[Review] Hades x Persephone Saga 1: A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair

Persephone is the Goddess of Spring in title only. Since she was a little girl, flowers have only shriveled at her touch. After moving to New Athens, she hoped to lead an unassuming life disguised as a mortal journalist. All of that changes when she sits down in a forbidden nightclub to play a hand of cards with a hypnotic and mysterious stranger.

Hades, God of the Dead, has built a gambling empire in the mortal world and his favorite bets are rumored to be impossible. But nothing has ever intrigued him as much as the goddess offering him a bargain he can’t resist.

After her encounter with Hades, Persephone finds herself in a contract with the God of the Dead, and his 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―a love that is both captivating and forbidden.

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Erotica of the Month

This thrift shop find of mine was quickly chosen by my book club as our monthly erotica. That is, after one of our members proclaimed it definitely is one and that she stopped due to that during the second novel. I was quite excited given this statement, although suspicious as well. I like some sex in my romance books, but it should drive the plot and not stop it for indefinite time. In the case of this book, the sex was intriguing and fun to read. It was more than necessary but not annoyingly so. And more than jumping right into it, we got some amazing teasing and built-up. Giving this great slow-burn, some parts of the end were a bit too dramatic for me (Aphrodite).


“Why are you so desperate to hate me?” – page 162



I had known already quite some retellings of this couple. Especially liked are the one by Rachel Smythe (Lore Olympus) and the recent hit musical Hadestown. Both certainly don’t put the emphasis on the sexual tension between the characters. This book hence surely brings a new turn. Nonetheless, it’s not only about the sex. Like Lore Olympus, it dives quite into Persephone’s lack of confidence as a goddess. It also repeatedly shows how she inspires Hades to become a better man. In terms of other parts of the Greek mythology, we get some encounters with other gods and goddesses. (Although Hephaistos is no Olympian in this one and Artemis neither??!) Especially Demeter naturally plays a big role in the plot. As in Lore Olympus, Hermes soon becomes the joker and knower of secrets, which I always enjoy. I am not certain in how far Hecate is part of the original story, but I liked her contributions to the story.


“I’m not interested in romanticizing Hades for doing something all men should be doing.”
“So, you don’t think he likes you?” she asked.
“I’d much rather he respect me,” she answered. Respect could build an empire. Trust could make it unbreakable. Love could make it last forever.
– page 241-42


Hades and Persephone—but new.

On the other side, this story is also quite contemporary in its setting. Persephone is at university and does an internship to become a journalist. Hades owns businesses (of course he does) and increasingly intervenes in socio-political issues. Next to it, he also bargains with humans, which brings him and Persephone in touch in the first place. I enjoyed their tense interactions as much as their sexual tension. I loved Scarlett’s drawing of the underworld and how Persephone finds herself in it. The whole story nonetheless leaves not really an impression on me. I’ve moreover read a self-published edition of the book, which shows some inconsistencies and faults in the layout and in the early establishing of the characters. I, for once, hated how Persephone acted without putting any thought into her decisions.


In conclusion,

I thoroughly devoured this book after getting through the first 50 pages. This early self-published version shows some faults that might have been edited in the later editions, nonetheless, they gave me a tricky start. After that, I loved the growing tension between the protagonists and the feminist aspects of this retelling. Nonetheless, I currently don’t think that this book will stay with me for much longer or that I will continue this series.



The author:

USA Today Bestselling author Scarlett St. Clair is a citizen of the Muscogee Nation and the author of the HADES X PERSEPHONE SAGA, the HADES SAGA, KING OF BATTLE & BLOOD, and WHEN STARS COME OUT.

She has a Master’s degree in Library Science and Information Studies and a Bachelors in English Writing. She is obsessed with Greek Mythology, murder mysteries, and the afterlife.

If you are obsessed with these things, then you’ll like her books. You can find pictures of her adorable dog Adelaide on her Instagram at @authorscarlettstclair. Source

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