Review: A Touch of Ruin by Scarlett St. Clair

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“Persephone’s relationship with Hades has gone public and the resulting media storm disrupts her normal life and threatens to expose her as the Goddess of Spring.

Hades, God of the Dead, is burdened by a hellish past that everyone’s eager to expose in an effort to warn Persephone away. Things only get worse when a horrible tragedy leaves Persephone’s heart in ruin and Hades refusing to help. Desperate, she takes matters into her own hands, striking bargains with severe consequences.

Faced with a side of Hades she never knew and crushing loss, Persephone wonders if she can truly become Hades’ queen.”

REVIEW:

I love re-tellings of the Hades and Persephone myth, so when I read A Touch of Darkness last year I completely loved it. So I immediately added all of the series to my TBR. Then I read some of the mixed reviews of A Touch of Ruin, which made me hesitate.

A Touch of Ruin picks up right after the events in A Touch of Darkness. Persephone is coming to terms with her new powers and strength, dealing with her mother’s deception, and trying to juggle her life in the Upperworld and Underworld. Persephone and Hades’ relationship still has all the passion, but Persephone’s self-doubts begin to creep in and do damage to their relationship. A tragic event occurs that puts even more strain on their relationship and you wonder whether it will survive.

A Touch of Ruin is about Persephone’s journey accepting change. Overwhelming change can feel like a bad thing at times but Persephone realizes, by the end of this novel, that most of the changes have been for the better. This book is a rollercoaster. So much happens! Many of the reviews I read were that Persephone’s actions are incredibly frustrating throughout the book. They aren’t wrong. Persephone and Hades have horrible communication skills, and it is the root cause of every single problem. She feels like she is in an endless cycle of not understanding why Hades did something and instead of asking him, picks the worst way to solve the problem. Then doesn’t understand why Hades is angry with her. Then she gets mad at Hades because he is mad at her. Hades isn’t in the clear here either. If he was just upfront and honest about some of his actions, we wouldn’t be in this mess. It does feel like Persephone and Hades make the same mistakes over and over again in this book.

My biggest problem with this book is that the author doesn’t give anything time to breathe. This book evolves at an incredibly fast pace which makes it a quick read, but so much is happening and nothing has any time to settle. We are just jumping from one plot point to the next at a breakneck speed. Even with its problems, I still enjoyed this book. It has some wonderful smutty goodness and Hermes and Hecate are incredible side characters. I’m excited to see where this story goes because I think it is heading to some exciting places.

RATING: 3/5

Review: Lore by Alexandra Bracken

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality. Long ago, Lore Perseous fled that brutal world in the wake of her family’s sadistic murder by a rival line, turning her back on the hunt’s promises of eternal glory. For years she’s pushed away any thought of revenge against the man–now a god–responsible for their deaths.

Yet as the next hunt dawns over New York City, two participants seek out her help: Castor, a childhood friend of Lore believed long dead, and a gravely wounded Athena, among the last of the original gods.

The goddess offers an alliance against their mutual enemy and, at last, a way for Lore to leave the Agon behind forever. But Lore’s decision to bind her fate to Athena’s and rejoin the hunt will come at a deadly cost–and still may not be enough to stop the rise of a new god with the power to bring humanity to its knees.”

REVIEW:

Lore has been on my TBR for the last couple of months because I am a sucker for any type of involvement of Greek Mythology. I was a little hesitant because I had read some mixed reviews from reviewers I normally agree with, but it became available at my library so I just had to grab it.

I’ve seen Lore described as Greek mythology meets Hunger Games, which feels pretty accurate. We follow Lore, whose entire life had been built around family legacy and the Agon. She is the only surviving member of her family, who were victims of the last Agon. Because of this destruction and other traumas that have happened to her being a part of this world, Lore made the decision to leave it all behind. She has been successful in blending into the world around her until now. Her old friend Castor has re-entered her life after she thought he was dead and now an injured god is on her doorstep. The next Agon has begun and Lore has been brought right into the middle of it.

Lore had a bit of a slow start for me. The first 100 pages were a slog to get through, but it definitely begins to pick up after that. It took me a while to remember which family was which and who was loyal to who if I’m going to be perfectly honest. I felt like I needed a pinboard or chart so I could go back and reference to make sure I was correct.

