Friday, January 6, 2012
Asphodel by Lauren Hammond
Persephone has been running for her entire life. Running from the humans to keep her immortality a secret. And running from a man who haunts her dreams. Not a man but a god, who will stop at nothing until he gets what he wants. And what he wants most, is her.
Trapped in the realm of the dead, Persephone plans to return to the land of the living. The underworld is a terrifying place where ghosts roam freely, three headed dogs patrol the gates, and it’s a living grave where the rules of earth and the warmth of the sun no longer apply. But then, something unexpected happens. Persephone finds herself falling for the god who abducted her, the god who has chased her for five thousand years, a god who is none other than death himself, Hades.
Ripped out of the underworld by Zeus, Persephone must find a pomegranate to return to the realm of the dead and to her beloved. Consuming only a seed of the fruit of the dead would bind Persephone to spend her life beneath the earth’s core with Hades. But Zeus has reduced every pomegranate tree in the world to ash. Except one. Persephone must locate that one remaining pomegranate tree, a quest that could ignite a war between the two mightiest of the gods. A war that could cause Persephone to lose the only family she’s ever known or give up a love that comes only once every five thousand years.
Most people are at least somewhat familiar with the story of Hades and Persephone, but Hammond puts a new spin on it. Hades can only claim Persephone, who has been promised to him by Zeus, on her 17th birthday. So every 17 years, Hades has his chance. But with Zeus and Demeter protecting Persephone, Hades has his work cut out for him. I loved this retelling because Demeter and Persephone hide among humans and live like common people instead of the godesses they are. Persephone is sort of a prisoner in her own life because while she tries to blend in with humans, she can't form any real connections with them.
Her separation from the world is intensified when she is taken by Hades. But their dynamic isn't what you'd expect. Hammond's description of the underworld draws you in and makes you feel like you're touring the Realm of the Dead. I don't want to give away too much of the story, but the relationship between Hades and Persephone will leave you wanting more. I'm looking forward to the next book in this series.
Just for fun: How would you react if you found out your father promised you to the god of the underworld?