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A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair
- Publisher: Sourcebooks
- Genre: Fantasy Romance
- Audience: New Adult
- Pages: 358 (hardcover)
- Trigger Warnings: sexual assault, attempted roofie
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.
“Respect could build an empire. Trust could make it unbreakable. Love could make it last forever”A touch of darkness
Perhaps it’s because I just read Lore and was fairly disappointed and underwhelmed by it, but I was skeptical and a little scared going into A Touch of Darkness.
Greek Mythology is something that I loved in school, and I have always wanted to see more books exploring the myths and the opportunities for stories there.
I love Rick Riordan, but I just wanted someone else to give Greek Mythology a chance for once! And perhaps in YA, NA, and Adult contexts. So far, the titles that I’ve come across fitting these guidelines have been severely limited.
And because only a couple have done well with it, I was desperately hoping A Touch of Darkness would do the stories of Hades and Persephone justice.
I’m glad to report that Scarlett St. Clair eliminated my worries and spun an alluring and binge-worthy tale that I’m glad to have on my bookshelves!
A Touch of Darkness follows Persephone who has convinced her mother to let her have a normal life, however temporary, in order to make friends and pursue a college degree. In the current world, the Gods and Goddesses are well-known and active parts of society. They create businesses, art, product lines, etc. based on their gifts in order to share them with the world. They make public appearances, bestow curses and gifts upon mortals who ask for or deserve it, and basically function as hard-to-reach celebrities.
When her friend Lexi obtains an invitation to a very selective private club of Hades, Persephone comes with — even though her mother has forbade her from seeing Hades or for letting any of the Gods or Goddesses learn of her existence. Ending the night in an unwanted bargain with the God of the Underworld, Persephone leaves the club with six months to create life in the Underworld or she will be stolen from her life in the human world and trapped in Hades’ realm forever.
But as she learns more about the Underworld, the souls who live there, and the cruel Lord Hades who rules over them all, she begins to question everything her mother has ever taught her, and everything the rumors portray him to be…
Scarlett St. Clair’s writing hooked me from the very beginning.
Once I picked up the book, I just couldn’t stop. Her writing style flows so well and is truly addicting. While many fantasy books nowadays are too long and have way too many fluff scenes that add nothing to the story, I actually found myself unsatisfied with the 358 pages I got. Oftentimes, I found myself wishing for certain scenes to be drawn out or for extra scenes through which the relationship between Persephone and Hades could deepen, and/or the world could become more rich with information and mythology, and/or I could learn more about the Underworld. This book could’ve easily been 500+ pages and I don’t think I would’ve cared — I probably would’ve loved it more.
One thing that really impressed me was St. Clair’s ability to write a swoon-worthy romance such as this.
I can’t remember the last time that a book romance made my heart quicken in anticipation or excitement. Hades and Persephone did this for me, which I found shocking but also exciting. I felt as though there was a gradual but significant build up in their relationship and I appreciated that even as their relationship depend and continued to develop, Hades never lost his sense of mysteriousness or power. He continued to maintain the same persona that he’d had the whole time.
I usually find this a problem in fantasy stories with a love interest who is supposed to be morally-grey or dark and powerful: once that man forms a relationship with the woman (typically the main female protagonist) he loses all sense of mysteriousness, and that same dark, powerful, grave persona that intrigued me so much before just vanishes as if that kind of personality can’t coexist with a loving, healthy relationship. I enjoyed that St. Clair found a way to make the gruff personality that Hades presented from the very beginning persist even as his relationship with Persephone continues, not falling into the trap that has been the downfall of many other fantasy writers.
However, I would’ve loved getting insight to the thoughts and emotions of the characters within the novel.
I really wanted to see more of Lexi, and Hades definitely could’ve had more character development through what he visibly showed Persephone whether through facial expressions, dialogue, body language, or behavior. Though I enjoyed Persephone, she could’ve also been improved with more time and attention put towards her growth and showcasing her personality. But I believe St. Clair has the ability and the talent to do this, so I wholly believe that if she’d given herself 100-200 more pages, the characters would’ve been so rich and deep and I would’ve loved it that much more.
That being said, there are still more books to the series, so that leaves much more room for expansion of the world, the relationship between Hades and Persephone, and in the characters themselves! I’m so excited to pick up book two!
Extra tid-bits worth mentioning
- Greek Mythology
- Spicy Romance
- Brooding Love Interest
- Forbidden Love
A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. ClairA Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair
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Let’s Chat in the Comments!
Have you read any other mythology based books? What were they and how did you feel about them? What mythological stories or beings would you love to see novel adaptations of?