The Greek gods never actually existed. Did they? Sophie Darrow finds she was wrong about that assumption when she’s pulled into the spirit realm, complete with an Underworld, on her first day at college. Adrian, the mysterious young man who brought her there, simply wants her to taste a pomegranate.
Soon, though she returns to her regular life, her mind begins exploding with dreams and memories of ancient times; of a love between two Greeks named Persephone and Hades. But lethal danger has always surrounded the immortals, and now that she’s tainted with the Underworld’s magic, that danger is drawing closer to Sophie.
My Thoughts: I actually really liked this book! When I first realized that this was one of those “Persephone reincarnated into the modern day” things I have to admit, I was nervous. I’ve read a lot of versions of Persephone (though I waited until my first book was completely drafted and in queries until I did, just to be safe with the exception of L.J Smith’s Forbidden Games that was my favorite book when I was twelve, seriously, read it.), and I’ve seen that done several times without it ever actually seeming to work (for me, lots of people love them and there’s nothing wrong with that). Either Hades is always still Hades, but Persephone is somehow being reborn every so often, which feels really weird to me, or they’re both not exactly reincarnations, but two people with similar powers who just so happen to repeat a similar story for no real, concrete reason.
This book succeeded where those books failed. Yes, the characters were reincarnations of Hades and Persephone, but they both were and they were also 100% themselves. Sophie was a character in her own right as well as being Persephone who managed to be a completely developed, independent character of her own that complimented Sophie in such a way that it felt natural that they were also the same person.
Ringle captures the complexities of the whole reincarnation thing without resorting to “Oh, we like, loved each other in another life, so we’re in insta-love now” trope. Each lifetime felt like it happened, and it mattered, and that it happened independently of their prior lives. Sophie didn’t like Adrian at first, it took her a long time to warm up to him, and when she did the pacing felt natural, not like she was forced into it by her prior lives.
I’m sure I’m babbling, but this is seriously the only time I’ve seen reincarnated souls that actually had enough depth to be believable. It kind of reminded me of Soul Mates by L.J Smith, but for a more mature audience.
I also really enjoyed Ringle’s vision of the Greek gods of being essentially gifted humans who happened to be immortal. They don’t have limitless power, and they were kind of figuring everything out as they went along. I thought the whole Thanatos cult against the immortals thing was pretty interesting and kept the tension high, butt honestly I didn’t even need conflict. I was so wrapped up in watching this world and all the lifetimes within it unfold that the conflict and tension was bonus. This was a beautiful story, and I’m really excited to see how it unfolds in future installments of the series.