Saturday, February 6, 2016

Persephone - Kaitlin Bevis (Daughters of Zeus #1)

Persephone (Daughters of Zeus #1)Let's start with this: I did not enjoy this book.  It intrigued me, because I love stories based off myths and fairytales, and the story of Persephone and Hades is one my favorites.  I read and devoured Meg Cabot's Abandon series a year or two back, which was based on the Persephone story and was absolutely delicious.  I was hoping that Kaitlin Bevis' adaption would be more along those lines.  It wasn't.

The story is about Persephone, who is in high school when she abruptly finds out that she's a goddess, that the god of winter is after her, and that the guy who rescued her from her is now her husband.  Suddenly living in the underworld, does Persephone fret her pretty little head off about her mother and friends on earth?  No.  What does she do instead?  She shops.  She drinks coffee.  She designs dresses and re-decorates her room.  Apparently the underworld is like suburbia.  Eventually, of course, she gets her butt in motion and actually does something, but only after pages and pages and pages of her fretting about like a regular sixteen-year-old, not one who should have larger concerns than the view outside her bedroom windows.  Other annoying things about her: men fall in love with her at first sight (multiple times, and not just Hades; Hades gets a pass because that's how the myth goes).

The supporting characters annoyed me just as much.  The gods are supposed to thousands of years old, and yet they all act like a bunch of teenagers.  Hades, Thanatos, Demeter...all of them seem to not possess an ounce of sense in their god-like heads, as did their lackeys the Reapers, Charon, and even Persephone's friend Melissa (who was, to be fair, an actual teenager).  Boreas, as a villain, was completely lacking from the picture.  Cassandra, who should have been awesome, was merely annoying instead.  Bevis decided to do away with the part of Cassandra's curse that dictated that no one would believe her visions, instead deciding to go with the curse ended when she died, which basically means Cassandra knows everything that's coming and tells Hades about it in advance so he can deal with it, and Persephone never needs to.  Cassandra could have been an incredibly compelling character, but was instead relegated to cheesy, annoying sidekick.

The settings were also cringe-worthy; the underworld is apparently just like suburbia, very Stepford Wives-ish but without the menace lurking underneath.  Tartarus could have provided an interesting component but was, again, pushed off to the side so that Bevis could talk more about Persephone's flowershop in the suburbs of the underworld.

And the romance?  Pretty much non-existent.  Hades falls in love with Persephone at first sight, as per the myth, and that's about it.  There's no real development of their relationship on either side.  Oh, and the winter that descends upon the world is from Boreas, not from Demeter missing and searching for her daughter.  No, Demeter is totally okay with her daughter going off to the underworld and marrying a guy thousands of years older than her.  What?  What what what?

And the writing!  Bevis skips from one incident to another with no smooth transitions, to the point that at the beginning of the book I found myself wondering what the heck was going on at some points.  "Where did this come from?" I wondered, for a long time before realizing it was a completely different scene and time, there just hadn't been any transition to it.  Unnecessary adverbs abound, Hades sighs about every two seconds... I could go on, but I won't.

If you're looking for a young adult adaptation of the Persephone story, try Meg Cabot's Abandon instead; I reviewed the trilogy here, and while I certainly had some issues with it, it left a much better impression overall than Bevis' adaptation did.  If you want a young adult story of a girl coming into crazy nature powers and falling in love with a death god, try Kresley Cole's Aracana series.  Both, I think, would be far better options than this book.

1.5 stars out of 5.

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