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Audiobook Review: A Touch of Darkness (Hades & Persephone #1)

Published June 30th 2020 

Author: Scarlett St. Clair

Narrator: Meg Sylvan

Audiobook Length: 11 hours

Persephone is the Goddess of Spring by title only. The truth is, since she was a little girl, flowers have shriveled at her touch. After moving to New Athens, she hopes to lead an unassuming life disguised as a mortal journalist.

Hades, God of the Dead, has built a gambling empire in the mortal world and his favorite bets are rumored to be impossible.

After a chance encounter with Hades, Persephone finds herself in a contract with the God of the Dead and the terms are impossible: Persephone must create life in the Underworld or lose her freedom forever.

The bet does more than expose Persephone’s failure as a goddess, however. As she struggles to sow the seeds of her freedom, love for the God of the Dead grows – and it’s forbidden.

I actually picked up this book simply because it featured Hades and Persephone and skipped over the synopsis. Going into this book blind was interesting; as I had no idea, what kind of story it would turn out to be, except that it would be the start of a series. When I mentioned to my friend that I was starting this, she said it was actually a featured novel that went around on TikTok/BookTok. I was even more anxious to see what it was about and if it would be a series worth continuing. It was nothing like I expected, but it was a fun start to a series and an excellent escape read that was interesting yet simple.

Persephone, the Goddess of Spring, is now living in the mortal world as a college student after being granted permission by her mother, Demeter, the Goddess of Harvest. Their relationship is not quite, what I remember from mythology where the two of them have a mutual loving relationship. Here, Demeter is more overly protective and tries to keep Persephone as sheltered as possible. The two of them have a more strained relationship in this story, which works for the purposes of the plot. Her best friend, Lex, a mortal, is also her roommate and the two of them share everything together, but Lex is in the dark that Persephone is not actually a mortal.

The story centers around a contract between Hades and Persephone after a chance encounter at his nightclub. She is tasked with creating life in the Underworld, which seems like an impossible task considering she does not have full control of her powers and can only destroy life, not create it. Her journey goes back and forth from her time in the Underworld to her time in the mortal world. She is glamoured to look human/mortal, but she worries that the borrowed magic will run out and her identity will be revealed. On top of everything, the newspaper that she interns at learns of her association with Hades and wants her to write stories about him. All of these smaller obstacles are the essential plotlines to the story and all of them work together without becoming overly complicated.

Aside from Persephone and Hades, multiple other Gods and Goddesses make appearances in this story as they now live on Earth after leaving Mount Olympus. Although I would have loved more background on this massive historical event, it is not necessary to understand the story. It is interesting how all of these immortals now are immersed in the mortal world with celebrity status. There is even an annual charity event, similar vibes to the Met Gala, where it is extremely exclusive and everyone pays attention to those in attendance.

Hades and Persephone have excellent chemistry in this story as they have great banter and it is obvious that they have an attraction without straight exposition. As I did the audiobook, the version I had included both book one and book 1.5 (A Game of Fate – the beginning of book one, but told through Hades’ perspective). I loved having their meeting told from both points of view as you can see their initial thoughts on each other and can better understand their instant connection with some hesitation to pursue each other.

Overall, this story was interesting and I will definitely give book two a try, but it is nothing extremely special. I loved the descriptions of the different realms in the Underworld, but it felt that the rest of the world building was lacking. It was the same with the characters where I felt Persephone and Hades were well described, but I missed more detail for the others as I could have removed some of them and it would not have made a difference to me. I would have preferred more depth so I could understand if they were important to the story or if they truly were background secondary characters. I went back and forth, about how much I liked Persephone, as she was inconsistent at times, but she had a lot of potential and I will reserve judgement until I read more about her in book two. Hades was well done and I loved him in this novel and hope he continues to be great in the sequel.

5 thoughts on “Audiobook Review: A Touch of Darkness (Hades & Persephone #1)

  1. I really enjoyed reading your review of this book! I recently finished it myself and think this is a good start to the series. I also have mixed feelings about Persephone but am interested to see if/how she will grow as a character now that she has gained her powers. I’m also curious to see more of minor characters like Hermes and Hecate who we get to know a little bit in this first book

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