Series: Hades and Persephone #1
Goodreads: A Touch of Darkness
Publisher: Self Published
Buy: Bookshop.org UK | US
Synopsis: Persephone is the Goddess of Spring by title only. The truth is, since she was a little girl, flowers have shriveled at her touch. After moving to New Athens, she hopes to lead an unassuming life disguised as a mortal journalist.
Hades, God of the Dead, has built a gambling empire in the mortal world and his favorite bets are rumored to be impossible. After a chance encounter with Hades, Persephone finds herself in a contract with the God of the Dead and the terms are impossible: Persephone must create life in the Underworld or lose her freedom forever. The bet does more than expose Persephone’s failure as a goddess, however. As she struggles to sow the seeds of her freedom, love for the God of the Dead grows – and it’s forbidden.
Review: I’ve recently descended into booktok hell and alongside that swift descent I rekindled my love of Greek mythology, so when A Touch of Darkness popped up on my for you page it felt like fate. A spicy Hades and Persephone retelling while I’m gripped by Lore Olympus, yes please, but this book ended up being a major flop for me.
Yes, as tiktok will tell you, the book is spicy but the spice doesn’t really happen until the last third. This definitely wouldn’t normally be a killer for me, I love long, drawn out, flirty courtships in this kind of literature, but A Touch of Darkness doesn’t really bring that to the table. I know when it comes to the ACOTAR series everyone says there’s no plot but there is some kind of depth to those novels, even in the first book (which was a mediocre read for me) there is at least a cohesive overarching plot; A Touch of Darkness is completely missing this kind of essential aspect. The book can’t commit to anything and explains nothing, it’s like the author had decided on the six or so scenes she wanted to write and knitted a narrative together around them; the result is a choppy confusing narrative that contradicts itself, and makes the characters make really illogical decisions. I think self-publishing is a fabulous way for authors to get their work out there, but A Touch of Darkness is in desperate need of an editorial eye and a proof-reader.
Maybe my expectations were to high, I mean Lore Olympus has spoiled me when it comes to Hades and Persephone, but the chemistry between the main characters was so lacking. The dialogue felt so clunky to me and Persphone is the most infuriating protagonist that I’ve read in a while. None of the characters get the development they need to feel vaguely like real human beings, whether it’s Persephone’s quirky flatmate or her dark and mysterious love interest Hades, everyone is kinda flat. I need more character development in my smutty literature people is that too much to ask.
This book is the epitome of the Archive of Our Own tag Plot What Plot/Porn Without Plot and that’s not what I want when it comes to literature I pay for. The characters are two dimensional and the barest hint of a plot is there to give them a reason to exist, I think that the second book in the series will bring more to the table when it comes to character development but I don’t think I’ll be continuing on with the series.
Recommend: Not at all, you’ll get a better plot for free on archive of our own and probably better spice too. It is a quick read though, so if you have time to kill maybe this is worth a go.