There was a lot that I really enjoyed about this book. It has a really interesting concept that hooks you in and is definitely explored well. Lore has been through the wringer, she really has never had an easy life and this book does not get any easier for her. I loved the cast of characters and friendships as well. Lore and Miles are incredible together and I loved how they meshed with Castor and Van.

This story is definitely brutal, and a lot is happening at any given time which, for me, sometimes hurts this book. The characters are constantly on the move which keeps the pacing exciting. I do wish that this had been told from a dual POV. I think it would have added an interesting element to this story if it had bounced between Lore and Castor. It grew frustrating when they were separated from each other and would have no idea what was happening with the other group, and you are never really filled in on those events

Overall, I enjoyed Lore. It was different than anything I have read recently. Fair warning, this book is absolutely brutal at times, deals with heavy topics such as sexual assault and murder, and doesn’t shy away from violence.

RATING: 4/5

Review: Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“As Princesses of Crete and daughters of the fearsome King Minos, Ariadne and her sister Phaedra grow up hearing the hoofbeats and bellows of the Minotaur echo from the Labyrinth beneath the palace. The Minotaur – Minos’s greatest shame and Ariadne’s brother – demands blood every year.

When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives in Crete as a sacrifice to the beast, Ariadne falls in love with him. But helping Theseus kill the monster means betraying her family and country, and Ariadne knows only too well that in a world ruled by mercurial gods – drawing their attention can cost you everything.

In a world where women are nothing more than the pawns of powerful men, will Ariadne’s deicision to betray Crete for Theseus ensure her happy ending? Or will she find herself sacrificed for her lover’s ambition?”

REVIEW:

Another Book of the Month choice winner! I’ve had Ariadne on my radar for a little while now. When I saw it was one of May’s options, it was an easy choice.

Growing up on Crete, she listens to stories of the gods and heroes. Ariadne then watches as her mother becomes a pawn in the gods’ revenge on her father, the King. She wishes to never be apart of the heroes plans for glory and the gods schemes. Ariadne is meant for something bigger, and soon finds herself apart of those very stories.

Ariadne by Jennifer Saint is a greek mythology retelling of her life, in the vain of Circe and A Thousand Ships. I originally thought this was just going to be the myth of the Minotaur from her eyes since I don’t know much about Ariadne beyond that, but this book explores her whole life. Ariadne is a compelling heroine, who you are rooting for during her highs and lows. The pacing of this book can be a little slow at times, but I don’t think this hinders the story.

I enjoyed getting to know more about Ariadne, her story, and her ties to Dionysus. I also loved the focus and commentary on women’s roles in the god’s lives. That they are often the one’s to suffer and be used as pawns in the god’s plans. I enjoyed Jennifer Saint’s writing style. Many of the characters recount tales of themselves and other important Greek figures which feels like a great choice since the significance of oral history in greek mythology.

I definitely recommend if you are a lover of Greek mythology, or loved Circe, Song of Achilles or A Thousand Ships.

RATING: 4/5

Review: Go the Distance by Jen Calonita

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“What if Meg had to become a god?

After Hercules proves he’s a true hero and regains his godship, all seems right in the world. That is, until Zeus tells Meg that she can’t be with Hercules because she’s, well, mortal. Luckily, Hera has a solution, offering Meg a chance to prove herself worthy of a spot on Mt. Olympus–as a god. All Meg has to do is complete a mysterious quest.

The mission? Oh, just to rescue her ex’s current wife from the Underworld. The ex-boyfriend she saved by selling her soul to Hades. The ex-boyfriend who immediately moved on to someone else while she was stuck in the Underworld. Can Meg put her past behind her and use her quick-wit to defeat monsters and gods alike, including the nefarious Hades? Will she finally figure out her place and contribution to the world? Or will her fear of commitment have her running away from an eternity of godhood with Herc?”

REVIEW:

Go the Distance is a part of the ongoing Twisted Tales series published by Disney-Hyperion. Hercules is my favorite Disney movie and Meg is my favorite character. I loved that she was complicated heroine and my love for her has grown as I’ve gotten older. So naturally the minute I heard about this book, I pre-ordered it.

Go the Distance picks up right where the movie left off, except Zeus doesn’t take no for an answer when Hercules turns down his godhood to remain with Meg. Meg is heartbroken, because Hercules is the first real good thing in her life. Hera approaches Meg with the opportunity to spend eternity with Hercules, giving her a trial to become a god herself. This won’t be a simple task, Meg will have to come to terms with her trauma while also trying to bring back a soul.

