Henry (previously known as Hades) has released Persephone from their marriage and he has been left alone to rule the Underworld. However it’s too much for him to handle by himself and he is given 100 years to find a replacement wife. Each girl must undergo a series of tests to ascertain her suitability for the role but each time they die before they get to the end. Kate is his last chance. Her mother is dying and she would do anything to have more time to say goodbye.
A lot of people have described this as a retelling of the Persephone myth but it is only inspired by it. In the original myth, Hades fell in love with Persephone and abducted her. Her mother, Demeter was distraught and put all her effort into searching for her, neglecting her duties to tend to crops on earth. Plants stopped growing and people began to starve. Eventually Helios told her what had happened and she went to retrieve her daughter from the Underworld. Hades, fearing he would lose his love forever, tricked Persephone into eating some pomegranate seeds and under the rules of the Fates, those who eat in the Underworld must remain there. Having only eaten a few seeds, a deal was struck that she would spend half the year in the Underworld and half the year on earth. This myth was used to explain away the seasons. Whilst in modern references, she spends winter in the Underworld, originally it would have been summer when droughts hit ancient Greece.
I’ve always thought Hades got a raw deal in mythology, he sounds misunderstood and lonely so I loved the character of Henry. Like I said before, the myths are only a basis for this story so don’t expect them to be the same characters. However, the Greek gods liked nothing more than hiding their identities and playing games with mortal, so it’s not an unbelievable story from that point of view. If you’re a bit of a mythology geek like me you will also enjoy playing Guess the God (answers, conveniently, at the end of the book). There’s enough subtle references to feel like you’re being clever but it’s also an enjoyable story with a girl meets boy angle too. Just don’t take it too seriously.
The sequel, Goddess Interrupted will be available this March and I will be reviewing it next month. There will also be a novella ebook, The Goddess Hunt, which takes place between the two novels.