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A Touch of Darkness

Hades & Persephone Series, Book 1
Narrated by: Meg Sylvan
Series: Hades & Persephone, Book 1
Length: 11 hrs and 6 mins
4.0 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)

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Summary

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.  

Contains mature themes.

©2019 Scarlett St. Clair (P)2020 Tantor

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I didn't know what to expect

I really enjoyed this book. I finished it in a day. It is thrilling, and invigorating. A perfect distraction 👌

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Profile Image for S.J. Gokey-Hartsfield
  • S.J. Gokey-Hartsfield
  • 18-08-20

Some people really will romanticize anything, huh?

I was excited to read "A Touch of Darkness" based on the synopsis I was given. A modern retelling of the Hades and Persephone myth? Great! Then I started the audiobook and it all went downhill from there. The only way to properly address my feelings about this book is to organize things in a list, so here we go: 1. Persephone as a heroine. Persephone barely functions as a protagonist, let alone a heroine. Her motivations are all over the place: does she want adventure, a life outside her mother's grasp? Does she want passion and/or love (two things that are alternately conflated and differentiated, as the situation dictates)? Does she want to trust Hades and challenge her preconceived notions of him? Or does she want those notions confirmed, despite his words and actions? She seems ready to believe the worst of Hades at all times, no matter what he does. She tells him he should send struggling mortals to rehab? He does so, and she accuses him of doing it to "make fun of" her. If she's so eager to get out from under her mother's thumb, and her mother hates and mistrusts Hades, you'd think Persephone would take any and every opportunity to see the best in him, specifically to spite her mother. She also just plain doesn't listen when Hades speaks (when he bothers to explain himself at all, see below). He'll tell her, "I don't have full control over my contracts and have to consult with the Fates", and she'll continue to berate him for his "unfair" contracts that "ask the impossible". Lastly, she spends a lot of time thinking Independent Woman thoughts, but all of those seem to fly out the window the second she gets in the presence of Hades and his magical dick. 2. Persephone as a goddess. Persephone is, nominally, the goddess of spring. If she was, as the story implies, born 20-some actual years ago, how has spring happened before her birth? Since she can't make her powers manifest, how does spring happen at all? Who gave her the title of "goddess of spring", if a) none of the other gods knew about her (as is implied) and b) she shows no gift for anything springtime-related? 3. Hades as a hero. So Hades has a reputation as a cold, heartless, ruthless tyrant who challenges mortals to games of cards in order to trick them into "impossible" contracts. (His terms include things like challenging alcoholics to give up drinking. You might recognize that as something that's certainly difficult, but not impossible.) Anyway, Persephone buys into this reputation and often accuses him of this and worse, and Hades hardly ever stands up for himself. At worst he stays silent, and at best he'll say something along the lines of, "It's not like that," but doesn't follow up with an explanation. He allows Persephone to continue thinking ill of him, then gets irritated when she thinks ill of him. If he truly didn't care about anyone's opinion this would make sense, but he tells Persephone more than once that HER opinion matters. He just doesn't seem willing to do much to change it. The only time he makes an effort to alter her perception of him is when he starts a rehab charity for mortals, at Persephone's suggestion, but--as mentioned--she only takes that as an offense. 4. Lack of logic. I don't just mean that characters make illogical choices (although there's plenty of that, too). I mean that conversations/sequences of events don't seem to follow any sort of logical pattern. For instance: "No, Lady Persephone. Trust me, when we fuck, you'll remember." WHEN? "Your arrogance is alarming." His eyes flashed. "Is that a challenge?" A challenge to what? If Persephone had followed the statement about arrogance with something like, "We will NEVER have sex," his response might make sense. It would be disgusting, but it would make sense. But exchanges like this happen all the time. It's like the author wrote from sentence to sentence, picking what she wanted to say in any given moment, regardless of what had just been said/done or what was about to be said/done. 5. A tired dynamic. Can we move past the dynamic of "virginal college-aged woman" and "brooding worldly billionaire", please? It was uncomfortable in Fifty Shades of Grey and it was uncomfortable here. Persephone is in her 20s, and we're supposed to believe that not only is she a virgin, she's never even masturbated. Is she okay? It's also time to retire a dynamic where one party (usually the woman) says something that implies she isn't interested, and the other party (usually the man) "sees past" her protests to what she "really wants" and informs her of her own desires. It's gross and problematic. It gets a SLIGHT pass in this story, since Hades is literally a god and can literally see into people's souls, but it's still pretty skeevy. Not to mention that if Persephone is college-aged and Hades is millennia old, the age difference is far beyond anything even Twilight could throw at us. 6. Implementation of mythology. It was really difficult to get a handle on the way in which mythological characters were employed in this story. Which gods had been around since antiquity, like Hades, and which were new, like Persephone? Was the Adonis we meet bound to be the same mortal that Aphrodite falls for in the myth, or was he a modern man with the same name? Was Sibyl the Oracle of Delphi, or was she a modern woman who just happened to also be an oracle? Was Orpheus the guy with the lyre we know, or just a bereft widower denied the opportunity to exchange his soul for his wife’s? It seemed that the author cherry-picked images/names/themes from mythology without taking the time to construct a cohesive universe with them. 7. Lack of proofreading. Look, I’m not here to rag on self-publication as an industry. I think it’s a great way for new authors to get their work out to an audience, especially an audience that might be smaller than a publisher wants to bet on. My problem isn’t that St. Clair “independently published” this book. My issue is that she clearly didn’t employ ANY sort of editor in the process. I can’t speak on the textual version, but even the audiobook was rife with awkward word choice and sentence structure, not to mention moments like this: "Oh no," Persephone said. Hades raised a brow. "What?" "I know that look." He raised a curious brow. "What look?" Freelance editors are readily available online. Employ them. 8. The terms of bets and contracts. Early in the story, Hades offers to teach Persephone to play poker. They wager questions: whoever wins a hand gets to ask the other a question, which must be answered. However, once they’ve finished, Hades is able to mark Persephone, indicating that she is now under contract with him. The terms of that contract are decided after the fact. This makes zero sense. If questions and answers were the wagers, how can she then owe him a contract fulfilled? How can you possibly be beholden to a contract without its terms being defined first? 9. The audiobook narrator. This is something that Scarlett St. Clair can't be blamed for, but bears mentioning: the narrator of this audiobook has three major flaws, as far as I'm concerned. A) Her male voices all sound the same: gravelly and molasses-slow. Hades sounds like Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith. B) She over-enunciates almost everything. C) She gets into the sex scenes. Like. REALLY gets into the sex scenes. I’m sure there’s a lot more to talk about but this review is already 1300 words and I’m so tired.

