Saturday 31 August 2013

Book Review-The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer

Apologies! This is a day late. The post actually scheduled for today will be posted later.

Title: The Dark Wife
 Author: Sarah Diemer
Series:   N/A
Published:   12 May 2011 by Createspace
Length: 256 pages
Warnings: rape, non-explicit sex, misgendering
Source: free download from OceanID
Summary : Three thousand years ago, a god told a lie. Now, only a goddess can tell the truth.
Persephone has everything a daughter of Zeus could want--except for freedom. She lives on the green earth with her mother, Demeter, growing up beneath the ever-watchful eyes of the gods and goddesses on Mount Olympus. But when Persephone meets the enigmatic Hades, she experiences something new: choice.
Zeus calls Hades "lord" of the dead as a joke. In truth, Hades is the goddess of the underworld, and no friend of Zeus. She offers Persephone sanctuary in her land of the dead, so the young goddess may escape her Olympian destiny.
But Persephone finds more than freedom in the underworld. She finds love, and herself.
Review: This is the story of Hades and Persephone, in which Hades is female. Hades offers Persephone freedom from the expectations of Olympus, romance grows between them and Zeus tries to take Persephone to do what he wants her to do.
Hades and Persephone is a famous story, not particularly one of my favourites due to the fact that  it can be read as rape, but anything that retells Greek myths well is my kind of thing.
It starts off with Persephone falling in love with the nymph Charis and planning to leave so that Persephone doesn't have to do what Olympus says. Then Zeus rapes Charis because,  well Zeus is Zeus, aka a colossal asshole and also a complete fricking monster at times, leaving Persephone alone. Then Persephone, after meeting Hades at Olympus, chooses to go with her, and, with the help of Pallas, settles in to life in the Underworld.
Persephone is nice enough. She isn't particularly standout to start with, but she's likable and sweet. By the end she's standing upto people  and being a bit more independent. Pallas is a bit more interesting. Hades is the best-more on that later.  Charon is very interesting-a merge of all the souls he has collected payment in formats other than money.
The romance, it was a bit more subtle than I would have liked because at times it didn't feel there. The plot is good, mainly involving finding a way to stand up to Zeus.  There's some nice development of Persephone's character.
I love Hades' resentment at the fact that humans don't believe a woman can run the Underworld, when she does it fine. I feel like this could be a metaphor for the whole ancient Greek view of lesbianism (ie, it doesn't exist, because sex can't happen if a penis isn't involved)  but  could also be a general rage against the patriarchy, which I'm also totally up for.
Sarah's writing style is very gentle and descriptive. I liked it and it suited Persephone's character.

Overall:  Strength 3.5, probably more a 4, to a retelling that added more to it's original story.

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Thanks for taking time to read this!
Comments are much loved.
Nina xxx

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