The Chrysomelia Stories, #1
Fantasy, Contemporary Fiction, Greek Mythology, Romance
Central Avenue Publishing
June 28th, 2013
Gifted to me
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.
I’m a fan of Greek Mythology and retellings, so I’ve had my eye on this contemporary retelling of Hades and Persephone for years. Theirs is a story that never sounds nice, so Molly Ringle putting a romantic spin on things was the biggest reason I picked it up. And she didn’t disappoint, there!
I really like how the world was handled, although I still didn’t understand some things (like how immortals can die only in extreme circumstances, but clearly several have died and been reborn multiple times) and some things lost their impact (the concept of at-will reincarnation, especially for immortals, means that death is just a frustrating pause in things for them not high stakes). Mostly what fell flat for me was the antagonist, which (because of the aforementioned toothless threat) was a bit too mustache-twirling-evil for me to feel our characters were threatened by.
Stakes and bad guys aside, I like how Sophie’s character was handled. She seemed like a believable young adult woman, acting intelligently and cautiously. I think her romantic entanglements were adroitly handled, making her seem even more mature.
But where this book shines is in the history and world-building. The mythos behind the mythology, the rules and concessions, how the Greek gods came into being….that was fascinating, and fun. The pacing lagged in some places (mostly in terms of the contemporary world setting stuff) but I found myself not wanting to put it down for whole swaths of the book.
Best of all, the Greek mythology was handled very respectfully (which is a rare thing, since most modern books and media make them into one-dimensional caricatures, or overlay Christian beliefs on them to assign morality).