FAQ Friday: Wouldn’t it have been safer for Persephone to just stay in the Underworld?

Question mark in a blue bubble. Repeating icon for the frequently asked questions in the Daughters of Zeus series a young adult greek mythology retelling by Kaitlin Bevis

 

*Spoiler warning for Persephone and Daughter of Earth and Sky

A reader wondered why, if Hades and Demeter knew Zeus was still around and after Persephone, did they allow her to return to the living realm in book two?

Remember, Boreas was restricted to a relatively short season, but Zeus could wait around for all eternity. Persephone wanted to hang on to the human life she’d built. She has friends, a job, a family, and a life. And while it’s one thing to step away from that for a few months (December-March) while Boreas was at full strength, it’s quite another to say goodbye forever.

Persephone’s will in this is paramount, because I didn’t want to write a horror story about a teenage girl being forced to spend her life in the land of the dead. It’s one of the first things I changed when I rewrote the myth.

As far as what Hades wants, while other writers have tackled the whole over protective significant other forcing their loved one to stay somewhere safe (and thus destroying their relationship in the process) SO well (Seriously read the linked book. It’s so good), that’s not the story I wanted to tell. Which is why, in book one, Hades explicitly stated that he wouldn’t keep Persephone in the Underworld against her will. That’s a promise he has to honor. He does try to convince her to stay a few times. He just can’t make her.

Demeter on the other hand, would absolutely force her daughter to stay in the Underworld for her safety. For a season. Asking her to say goodbye to her daughter for all time, especially after her daughter nearly died the last time she tried to make that happen, is a bit much. Plus, Demeter’s dealing with a lot of parent guilt in book two. Every move she’s ever made regarding Persephone was for Persephone’s own good, but it backfired. Her daughter hates her for her deception, the events of book one outright would have never happened if Persephone had had an ounce of preparation, the priestess she chose for her daughter has gone rogue, the father she chose for her daughter so she’d have enough power to survive is the very thing threatening her life. Every move she made failed. So while she never shows it (she’s a goddess after all, showing weakness isn’t easy for them), Demeter spends most of book two feeling paralyzed. She knows if she pushes Persephone to stay in the Underworld, she will lose her forever on more than one level. Plus, she can’t force Hades to abide by her will, and Persephone sure isn’t going to go alone with it, so it’s a fight she couldn’t win if she wanted to. Demeter’s smart enough not to pick a losing battle.

Plus, she feels like she’s losing Persephone to Hades already. Her goal for the first third of book two is to keep her daughter out of the Underworld as much as possible. It’s only once the danger becomes explicit that she takes a major step back. She knows if she tries to force Persephone into the Underworld, that Persephone is just mad enough to dig her heels in to spite her. So she doesn’t. And she assumes that is where Persephone is spending most of her time.

At the end of the book, Persephone had every intention of waiting out the danger in the Underworld. But she couldn’t remember her charmed promises compelling her to leave the safety of the Underworld and return to Zeus. The important thing to remember about charm, is that done right, the implanted thoughts  it feels like the charmed person’s idea. So when Persephone irrationally decides to go find Orpheus and fix things, that’s her mind desperately trying to rationalize an obviously bad idea.

 

Happy Release Day!

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Happy release day!

Today, the sequel to Persephone, and second book in the Daughters of Zeus story has been released!

Below is a never before seen, extended excerpt! Want to win a copy of Daughter of the Earth and Sky? Answer the trivia question below in the comments. For additional chances to win, follow me here, or twitter, or Facebook, linked in, google plus, tumbler, Pinterest or anywhere else you can think of! Be sure to comment for each follow!

One lucky winner will be chosen at midnight to tonight! Good luck!

“Your mom’s shop is right around here, isn’t it?” Joel motioned out the window, though all we could see from our vantage point was the gravel parking lot and a steady stream of cars flowing down South Lumpkin Street.

“Yeah, just up the road. Don’t tell me you’ve never been.”

