Book Review: Persephone by Kaitlin Bevis

Daughters of Zeus

Kaitlin Bevis
Musa Publishing, July 2012
ISBN 978-1-61937243-6

From the publisher—

There are worse things than death, worse people too.

The “talk” was bad enough, but how many teens get told that they’re a goddess? When her mom tells her, Persephone is sure her mother has lost her mind. It isn’t until Boreas, the god of winter, tries to abduct her that she realizes her mother was telling the truth. Hades rescues her, and in order to safely bring Persephone to the Underworld he marks her as his bride. But Boreas will stop at nothing to get Persephone. Despite her growing feelings for Hades, Persephone wants to return to the living realm. Persephone must find a way to defeat Boreas and reclaim her life.

I fully admit to being considerably older than most people who read and review young adult fiction. OK, lots older. That hasn’t mattered usually and I think I have a little bit of an advantage sometimes. My reading experience perhaps allows me to more easily recognize especially strong writing in both characterization and plot development and to spot the real gems. I’ve come to love YA and I probably read more of it now than anything else. One of the true pleasures for me is in feeling as though I’m witnessing the early times of a truly promising author’s career.

On the other hand, my age can get in the way every now and then and that has happened with Persephone. Somehow, the very modern language juxtaposed with an ancient cast of characters just didn’t quite work for me and I frequently found myself pulled out of the story by the manner in which these characters speak to each other and to Persephone. Her speaking in such a modern tone is natural; it doesn’t seem natural for the gods, goddesses, reapers, etc., and it artificially lightens what is actually a fairly somber myth.

The premise of the story is a good one, quite creative, and I do understand that the author’s point was to offer a modern take on a very old tale. In some ways, I found the novel refreshing and Cassandra, in particular, was very appealing while Persephone was a bit annoying and seemed to have a sense of entitlement that had more to do with being a teenager who wants her own way than with being a goddess. Hades, on the other hand, had his charming moments but is pretty clueless despite his great age when it comes to relating to Persephone.

In spite of these shortcomings, I do think Persephone is enjoyable and Ms. Bevis has a bright future as an author. I’ll be interested to see what she does with the sequel, Daughter of Earth and Sky.