book review

Book Review: Tempting Hades by Emma Hamm

Yes, another Hades and Persephone retelling. I’m on the search for one I really love and can give 5* too. I’d been wanting to read this one for ages and I finally caved after A Touch of Ruin.

So, this is a pretty typical Hades and Persephone retelling. It’s set in Ancient Greece and follows the myth reasonably faithfully. Kore lives a sheltered life under the control of her mother Demeter but, after a visit to Olympus and a chance meeting with Hades, Kore starts to want more. The God of the Underworld might just be the one to give her that, but Hades isn’t a knight on a white horse and the underworld is also not what she expects.

It’s been a few weeks since I read this book and I have to admit, it’s going grey in my mind which is never a good sign. I really wanted to love this book, I was looking forward to romancing and pining. I did get that, it just left me feeling a little underwhelmed.

This book isn’t an enemies to lovers (I did know that) but without that the Hades and Persephone retelling loses something of it’s interest. There’s no tension between Kore and Hades, there was a lot of scope for shared understanding, both being bound by things they have little control over. However, that doesn’t really come through.

Hades is infatuated with Kore from the start and I can’t really remember why anymore, other than she looks like a nymph which he has a thing for. Kore is so sheltered that the gallantry Hades show her when compared with the other gods is enough to keep her thinking of him.

What starts out as a really promising romance fizzles out when they get to the underworld. Kore acts like the child she very much still is, refusing to come out of her room, trying to save souls, etc. Hades keeps his distance respectfully but then when they do spend time together, I struggled to see the relationship developing.

Kore has obviously been kept very sheltered throughout her life, she struggles to talk about her own feelings and with feeling jealous a lot of the time. It was interesting to see her develop a backbone throughout the book but otherwise I was disappointed in her story arc.

I think the big thing that left a sour taste was that it doesn’t feel like Hades and Persephone had won at the end. For the rest of eternity Persephone has to spend six months away from her husband and daughter, answering to the whims of her mother and living a dull, boring life. I know that’s how the myth ends but I just didn’t like it. Especially not with how much quicker time is supposed to be in the underworld.

Overall, this was a quick read, an enjoyable take on the Hades and Persephone story. I gave it a 3.5* and I’m feeling a bit meh about it now.

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