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Persephone's Orchard (The Chrysomelia Stories) Paperback – June 1, 2013
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
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"Being above ground is overrated, right? Anyone who is fond of mythology will absolutely love Persephone's Orchard." - Nevaeh's New Adult Book Blog
"Molly Ringle has crafted an excellent piece of fiction. ... one which encourages me to cuddle under the covers, knees up, and enjoy the spicy details." - Long and Short Reviews
"If you love Greek mythology, particularly the story of Hades and Persephone, then you should definitely add Persephone's Orchard to your TBR list. I was very impressed with Molly Ringle's reworking of the myth, and I can't wait to see what she has in store for the rest of the series." - Rally the Readers
"I felt a deep connection with this beautiful retelling of this Greek myth (which is my favorite), and how she has wound it all together into this delectable story. I believe Ms. Ringle's readers will be enthralled by this journey too!" - A Bookish Escape
From the Author
It doesn't take much research to find that there is no one "proper" way to tell any of the Greek myths. People developed their own favorite versions in different areas, with contradictory details cropping up between one story and another. Therefore, in taking a Greek myth and turning it on its ear, I figure I'm only adding to the longstanding tradition of creating a version of events I personally am fond of.
The ancient myths all tend to agree that Hades kidnapped Persephone, completely against her will, traumatizing her and breaking her mother Demeter's heart. But for reasons I can't fathom (maybe I simply wanted a prettier story?), ever since I was a teenager I wanted to see a version where Persephone loved Hades, and he loved her too. (It's possible he did in the original myth, and just had an unhealthy way of showing it. We don't get a lot of glances into Hades' mind in those old stories.) But in rewriting the myth that way, it became clear that if Hades wasn't the villain in the triangle, someone else would have to be.
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I very much enjoyed this book. I have read a few similar type of stories about reincarnated loves, or reincarnated gods. I generally like the idea but am often let down by the actual book. The author did an amazing job with this story though. The world is well created, very vivid and easy to imagine. The characters are full and exciting. I loved how as Sophie remembered her past, she remained herself. She didn’t just spark that first memory of Adrian/Hades and fall instantly into her role and in love with Adrian. As she worked through all the past lives and memories, she questioned every step and fell into a natural slow rhythm of learning who she was and who Adrian was.
The story was a clean read, I had no moments where I was bored. I easily read it in one day, not wanting to take a break. I cannot wait to find out more and read the rest of this series. I did receive this book as an ARC copy in exchange for a review. Then I bought it because I loved it.
I enjoyed this story, though I didn't care for the mythology of the world as much as I have with other mythology retellings. It was certainly a unique take on the idea of Greek gods and goddesses, but I don't know how much it really worked for me.
That being said, I liked the story overall. The basic concept is that the heroine is the reincarnation of Persephone. So, this story tells multiple love stories, mostly focusing on the original Hades and Persephone myth (when they first fell in love) and in modern days. It pieces the story together as her past memories come back to her. It was quite sweet and I liked it (with the exception of this really weird part where Demeter sends Persephone off to study with Aphrodite...it made Persephone seem like a skank and seemed really strange for an overprotective mother to do).
Add to that, a pinch of danger from outside sources seeking to destroy the gods and it makes for a decent read. This book is the beginning of a series and I usually don't like starting a series before it's been finished, but there's enough of a wrap-up at the end to not leave you hanging too bad. It certainly leaves a lot of mysteries to be addressed, but feels like a complete story.
I don't know if this is a story I would read again, but I'm definitely interested in seeing where the series goes.
There were moments where I feel like the dialogue could have used a little work, but it was otherwise well written. I liked the plot; it was very focused on Sophie and Aidan’s relationship. But, there was a subplot involving a secret society, Thanatos, that was opposed to immortals and sought to kill them. I liked that both Aidan and Sophie made some smart decisions to avoid them and eventually overcome them in the end.
I liked the flashbacks to past lives, especially getting to see Hades and Persephone, but I felt like they took away from Adrian and Sophie’s story some. Much of Sophie’s time is spent remembering flashbacks and I would have liked a little more adventure in the present between her and Adrian – not that there wasn’t any. The story just felt a little heavy on the Hades/Persephone memories. Adrian and Sophie do spend a lot of time getting to know one another, but I would have liked the focus to be on their present selves just a little more.
One thing I really enjoyed was reading Adrian’s POV in the beginning while he waited for Sophie to remember him. He has a mix of longing and giddiness surrounding his thoughts that I loved. The sexy scenes between Sophie and Aidan and their memories of Hades and Persephone were well written, but I wanted a little more of that “build-up” feeling. They were very fun and free moments, but I wanted a little more intensity.
I also liked Sophie much more than Persephone. I really connected with Sophie, but not so much with her previous incarnation. I’m not sure why exactly, but I wished I had liked Persephone more, especially as so much of the story is in flashbacks.
I did start the second book of this series, but it lost me after about ten chapters. The story started to focus more on the other characters and less on Sophie and Adrian.