A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair
For Hades and Persephone sex scenes, for another angle of these characters, for some great creative imaginings of other gods and their world. Not for terribly interesting characters or plot conflicts
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.
I finally read this after borrowing it from Hoopla like eight times! It was decent. Thankfully it was more tame than the other Scarlett St. Clair book I read without realizing their, uh, style of writing. xD It can get distracting.
Anyway, my favorite thing about the story was probably the connections to other stories I’ve read fictionalizing Persephone and Hades. It’s fun to tease out the common thread of the original story by seeing what themes come up repeatedly. Minthe, Tartarus, pomegranates, and even pink dresses. Somehow it’s all connected! Delightful.
The story itself is pretty straightforward, with a few side characters making cameos throughout to be a foil to the main relationship between Persephone and Hades. Since they’re gods, the romance portion was all very literally “fated to be” which kind of made me roll my eyes at times. It’s very over the top and unrealistic, but then again, they’re gods! Who am I to impose my stupid mortal expectations on them?
The sex scenes (come on, you knew there would be PLENTY) were as detailed and lavish as all of St. Clair’s, though you had to be a little more patient in this book to get to them. More time was spent on the setup and learning about Persephone’s original impressions of Hades and her current life before diving into their growing connection. (Ha! Growing! Get it? You will after you finish it. ☺) Some of the sex scenes had little things that made me uncomfortable or took me out of it, like that borderline-violence and over-the-top possession. It tended to be mutual and going both ways (ie not just Hades to Persephone) so it didn’t wig me out too much, but I still gave a little side eye.
Honestly I think the characters were a little weak. I didn’t really care about either of them. I had so many other versions of them in my head from other stories, and nothing in this one really added to or overwrote those earlier impressions. I think if this were my first encounter with the characters and lore of Hades and Persephone, I would have been kind of unimpressed. Some of this is because in just about every interaction, there’s an immediate sharp focus on the physical reactions to each other. That’s fine, but it pushed out any other relationship building besides “oh he didn’t want the ogre to manhandle me, how sweet, oh look he’s taking his pants off” and then ending the thought line.
I smiled a lot during this. Again, it was mostly at the way the original story was worked into the details, which kind of requires being “in” on it. If you’re less familiar with their tale, there are likely little details you’ll miss. The rest of the story will still flow and read fine, but if you’ve read other works about their lore (I’m looking at you, Lore Olympus: Volume One) then you’ll have a lot of those same smiles.
11 thoughts on “Review: A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair”
Haha, I love this review. This definitely sounds more romance than fantasy although it kinda sucks the author doesn’t do Persephone and Hades justice. It sounds like a fun and entertaining enough read though (your comments about how it’s focused so much on the physical/sexual aspect of their relationship was pretty funny)!
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I think it’s more complimentary to other books that focus more heavily on the lore. Just put them all together in a package and decide which version you’re in the mood for at that moment. 🙂
This sounds amusing on the basic plot, at least. However, I’ve gotten picky with my Greek gods retellings over the years. It feels like I’ve just read so many, and most of them are mediocre at best. (Though I haven’t done any checking to get proof. This is all based on feelings at this point. 😉 )
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Yeeeep. I read Mythos by Stephen Fry when it came out and that made me appreciate all the fun to be had with mythology. Now that I’ve read a couple different stories with it, there’s a HUUUGE range of well done (Punderworld, Lore Olympus) to not (Circe).
I’ve read some of Lore Olympus, but I have a habit of subscribing to Webtoons and then never going back to read more. I’ll be ordering the books shortly, though, so that I can read it. I really liked what I did read of it.
I have Circe on the TBR, though. I’ll have to think carefully about whether or not to actually try reading it.