Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman

Grade: A

Synopsis:

Persephone lives in the most gorgeous palace in the world. But her mother's a goddess, as overprotective as she is powerful. Paradise has become a trap. Just when Persephone feels there's no chance of escaping the life that's been planned for her, a mysterious stranger arrives. A stranger who promises something more--something dangerous and exciting--something that spurs Persephone to make a daring choice. A choice that could destroy all she's come to love, even the earth itself.

Rating:

Character Development: 7/10
Originality: 10/10
Overall Enjoyment: 7/10
Ending: 9/10
Voice: 6/10
Plot: 9/10
Setting: 10/10
Total Score: 58/70

Obtained: Bought from Recycled Books.

Age Appropriate? PG

Cussing: The (seemingly random) use of the "D" word. It was quite out of place, but oh well...
Alcohol, Drugs, etc: None.
Sexual Activity: Implied.
Disturbing Images/Violence: Child slavery.

Review:

An interesting twist on a rarely-twisted tale. This book is not what I expected. It's very Ancient Greek without being dry, very mythical without being distant or unbelievable, very accessible despite being a retelling, and surprisingly interesting. It tied in well with the original story, though at some points I felt Persephone's motivation was lacking. Or maybe that was just her being naive... It was hard to tell sometimes.

While I did genuinely like Persephone, I thought that she was a fool. The author often manipulated the character into being a spokesperson for certain themes and morals that felt incongruous and unnecessary to the plot. At times, this caused a childish "Mother Goose Effect" that occasionally made me shudder. But, aside from this small detail, the characters were very well executed, particularly Hades; his and Persephone's relationship was wrought with care, depth, and understanding. This was probably my favorite aspect of the story.

Unfortunately, I had a small issue with the writing. The narration was mostly flawless, very clean-cut and honest. It was the voice that grated on my nerves. The story would be gliding along pleasantly with the tone of a Greek storyteller and then BAM! Out of nowhere would come a random modern phrase or term that would take me out of that world altogether and leave me staring confusedly at the page.

But for those of us with a passion for Greek myth and an interest in retellings, there is no better book. Emily Whitman has created a unique version of Persephone and her story, but remains deeply respectful of the myth itself. No prior knowledge is necessary, for this book will give you a decent understanding of the Grecian way of life, an avid interest in their myths, and a love for their gods.

LINKS:

Emily Whitman
Persephone - The Original

1 comment:

Comment, comment, comment! We love your words, so type, type, type, Readers!

We love to hear from authors, fellow reviewers, YA readers, and random members of the general public. Have your say, and let us know what you think!