Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Review: Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman

Title:  Radiant Darkness
Author:  Emily Whitman
Pages:  270
Genre:  YA Mythology
Publisher:  HarperTeen
Summary:  He smiles. "Hello."

It's a deep voice. I can feel it reverberate in my chest and echo all the way down to my toes.

I know I should leave, but I don't want to. I want to keep my senses like this forever. I'm all eye, all ear, all skin.
Persephone lives in the most gorgeous place in the world. But her mother's a goddess, as overprotective as she is powerful. Paradise has become a trap. Just when Persephone feels there's no chance of escaping the life that's been planned for her, a mysterious stranger arrives. A stranger who promises something more--something dangerous and exciting--something that spurs Persephone to make a daring choice. A choice that could destroy all she's come to love, even the earth itself.

In a land where a singing river can make you forget your very name, Persephone is forced to discover who--and what--she really is.

The Quick Dish:  Retellings have always fascinated me, especially in the way of myths since so many of them seem to be told within so few pages. The myth of Persephone and Hades is rather popular, especially with the number of YA books that have pulled inspiration from their story. However, this is the first actual retelling I have read, and I have to say, it's good for readers to hear Persephone's voice. Most readers will know their story as Persephone being dragged down against her will into the Underworld by Hades in order to become his queen. Not so in this case.

Emily Whitman offers a different type of story in which the young spring goddess was stifled by her mother's constant sheltering. I really enjoyed this rendition of Persephone and how strong she became by the end of the story. It was troubling how she could not find her voice first with her overbearing mother, Demeter, and then with her (lovingly) possessive husband, Hades. Both of them felt they knew what was best for Persephone, though I have to say Demeter's overprotectiveness was far more trying than Hades' concern about her being taken from him.

Speaking of the god of the Underworld, I really wanted to see more of him in this story since the myth was originally called "Hades and Persephone." While I was a bit disappointed by this, I realize that this is Persephone's story, so her growth and development must be the focal point.

Overall, Radiant Darkness was an enjoyable retelling of a favorite myth that definitely puts the original story into a matter of perspective. Readers who enjoy Greek mythology should definitely add this one to their reading pile.

Book 3                                     Book 2


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