millennia old, he’s not exactly going to make a move on a veritable child. Kore is mortified that she got drunk and had to have help from Hades, and when she discovers that he has a girlfriend (his assistant, the very bitchy nymph Minthe). And there’s that whole pesky maidenhood promise she made in return for her scholarship. They both squash any pants feelings far down, but develop a flirty friendship.
Artemis tries not to be too overprotective of her new roommate, but unfortunately, her distraction and Kore’s innocence and inexperience lead to her being taken advantage of by one of the more unscrupulous and selfish gods early on. Led to believe that she’s overreacting when she gets upset, she instead blames herself for the assault and refuses to tell anyone about it (Smythe is very good about trigger warnings throughout the comic, but doesn’t shy away from a lot of heavy and important themes). It makes her skittish and uncomfortable around most of the male gods, yet she always feels safe around Hades.
Hera, being the goddess of hearth and home, and blesser of human marriages doesn’t entirely agree with her old friend Demeter’s way of sheltering Kore/Persephone. She is fully aware how promiscuous most of the male and many of the female gods are (she is after all married to the biggest adulterer in the pantheon), so she decides to test Hades’ feelings by orchestrating an internship for Kore in the Underworld. She knows her old friend has been lonely for eons and really doesn’t approve of the stormy and often emotionally abusive relationship he has with Minthe. So she makes sure he’ll see much more of the goddess of spring than he was planning on.
The rest of my long-ass review is here.
Bingo #8: Series (Be the Serpent), Adapted (this), Heart (Heartbreaker), Monster (Monstress), New (Ruby Fever)
Bingo #9 (diagonal): Snake (Slippery Creatures), Adapted (this), Star (She Who Became the Sun), Birds (An Enchantment of Ravens), Elephant (Her Unexpected Roommate)