I’ve had my eye on Kaitlin Bevis’s work for a while – I mean, a book with the title “Persephone”? you dangle that in front of me, I’m a goner.
So when Ms Ali Cat presented me with the opportunity to dive into it, I jumped as high as my little legs allowed me and screamed “yes, yes, yes” on repeat like a newly-proposed to woman in love (or not) would do.
A thousand times yes!
Ask me what my favourite Greek/Roman myth is though, and you would have me staring into the wide with no clue, avoiding your question with silence until you’d walk alway and stop bothering me.
There are so many! So, so many!
How could one possibly take a pick?
However, if I’d be forced to choose, I’d probably go with the myth of Persephone abducted by Hades, one of the most complex and fascinating you can find in Greek-Roman folklore.
For those of you unfamiliar with it, here’s a over-simplified brief summary:
Persephone, Goddess of Spring is the daughter Zeus (Father of Gods) and Demeter (Goddess of the Harvest). She helps Demeter tend plants, is a solar, kind girl with the greenest thumb imaginable.
Hades, Lord of the Underworld, smitten with Persephone asked Zeus for her hand, but being told no he spirits her away to the Underworld and takes her as his wife.
Demeter trows a fit, asking Zeus to get her back. As an incentive she refuses to let anything grow until her daughter is safely return. Zeus is forced to act. Hades reluctantly agrees to let Persephone go, but the Goddess, having eaten six pomegranate seeds – a Underworld rule states that once you eat/drink you are bound to it – can’t dwell on earth as she previously did. Thus a bargain is established: for six months Persephone stays with her mother to tend to the earth, the other six months she has to dwell in the Underworld with Hades. Those six month Demeter griefs for Persephone and Winter reigns.
If you want more details, Google it.
Yep, Persephone and Hades are definitely a fascinating topic.
No wonder there’s a whole list of books (mainly YA) about them on Goodreads!
Thing is, when you keep wearing the same pair of jeans, it’s only a matter of time until they’re all washed out and ratty. Sure, they still hold a special place in your heart/closet but they just aren’t the same!
That’s what you might think: used an overused ’til it’s abused and asking for mercy.
And yet… I – as many authors – can’t seem to stay away from it.
Feed it to me!
I thank the gods for authors like Kaitlin Bevis, whether I like their interpretation on the myths or not.
So, talking properly about Persephone…
Do I like it?
It was such a well crafted partial re-take, I couldn’t help but like it.
I admit I was wary in the beginning, having already read a few modern rewritings of this particular myth that didn’t really agree with me. As I said, when you take on something so complex the chances are more of failure than of success. Either you blow the house in a tragic gas-explosion-way or your you blow the roof off in an explosion of delight for your readers.
Plus, as a Percy Jackson fan, there isn’t much you can do to convince me there’s anything as good, or that at least comes near, to Rick Riordan.
I won’t say that it is on PJ (not peanut butter and jelly, but Percy Jackson) level – that would be a lie I’ll never be willing to tell – but as it happens Persephone is what I deem a representative of the second category – the winner category – first and foremost due to the main character.
I loved this Persephone.
She’s the epitome of Persephone.
Here it becomes a bit complicated as I try to properly explain myself. Try to keep up.
I know she is Persephone, but get me right here: she’s what I would Persephone – the Goddess people worshiped thousands of years ago – expect to be.
She represents the kindness of spring, the hope of its light after a harsh winter, the beauty of blooming flowers. This teenage Persephone of Kaitlin Bevis isn’t just a reinterpretation of the author, she is the Persephone of the ancient myths.
You know how sometimes you have the feeling of getting a cheap imitation of something? Well, that’s not something I felt with Persephone, and it could have been.
Believe me, it would have been so simple for Kaitlin Bevis to slip on something so huge and miserably fail. But as it is, she didn’t. She did what I deem a pretty great job.
I liked it. Haters gonna hate, but I liked it – and I am not the only one (average 4.0 star-rating on GR).
The crowd don’t lie!
Furthermore, it surely isn’t easy writing a goodhearted, yet shadowed Hades.
Yes, this Hades is different than the various incarnations. Still dark, slightly sadistic, still impressively intimidating sprinkled with healthy dose of entitled arrogance, he isn’t such a bad guy. He’s a fair ruler, and surprisingly understanding toward those who reside in the Underworld.
Wait a minute… we are talking Hades, the guy with a blue flame as hair who mercilessly tried to sabotage good ol’ Herc in the Disney movie, aren’t we?
Nope, that’s not the same guy… though, it’s the same guy.
But not really.
It isn’t easy taking something you are accustomed to as bad and throw in people’s faces that they are wrong.
In some cases (okay, mostly) Persephone is the victim of the situation, abducted by bad bad Hades. Other times they are accomplices (see Elisabeth Naughton’s Eternal Guardians series), depicted both as villains.
