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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman

Title: Radiant Darkness
Author: Emily Whitman
ISBN: 9780061724497
Publisher: Greenwillow Books

"Persephone lives in the most gorgeous place in the world. But her mother's a goddess, as overprotective as she is powerful. Paradise has become a trap. Just when Persephone feels there's no chance of escaping the life that's been planned for her, a mysterious stranger arrives. A stranger who promises something more - something dangerous and exciting - something that spurs Persephone to make a daring choice. A choice that could destroy all she's come to love, even the earth itself.

In a land where a singing river can make you forget your very name, Persephone is forced to discover who - and what - she really is."

I've really gotten into the genre of retold stories, but up until now they've all been fairy tales. As a kid, I loved all things mythology. And I've read the stories that include mythological characters... but never a retold story from mythology! I thought this was the perfect intro to that genre I could have found. Are there even any others?

This story is so well written - as the story is written about the earth and plants and gardens... It's a sensual story in that way. There are some wonderful descriptions that make you wish you were experiencing them as well. I'm ready to move in to the vale! :).

One thing that I'm not sure I totally buy into is the description of the underworld. I guess I always pictured it in the dark, dank, spooky way that Persephone begins worrying about. But the thing is, I had a hard time realizing it as a place that someone might actually want to be. It works for the story - I mean, why else would Persephone want to stay there?! But that was all just me picturing it differently, but I really enjoyed the way it was described in the book.

This is a great book for any age reader - starting, really, with 6th or 7th grade. I think it would be interesting in a discussion about mythology in school. The more modern twist in this book would probably pull in other readers that wouldn't have been interested otherwise. By modern twist, I don't mean that it's set in a different world - it's just the attitudes and the language that are more modern. I very much tip my hat to the author on that front.

So, I recommend this one, for sure. And it was a very quick read. What more could you want?! Check out the author's website.
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