The Dark Wife

Author: Sarah Diemer
Publisher: Oceanid
ISBN: 978-1461179931
Rating: 4 Stars
Genre: YA / Myth / Romance

Three thousand years ago, a god told a lie. Now, only a goddess can tell the truth.

Persephone has everything a daughter of Zeus could want–except for freedom. She lives on the green earth with her mother, Demeter, growing up beneath the ever-watchful eyes of the gods and goddesses on Mount Olympus. But when Persephone meets the enigmatic Hades, she experiences something new: choice.

Zeus calls Hades “lord” of the dead as a joke. In truth, Hades is the goddess of the underworld, and no friend of Zeus. She offers Persephone sanctuary in her land of the dead, so the young goddess may escape her Olympian destiny.

But Persephone finds more than freedom in the underworld. She finds love, and herself.

There is almost a lyrical quality to this book, which complements the mythological storyline very nicely. It is like entering a dream world through which gods walk. The language is evocative and draws you into the story in an act of seduction. And although this is a goddess telling her story, we are captivated, and it is a story which tells of love and betrayal, passion and desperation, and the finding of a strength and will to conquer all obstacles. It is a coming of age story wreathed in magic and love.

Sarah Diemer has done an impressive job of characterization in this charming novel. She manages quite deftly to walk the line between ensuring god-like mystique and allowing passions to which we can all relate. Through the story, each character remains constant to their temperament, while revealing their greatest depths through the action of the novel. Persephone grows through the story as a natural consequence of it, which is just the way it should be—all characters need to go through a transformative process.

The actual storyline flows naturally, especially considering that this is a creative retelling of a well-known myth. It had an integral sense and meaning of it’s own, and it seems perfectly natural that the Lord of the Underworld is in fact a goddess, that Zeus has lied about her. One of the most enjoyable aspects of this book is how well it meshes together. There are no parts to it that do not flow, or that do not seem meaningful and likely.

The setting lingers in the mind after reading. It comes to life organically—as part of the storyline—until you are immersed in it, visualizing it perfectly with every sense. There are enough little, telling details to make it seem wholly real.

For such a rich story, my only wish was that it dug a little deeper, lasted a little longer. The storytelling is excellent; the tone just right; I would have been pleased had the story been a little more complex and detailed. I felt in places that it touched only lightly on the action and emotion. But this is no serious lack as The Dark Wife is still, in the end, a lovely piece of storytelling.

Kate Genet

I'm a writer, storyteller and an exerciser of a very stretchy mind. I believe in curiosity, wonder and teaching my mind to do back flips.

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