Friday, July 5, 2013

Book Review: Persephone's Orchard

Persephone's Orchard
Published By: Central Avenue Publishing
Publication Date: June 28, 2013
Page Count: 370
Source: Kindly Provided by Publisher
Audience: New Adult - Fantasy, Greek Mythology

I was slightly leery of this one because I've read so many spins on the Hades and Persephone myth lately, but I love Molly Ringle's work, so I decided to give this one a try anyway. I found that this was an interesting take on mythology that I hadn't seen in previous stories. I truly enjoyed Ringle's twist on an old favorite; she takes characters we all know and breathes fresh life into them. It doesn't hurt that Hades is attractive instead of a grouchy old man.

The main character, Sophie, is your typical college freshman. She's nervous about living on her own for the first time, making her relationship last when her boyfriend is attending school 40 miles away, and learning to rely on her cell phone to communicate with her best friend who is living it up in Seattle. Sophie isn't sure that attending Oregon State was the best decision. She just wants life to stay the same; Sophie is not a girl who enjoys change, but she soon finds that she isn't who she thought she was and change is the least of her worries when Adrian enters her life. He's tall, dark, and handsome plus he's got a crazy story he expects her to believe. After a lot of cajoling, he convinces her that he is the reincarnation of Hades and she is his one true love, Persephone.

I liked that the action begins quickly and the reader immediately is immersed into the fantasy world of Greek mythology. Old traditions crop up from time to time, but this is largely based on Ringle's imaginings. It was difficult for me to see Hades as someone desirable and sympathetic since this is not his traditional role, but I soon fell under Adrian's spell. I loved the relationship between Adrian and Sophie. I also found the dreams to be an interesting way for Sophie to learn more about her soul and past lives. The notion of reincarnation was interesting and well explained.

I will say that sometimes the flashbacks disrupted my reading flow. They often distracted me from what was happening in the present day. The length of these segments also made them tedious from time to time. Yes, I enjoyed getting the back story, but I adored the present day scenes and wanted to get back to them. I think some of the flashbacks could have been condensed. The whole purpose of them is to immerse the reader in this world and explain its structure and rules, I get that, but I wish there had been more showing and less telling. I often found myself speed reading through these sections.

As always with Ringle's stories, the characters are what won me over. Sophie and Adrian were realistic and compelling. The side characters were interesting as well, but I did figure out one of the big secrets about one of them far before the reveal at the end. In addition, the villains kept me on my toes. I'm interested to see what will happen next as there are plenty of directions this story could move in next. I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as Ringle's contemporaries, but I think it has a lot of potential. It is obvious that Ringle put forth a lot of effort and creativity to create this universe; there are also historical tidbits that kept me enthralled.

Lastly, while this is New Adult based on the age of the characters and the situations, it is pretty tame. There are some steamy moments, but they aren't super explicit. You could certainly read this one in public without blushing too much. In fact, I have read some YA novels with steamier moments. I liked that Ringle left things to my imagination, but she did give several helpful nudges in the right direction.

If you're a fan of Greek mythology inspired romances with a helpful serving of magical realism, this is the novel for you.

One Last Gripe: I felt like Sophie's acceptance of her parents' marriage was too easy. That whole aspect felt really odd to me.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: I really liked how the reincarnation aspect worked.

First Sentence: The first gunshot sent Adrian Watt's dog, Kiri, crashing to the ground with a yelp.

Favorite Character: Sophie

Least Favorite Character: Quentin

The Greek gods never actually existed. Did they? Sophie Darrow finds she was wrong about that assumption when she's pulled into the spirit realm, complete with an Underworld, on her first day at college. Adrian, the mysterious young man who brought her there, simply wants her to taste a pomegranate. 

Soon, though she returns to her regular life, her mind begins exploding with dreams and memories of ancient times; of a love between two Greeks named Persephone and Hades. But lethal danger has always surrounded the immortals, and now that she's tainted with the Underworld's magic, that danger is drawing closer to Sophie.


  1. Oh how I love Greek myths sooo much! This book looks fabulous(: Lovely review(:

    1. It was a really interesting take on mythology. I'd recommend checking it out.

  2. Great review, yes its rather hard to like the doom and gloom lord of the underworld but it seems you haven't read Aimee Carter's Goddess Test series yet, try it that one also focuses on Hades as a good guy, just misunderstood.

    if you want you can check out my reviews of that series here

    Aparajita @Le' Grande Codex

    1. I actually have read and reviewed Carter's series as well and really enjoyed it. I had trouble seeing Henry as a good guy too at first since it's so out of character.

    2. Furthermore, Carter's version of Hades still comes with a bit of aloofness. Adrian is not like that at all.

    3. yes i suppose with Carter's Henry, you would be a bit aloof too if you are lonely in the dank and dark underworld

  3. Seems like even though you had a few quibbles, you were able to enjoy this one. It's always hit or miss for me with reincarnation novels.

    1. I agree, reincarnation can be done really well or it can flop. I think Ringle does it well. It fits her story and is explained in a way that makes it seem plausible for the world she creates.

  4. OH MY GOSH! It sounds like I will really enjoy this one! I love Greek mythology, and books based on a myth, or a retelling, are usually pretty good! I love that the characters won you over, and there is romance! I'm definitely going to check this one out. Great review!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    1. I'd love to hear your thoughts after you've had a chance to read this one.

  5. Of course Hades is attractive! The ancient Greeks imagined all their gods as attractive - like human beings, only perfect - and much bigger! Hades may have been stern and imposing, but he was as attractive as his womanizing brothers Zeus and Poseidon.

    There are a LOT of retellings of this myth lately. It would certainly be possible to overdose, but it's one of my favorite stories from European mythology, so I keep giving it a chance. I hadn't heard of this one, though.

    1. This one is very different from any of the Persephone and Hades stories I have read previously.

  6. Thanks for the review Andrea. I tend to like that reimagining characters you know, which means this one move to the top of my TBR pile :)


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