Thursday, July 4, 2013

Review: Persephone by Kaitlin Bevis

There are worse things than death, worse people too

The “talk” was bad enough, but how many teens get told that they’re a goddess? When her mom tells her, Persephone is sure her mother has lost her mind. It isn’t until Boreas, the god of winter, tries to abduct her that she realizes her mother was telling the truth. Hades rescues her, and in order to safely bring Persephone to the Underworld he marks her as his bride. But Boreas will stop at nothing to get Persephone. Despite her growing feelings for Hades, Persephone wants to return to the living realm. Persephone must find a way to defeat Boreas and reclaim her life.

Review: Greek mythology has survived despite the years and people are as fascinated by it now as they were then. (Minus the worship part)

One of the stories that intrigues people the most is the one of Hades and Persephone, which Kaitlin Bevis rewrites in her thrilling novel Persephone.

The book starts out strong, with strange happenings around Persephone's everyday life and her conviction that she was going insane. Frost appeared out of nowhere, people acted weirdly around her, and it felt like someone was watching her. I was hooked from then.

One aspect of the novel that I didn't like very much was Persephone herself. She was a little too naive for someone her age, although it makes sense in context. She's very sheltered, as the book demonstrates in the first few pages. Another part of Persephone's personality I didn't like was her shallowness. What I do like about the main character is her stubbornness. She refuses to be cowed by little things like the god of the Underworld, or dead people, or silly little reapers. That kind of tenacity is admirable in a person, fictional or not.

Hades was a difficult character to tackle simply because of all the history that comes with his name. Persephone is a Greek goddess as well, but by making her a reincarnation with no memories, Bevis had to opportunity to create her own character. Hades the god? She had to follow a few rules.

I like and dislike how she didn't portray Hades as the bad guy. He was very kind and considerate of his subjects. Sure he had darker parts of his personality, but overall he was a reasonable guy. And I'm glad he wasn't the "bad boy" Persephone reforms as they fall in love. I like the Hades from this book a lot. But Hades the Greek god was ruthless and had the kindest heart. I was excited to see the contradiction in his character and not finding that prevented me from loving the Hades from this book.

Hades was still amazing, though. Great character.

This tends to happen a lot to me, but I just adored the setting. It would've been so easy for Bevis to create a cliche dark and gloomy underworld but she really rocked her world building. The afterlife was like life, but the jobs people had were about making themselves happy, not rich. Even Persephone opened up a little garden shop because she likes flowers. It's a very thoughtful afterlife, and remains true to mythology with Tartarus, the rivers, and the Elysian Fields. 

The plot seems flimsy in retrospect, but while reading, I couldn't put this book down. There's a sense of suspense on every single page and so many things keep happening that I refused to do anything except read this delightful book. It's a great book for summer vacation and Persephone will keep you hanging until the very last word.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

1 comment:

  1. Lovely review, Julie! I feel like I know everything I need to know about this book now. :) I've read quite a few variations and retellings based on the Hades and Persephone myth, but it manages to draw me in every time, regardless. I guess I just have a thing for greek mythology. Although this wasn't a perfect read for you, I'm glad you enjoyed it overall. Lovely review!