Joel laughed. “I’ve seen her work. You guys do all the centerpieces for school stuff, right?”

I nodded and fiddled with my necklace.
“But I haven’t been to the shop. As much reason as I’ve had to buy flowers…”

I kicked him lightly under the table. I knew he didn’t have a girlfriend, but flowers weren’t just for couples. “What about your mom or aunts or something?” I didn’t know if Joel had any sisters. None had attended Athens Academy, but he could be the youngest child.

Joel hesitated. “I don’t…My mom’s not…” He scowled at the table, rubbing at a spot with his thumb. “She was murdered. Forever ago.”

I gasped. “I’m so sor — ”

Joel cut off my apology with a wave of his hand. “Don’t. I never mentioned it to you before. I just don’t like to talk about my family. I’d send flowers to the extended members, but I don’t think they’d appreciate the reminder I still exist.” He shrugged and changed the topic. “If I were to get someone flowers, what would you recommend?”

“My favorites are daisies. But most people prefer something more elaborate.”

He gave me an easy grin. “Daisies, huh? I’ll keep that in mind.”

A movement in the corner of my eye caught my gaze. A man stepped through the door of the Smoothie King. No one else seemed to notice his entrance, but that wasn’t surprising. The light fractured around him, bending oddly and seeming to absorb into his black robes.

The Reaper met my gaze and stood behind Joel, hand hovering over his shoulder.

“Stop it.”

Joel followed my gaze past the Reaper. “Stop what? What are you looking at?”

I smiled brightly at Joel. “Being such a shameless flirt. I’m not impressed.”

“Still got a boyfriend?” Joel asked.

I eyed the Reaper, and he gave me a malicious grin. I turned my attention to Joel. “I have…you know, it’s kind of complicated.”

Joel looked at me over his cup. “Is it exclusive?”

I did my best to ignore the Reaper’s hand hovering over Joel’s head. I had no idea what Hades and I were right now. Everything had gotten so weird. “I’m not interested in anyone that isn’t him.” I shrugged. “I’m flattered, really, but I don’t want to lead you on.”

Joel folded his straw paper into a tiny accordion. “It was worth a shot. Still running buddies?”

When I hesitated, he looked me in the eye. “I can date other girls. Friends are harder to come by. Plus, running alone is dangerous. I could fall and break my ankle, or some random stalker could push me off the path. You never know what kind of crazies are out there. Please?”

I laughed. “Yeah, okay. So what classes are you registered for?”

When he launched into his answer, I dropped a shield so Joel couldn’t hear me and raised my smoothie in front of my mouth. “If his name was on the list, he’d be dead by now.” I kept my voice calm as I addressed the Reaper. “Thanatos doesn’t want to attract attention by taking the wrong souls, so you can cut the theatrics.”

“Thanatos sends his regards,” the Reaper said softly. His threat was completely undermined by his puppy-dog brown eyes. I frowned, trying to focus on his soul instead of the light bending around him. He was not much older than me. How long had he been dead? Why did he decide to become a Reaper instead of just spending his afterlife in the Underworld?

“Bring me to Thanatos,” I demanded.
It was a long shot, but I was Queen of the Underworld, and that included Reapers. He might listen to me. I just needed one second of eye contact to charm Thanatos, and I could uncharm this mess. But so far I hadn’t been able to get near him. Each time I’d gone to the Underworld, he’d managed to be elsewhere.

The Reaper gave me a cutting glare and meandered behind the counter. The brunette girl who’d made our smoothies shivered as though she sensed his presence. He touched her shoulder and she collapsed.

Joel swore and sprang from his seat, rushing behind the counter to check on the girl. I forced myself to stay in my seat and ignore the scream of rage and horror that threatened to erupt from my chest. I buried it and kept my face impassive as I stared down the Reaper. I couldn’t show any weakness. Not to him.

“Your move, Queen.” His lips curved in sarcasm as he gave a shallow bow and vanished.

Trivia question: why doesn’t Persephone think the Reaper will kill Joel?