In Kaitlin Bevis’ Persephone that what you see (or think) isn’t all you get.
Hades and Persephone are the perfect couple, Light and Darkness.
With Hades being both Light and Darkness.
With Persephone being both Light and Darkness.
Why I liked this so much?
The myth has been taken, modified but not changed. It has been modernized, transported to our times. It has a moral, you just need to look past the simple words and investigate a little harder.
For some aspects, like the whole “the gods are dead because nobody believes in them anymore”-thing strongly reminded me Percy Jackson and logically speaking it makes a whole lotta sense.
I like it when a books makes sense, down to its finer details.
What’ more, mythology is very well explained. And here my inner Mythology Geek is pretty much in heaven.
For instance, how many of you frown upon knowing that Demeter and Zeus were siblings, yet had a daughter together?
Well, people, this isn’t Cersei and Jamie Lannister, and as Demeter explains it: the gods, are not born in the strict sense of it, they were created, and as such DNA doesn’t factor. So, not gross at all.
Or the Persephone-Hades romance. Technically she’s his niece, him being Demeter’s brother.
But that isn’t how mythology works.
The whole incest stuff is off the table.
Your 21st century morals can rest in peace
Don’t sweat your undies.
This is not worse than any Stepbrother Romance you’ve read so far – and I know you did and enjoyed it!
And who are you to judge the gods?!
There’s just something compelling about the Persephone and Hades romance.
It’s the confirmation of “opposites attract”.
Can anyone resist a godly love story riddled with obstacles, nasty ass-freezing divinities and a setting in the Underworld?
I’m speaking for myself, but no, there’s no resisting.
One day Persephone is an ordinary high school senior working at her mom’s flower shop in Athens, Georgia. The next she’s fighting off Boreas, the brutal god of Winter, and learning that she’s a bonafide goddess—a rare daughter of the now-dead Zeus. Her goddess mom whisks her off to the Underworld to hide until Spring.
There she finds herself under the protection of handsome Hades, the god of the dead, and she’s automatically married to him. It’s the only way he can keep her safe. Older, wiser, and far more powerful than she, Hades isn’t interested in becoming her lover, at least not anytime soon. But every time he rescues her from another of Zeus’s schemes, they fall in love a little more. Will Hades ever admit his feelings for her?
Can she escape the grasp of her powerful dad’s minions? The Underworld is a very cool place, but is it worth giving up her life in the realm of the living? Her goddess powers are developing some serious, kick-butt potential. She’s going to fight back.
Books by Kaitlin Bevis:
The Daughters of Zeus Series:
I suddenly didn’t know if immortality was a good thing or a bad thing. The cold hurt. I was kicking, screaming, and clawing my way out of the frost, but for every inch I gained a mountain piled around me. I thought I heard a man’s laughter on the wind, the sound somehow colder than the ice freezing me into place.
The ground before my outstretched hand trembled. The shaking increased. The earth lurched beneath me. The surface cracked and the sound was so loud that for a moment all I could hear was high-pitched ringing in my ears. The ground split into an impossibly deep crevice. My voice went hoarse from screaming as I peered into the endless abyss, trapped and unable to move away from the vertigo-inducing edge. A midnight black chariot, drawn by four crepuscular horses that looked like they’d been created out of the night sky, surged from the crevice. I ducked my head into the snow with a frightened whimper as they passed over my prone body.
The fog around me dissipated as the ice melted away from my body. Terrified, I sprang to my feet, stopping when I was eye-to-eye with one of the frightening horses pulling the chariot. For a moment I could do nothing but stare into its huge, emotionless eyes. A strangled whimper tore from my throat and the horse snorted at me.
They weren’t black; they weren’t anything. They were an absence of color and of light, a nauseating swirling void. They hurt to look at. My head ached, and my stomach lurched in mutiny. I clenched my fists and turned to the driver.
His electric blue eyes met mine, and he seemed to see everything I’d done and everything I’d ever do. I had the strange sensation I’d been judged and found wanting. No way this guy was human. His skin could have been carved from marble; his hair was the same disorienting black as the horses. A terrifying power emanated from his tall, statuesque frame.
I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t move. His ebony cape billowed behind him as he marched toward me. At the grasp of his hand I snapped back to life and jerked away from him.
“We have to get out of here.”
Meet Kaitlin Bevis:
I spent my childhood curled up with a book, and a pen. If the ending didn’t agree with me, I rewrote it. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and I spent high school and college learning everything I could so that one day I could achieve that goal. I graduated college with my BFA in English with a concentration in Creative Writing, and am pursuing my masters at the University of Georgia.
I also write for Athens Parent Magazine, and truuconfessions.com. I have also published several short stories, my latest, Siren Song, is available on amazon.com.
Kaitlin Bevis’ Web Tracks:
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