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  • Sarah-Jane
  • 02-07-20

Romantic book.

This is a deliciously romantic book, it’s about Hades and Persephone, theirs a back and forth, funny parts, and beautifully illustrated underworld.

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  • Danielle
  • 20-10-20

LOVED IT!

I really hope audible gets book 2 and 3! Such a good story! A great mix of everything you’d want to hear/read in a good book about different worlds and gods and men!

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  • Tabatha
  • 13-10-20

LOVED it

I have been searching for something new to listen to while doing my work around the house and outside. Against the first review I went for it anyway. The story is beautiful and keeps you on the edge of your seat just enough but leaves you satisfied and wanting for more!

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  • Kimberly Heathcock
  • 09-10-20

WoW!

Scarlett St.Clair wrote this with so much detail! it was impossible to stop listening. I'm addicted to her books. Dont ever stop writing!

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 16-09-20

Unexpected

Maybe I didn't do enough research into this book but I was not expecting it to be quite as steamy as it was. Don't get me wrong, I love a good romance novel but this was unexpected for me. It was a fun book, it's a good standalone novel that's wrapped up nicely. It has a couple mini stories at the end that are a fun change of pace. It's not the best romance novel I've ever read/heard by a long shot but it's a refreshing take on a classic love story.

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  • Ange de l'aube
  • 15-09-20

It is a good re-imagining of this myth

This is a good re-imagining of this myth. However, I don't like the female lead. And that is something undesirable when all the book is told in her perspective. She is immature and annoying at best.

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  • Gwen
  • 01-08-20

Just perfect!

This was a great mythological retelling with a modern twist. I love that the story is not overly wordy, the descriptions are perfect. The build up of the relationship is just right and the chemistry explosive. The reader really brings the story to life and I could easily tell the difference between characters. I can't wait for the next book in the series to release on Audible. Give me more Scarlett!!!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 22-07-20

juicy, predictable, couldn't stop listening

power, brooding, daddy seeks impulsive, beautiful, kitten. Despite this dynamics framilarity I couldn't stop listening to a retelling of persephone and hades.

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  • Akjacjelly
  • 18-07-20

good story, needs more dynamic performance

narration was a talented woman, but unfortunately for me it did not grasp the sensuality of men's voices. maybe 2 readers next time?