Go the Distance flushes out Meg’s backstory. We learn that she didn’t have an easy childhood. Meg’s father abandoned her and her mother, then Meg loses her mother when she is a teenager. We obviously know that things didn’t go well in her love life either, with her selling her soul to Hades to save her boyfriend’s life only to be abandoned by him. Throughout the story, each task helps Meg work through her past trauma and realize that she can rely on other people. The whole cast of characters is back for the story, which is nice. I do wish there was a bit more time with just Meg and Hercules, but ultimately this is Meg’s journey. They also throw the Hades and Persephone myth in there for some fun.

Spoilers for the book in the next paragraph.

I did grow frustrated with a couple scenes in this book, they felt very out of character for Meg. One was her insistence on grabbing a forbidden apple to take as a bargaining chip for Hades. It causes everyone to nearly die. It just felt so incredibly random and out of character. Meg is smart but also always expects the worst of any outcome, so she should have expected them to be booby trapped. This leads to a fight with Hercules for swooping in to save them. Obviously, Meg always feels like she can take care of herself, but she completely loses it at Hercules and it feels very out of character.

Overall, if you love Hercules you should check out Go the Distance. It is a fun, quick read that adds some backstory to a wonderful Disney heroine.

RATING: 3/5

Have you read any of the Disney Twisted Tales? Should I check out some more in this series? Let me know in the comments!

Review: A Game of Fate by Scarlett St. Clair

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“Hades, God of the Underworld, is known for his inflexible rule, luxurious night clubs, and impossible bargains. Use to control, he is not prepared to discover the Fates have chosen his future wife and Queen—Persephone, Goddess of Spring.

Despite her attraction to the god, Persephone, an ambitious journalism student, is determined to expose Hades for his cruel and ruthless ways.

Hades finds himself faced with the impossible—proving his future bride wrong. Despite his efforts, there are forces who wish to keep the two apart and Hades comes to realize he will do anything for his forbidden love, even defy Fate.”

REVIEW:

I’m a sucker for any retelling of Hades and Persephone, so I naturally picked up A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair last summer. A Game of Fate is A Touch of Darkness from Hades’ perspective.

I don’t always love the swapped perspective book, but this one is great. In A Touch of Darkness, Persephone is an outsider to the world of the gods. Since A Game of Fate is through Hades eyes we get to see a lot more interaction from the other gods. It also adds to the Hades and Persephone romance. There is much more magic involved and we truly get to understand how he rules the Underworld.

A Game of Fate definitely enhances the story. There is enough new information added, that fully rounds out the story that feels like this is a necessary read. I loved Hecate and Hermes, their relationships with Hades were definitely a high point of this book. Seeing his relationship with Persephone through Hades eyes really added another layer to this story. I also have to say that I enjoyed his POV better than Persephone’s. I think that was more so because of the involvement of the gods with Hades story and the set up of the Triad. I also loved Aphrodite and Hephaestus’s story. Like I would love a whole other series about them and their relationship.

Overall, I really enjoyed A Game of Fate. If you enjoyed A Touch of Darkness, then you should definitely check it out. I also recommend reading it before picking up the next book in the series.

RATING: 4/5

Review: A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“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.”

REVIEW:

I’ve always had a fascination with Greek mythology, and the myth of Hades and Persephone is one of my favorites. When I stumbled on A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair, I knew I needed to add it to my Amazon cart immediately.

A Touch of Darkness adds a modern spin to the classic myth, imagining these Greek gods in a modern society interacting with mortals. Once I was a few chapters in I was completely hooked, and it became hard to put the novel down. I loved the development of Persephone and Hades’ relationship. The chemistry and heat is there immediately, but I loved how they challenged each other as well. Their relationship is steamy, and St. Clair does not back away from the heat. She jumps right in. I really enjoyed the peppering in of different gods, and their interactions with Persephone. I also loved when Persephone came into her power. I found myself cheering in my head as she gave a couple people their comeuppance.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I’m excited that it is being continued as a series, and even a set of books from Hades point of view. If you love Greek mythology or even just the myth of Hades and Persephone I definitely recommend this series.

RATING: 4.5/5