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Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman

Rating: 4 Stars
Genre: Mythology/Romance
Release Date: 4/28/09
About the Book: Remember that myth about Persephone being taken away by Hades and forced to live as his queen underground? Everyone got it all wrong-and Persephone is going to set the story straight.
Demeter is a strict controlling mother who makes Persephone stay in the vale. She sees Persephone as a child and would never ever allow a man to visit! So when Hades manages to make his way into the vale, Persephone is intrigued. The two start having secret meetings and begin a forbidden romance. When Hades asks Persephone to join him in the underworld, she can't wait to escape. Little does she know that her seemingly small decision will have a big impact on Earth.
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: The story of Persephone is one of my favorite's in mythology. So when I first heard about this book I knew I had to read it. I was so excited about it, I even did a happy dance in my office when I got it! Emily Whitman's retelling does not disappoint! Radiant Darkness has it all-a strict overbearing mom, a rebellious daughter, a forbidden romance, sacrifice and heartbreak. What teen couldn't relate to something on that list?
Ms. Whitman does a great job of turning the familiar story on it's head and adding new layers. Persephone is believable and readers will find her relatable, despite her mythical background. I loved that she starts as just a normal girl, who’s even a little klutzy! Her transformation throughout is beautifully written and I was cheering for Persephone along her journey.
I also enjoyed reading about Persephone's relationship with a human woman, Melita, who she meets in the underworld. Melita's ideas and influences on Persephone added to Persephone's overall character and made her seem more human.
I do wish there would have been a little more with Hades and Persephone and their budding relationship. At times I wasn't sure if I was supposed to like Hades or not, so more interaction from him would have been nice. What was there between the two I did like for the most part though, and Hades grew on me in the end.
Overall, this was an enchanting debut and I'm sure readers who enjoy mythology or fairy tales will want to pick this one up.


  1. This is a great review and sounds like a wonderful retelling. I'll definitely add this to my wishlist :)

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. great review, i love myths retold. I also really like the new layout!

  4. Steph Su-I hope you like it!

    Erika Lynn-I really like myths retold too, and it seems they're becoming bigger in children's and YA which makes me happy (Thank You Percy Jackson!)
    And I'm glad you like the layout!:)


  5. Ha, I thought I was on the wrong page! Very pretty and green! :)

    Yay for positive review on Radiant Darkness! Persephone was one of my favorite myths, and I'm glad you thought the author did a good job at retelling it!


  6. Cecilia-I hope you like Radiant Darkness too. I always thought there could be so much more to that myth.

    Lenore-Yes, it is a must read!:) I hope you get it soon!


  7. New background? I love it! Great review, too. (:

  8. This sounds interesting. I'm not big on mythology, fantasy and the like but turning the tale on its head gets my attention. Thanks for the review.

  9. I love when old myths get a new twist. That's why I love all the retelling of stories like Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, etc. :)

  10. I can't wait for this because Persephone is my favorite goddess!!! I love mythological fiction!


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Hello! My name is Sarah and I am a Youth Services Manager who works with kids, tweens and teens. I love being asked about great books to read! I started my blog in 2008 as a way to keep track of what I've been reading and to use a reference tool for reader's advisory and it's grown into much more than I could have ever anticipated. In addition to book reviews, I also enjoy posting audiobook reviews, booklists and my adventures in being a librarian. 2017 Library Journal Mover and Shaker Committees: 2021 Newbery Committee 2018 Odyssey Committee 2016 Caldecott Award 2013 Michael L. Printz Committee- Fabulous Films Committee I have also served on the Cybils, Missouri State Library Association Readers Selection Lists, and as an Audies judge. Presentations :  I have offered various presentations at local, state and national libraries and conferences. Topics have included:  What's New in Children's & Teen Literature Engaging Teens in Reader's Advisory Gee