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Radiant Darkness Hardcover – April 28, 2009

3.9 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up—Whitman has cleverly fit an ancient story into a trendy modern formula—a beautiful, innocent, privileged girl (Persephone) meets a powerful, wealthy bad boy (Hades). In this retelling of the myth, Persephone falls head over heels for Hades and willingly leaves her overbearing mother to become queen of the underworld. Teens will likely relate to Persephone, who cannot stand the thought of spending eternity in the prison she feels her mother has constructed for her, and her transformation from girlish dreaminess to strong, thoughtful woman will resonate with them. Though the author perhaps tries a bit too hard to use metaphor and symbolism ensconced in flowery language, there is an interesting story here; the hints at Persephone's lusty relationship with Hades, combined with the contemporary tone of her first-person narrative, will capture some readers. An endnote gives an overview of the original tale, which may lead to exploration of this and other Greek myths. Purchase where alternative chick-lit is popular.—Angela J. Reynolds, Annapolis Valley Regional Library, Bridgetown, NS, Canada
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“Whitman makes Hades and Persephone (Hadephone? Persades?) a glam celebrity couple that everyone will want to read about.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)

“A steamy coming-of-age novel laced with feminist sensibilities.” (ALA Booklist)

“Will satisfy fans of Libba Bray and Stephenie Meyer.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“A terrific story of a girl on the edge of womanhood, caught between a mother who offers no reverence and a boy who offers worship.” (Eloisa James, New York Times bestselling author)

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Product Details

  • Series: AWARDS: Eliot Rosewater Awards 2011-2012
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books; 1 edition (April 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061724491
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061724497
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,828,130 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The Good: One of the reasons why I liked this book was because it contradicts the old myth. For example, Persephone is not a damsel-in-distress and Hades is not some perverted stalker (it was totally implied in the myth) who kidnaps her against her will, he's actually pretty... hot.

It still keeps with the old myth, but Ms. Whitman still manages to give it some unique quirks that will keep the reader intrigued.

And characters, invented or not, that I normally would not care about, are so awesome. From Charon to Hermes and Zeus to Melita (even some of the nymphs and sprites interest me!), I had a whole variety of fantastic characters.

The Bad: It was really predictable. That's kind of a given since almost everyone knows about Persephone and Hades myth, so that really dulled the book for me.

Also, I thought Persephone and Hades's relationship was a bit fake. I just think that the only reason why they're even together is because they're both desperate. Persephone is desperate to escape from her over-bearing and way over-protective mother while Hades is desperate for a queen. And coincidentally, Hades passes where Persephone lives and sees Persephone. And they fall in "love."

Nuh-uh, that does NOT work for me.

Persephone's the type of girl that would run away with the first guy she lays her eyes on... and that is exactly what happens.

It was just a little, too predictable for me.

Overall: Radiant Darkness is an lyrical, unique, and surprisingly fun retelling that will sure to peak the interest of readers, whether they love mythology or not!
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Format: Hardcover
We all know how the story goes: poor, innocent Persephone is snatched away from her beloved mother, Demeter, by Hades and imprisoned in the Underworld as his queen. Demeter is grief stricken, and wreaks havoc on the earth until Persephone is thankfully allowed to come back for a few months out of every year. Right?

Wrong. Demeter is smothering Persephone, who yearns for a chance to prove that she is no longer a child, and to explore the world beyond her sheltered vale where her mother has kept her "safe from men" for all her life. So when she encounters Hades by chance and they fall in love, her decision to leave her mother is not a hard one. At first, everything is just fine, and Persephone is adjusting to her new life wonderfully--except now Demeter is killing mortals in a desperate attempt to get Persephone back, and the only way Persephone can stop her is if she leaves her new home and husband...and never returns.

Radiant Darkness is a different look at the ancient tale, but infused with new life and a new attitude. Persephone's voice has a modern edge to it that is easy to read and relate to and her wishes and hopes aren't different from those of any other girl her age. Demeter's overbearing presence in Persephone's life will elicit sympathy from many, and Persephone's courage to make her own decisions in life is admirable. Though the romance between her and Hades isn't portrayed in very deep or meaningful manner, it's electrifying enough to send shivers down your back and make you wish for your own lord of the Underworld to whisk you away from ordinary life. Whitman has created a pleasantly enjoyable read that stays quite true to most of the original Ancient Greek takes and explores both filial and romantic love, friendship, and the coming of age and self confidence in a more modern and catchy voice that will set your heart racing.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love this book! I think the Hades/Persephone myth was beautifully recreated here with a different approach. I like the idea that Persephone ran off with Hades, and staged the abduction to get away from her mother. I always felt that if Persephone wanted to get away. or leave the underworld she was capable of it! According to my readings about Ancient Greece grooms often carried off their brides in a chariot after the ceremony.
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Format: Hardcover
It's become almost cliche to take a fairy tale or myth or much beloved classic story and picking the view point of one rarely heard character within said story and retelling the same tale with a new perspective. Emily Whitman's retelling of the classic Hades and Persephone myth from Greek Mythology hasn't necessarily been tackled that often in Published Media before (Though PC Cast's Goddess Summoning series took a romance novel spin on it), but it's a much beloved myth that spins a yarn similar to the "Beauty and the Beast" motif. Innocent young girl is taken and becomes a virtual prisoner for a brutal man, forced to become his wife the story ends with her changing the heart of said brutal man and discovering that she has indeed fallen in love with him and he with her. What's different about this story is the twist to the tale that Persephone WANTED to go with Hades, after growing up in the shadowing arms of an over protective mother, who refuses to see the girl as anything but a child. Persephone grows up in virtual isolation in a valley protected by her Mother Demeter, Goddess of the Harvest and the Seasons. Surrounded only women and other nymphs her Mother refuses to even let her choose her own clothes and make decisions for herself or even participate in the much beloved ritualistic rites that mortals perform. Longing to make her own path in life and looking for a way to find freedom and seeing no exit, Persephone is startled when a man (the first man she's ever really seen ever) wanders into their seemingly isolated valley and starts a relationship with her. Slowly at first the two fall in love, it isn't until one of Persephone's nymph friends get in trouble that she decides to leave her Mother's shadow and go with the man, who reveals himself to be Hades.Read more ›
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