book review

Book Review: A Touch of Ruin by Scarlett St Clair (Including mini review of A Touch of Darkness!)

So, I read A Touch of Darkness at the end of 2020 – another Christmas present that I was super excited for. Mini review for that: this book definitely made me fall in love with Hades and Persephone retellings – why have I not tried them before? Enemies to lover, dark love interest – that’s my thing (isn’t it everyone’s?) Overall, I gave it 4* because while it was a quick and entertaining read I sometimes didn’t quite find the characters, especially Persephone, acted consistently throughout. I loved Hades though and was excited for the second book.

The rest of this review will contain spoilers for A Touch of Darkness

A Touch of Ruin picks back up where the first book left off. Hades and Persephone are officially a couple and suddenly Persephone is thrust into the public image. She really doesn’t like the sudden change and struggles to adapt. On top of that she’s struggling to control her new powers and she’s unsure just how well she knows Hades. There’s also a plot involving Persephone exposing Apollo and Lexa being very ill.

Sound like a lot right? I’m actually surprised there was this much plot in it since Scarlett St Clair’s main plot device throughout the book seems to be Hades and Persephone not communicating.

Just a forewarning I’m about to get ranty.

I absolutely cannot stand it when authors use this plot device. It’s fine when there’s a legitimate reason. I’m thinking Lara in The Bridge Kingdom, Lou in Serpent & Dove, or when there’s understandable miscommunication – These Broken Stars comes to mind. What I cannot stand is not communicating when there’s no obvious reason, especially when these characters are supposed to be in a loving relationship.

Hades was actually pretty understandable. Like every new revelation has Persephone doing a new major freak out and storming away. Given how their relationship started I totally get why Hades would want to keep certain things from her. However, he seems to have a reasonable explanation for all of them, so the question remains – why not just tell her instead of letting her find out on her own and then having a major argument? I get it the make up sex is good but it’s not like they need more spice to get it going.

Persephone on the other hand was not understandable. Instead of putting healthy boundaries in her relationship with Hades and being like ‘Look I get your this big shot god but I would like to try and handle my problems without you threatening people’ she just anticipates how he’ll react and decides not to tell him. This inevitably backfires when her plan to solve the problem lands her in a problem and Hades has to rush to her aid.

From here on out I’m going to be majorly spoilery. And yes – the rant will continue.

Firstly, Persephone is a major hypocrite. She refuses (understandably so) to write an article exposing her and Hades relationship to the world and yet, even when Sybil asks her not to, Persephone still goes ahead and plans an article against Apollo. Literally everyone around her tells her it’s a bad idea and the only reason Sybil supports her is because she’s drunk at the time. Cue next chapter – Persephone quickly realises how much she’s fucked up and regrets her decision.

Moving on, her and Hades go from ‘You’ve broken my trust’, ‘I’m mad at you’ to sex real quick. Pretty much all their sex in this book was preceded by some falsehood of theirs coming to light and them getting angry at each other.

Then we have Lexa who gets badly hit by a car. Persephone is understandably wanting to save her friends life, but Hades won’t help. I didn’t fully get why this was but with everything that happens I feel like the situation could have benefited from Hades being a bit more upfront e.g. she’s made up her mind to die and if you save her any other way she’ll come back with her soul broken to a living hell. He literally watches Persephone go to the very illegal magi for help so obviously she’s serious.

Just a point that this part of the book flits between Persephone visiting Lexa in hospital and being desperate to save her to then going back to the underworld for normal life. Like maybe Hades didn’t realise how much you needed him because you acted pretty fine? Other than baking a cake and obsessively cleaning.

After Apollo heals her Lexa comes back and she’s not the same Lexa. After a few weeks (I think) she looks to be returning somewhat to normality only to then kill herself. This really doesn’t seem to devastate Persephone all that much, like she has essentially lost her best friend (as souls that kill themselves get their memories wiped) and you really don’t feel her pain. Also, Lexa’s reason for this is that she had served her purpose by empowering Persephone. Okay but what about everything you cared about before – you know your boyfriend, your job, your parents? I just feel it was a real simplification of Lexa’s character.

I also just want to put a side note in here because I’m aware that, when feeling suicidal, you tend to feel that those in your life would be better off without you. I am in no way judging people for feeling that way or I myself would be a hypocrite. What I really felt was that this wasn’t consistent with Lexa’s character.

Now my big problem. Hades asks Persephone to marry him three times in the course of the book. That’s great and all but maybe, just maybe figure out how to actually talk to each other before walking down the aisle? Or before starting a war to be together?

I think that’s all. I gave it 3.5* because yeah it was very frustrating, but it was a quick, easy read with lots of smut. I’m hoping the next book will be better.

2 thoughts on “Book Review: A Touch of Ruin by Scarlett St Clair (Including mini review of A Touch of Darkness!)

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