Many of us probably know the tale of Persephone and Hades, and a cursory background knowledge may help, but is not mandatory, for understanding this story.
In Persephone, Locatelli-Kournwsky takes cues from mythology, but crafts a world very different from Greek mythology. Persephone is the adopted daughter of Demeter, a powerful witch who fought in the war against Hades. Now, the way to Hades is sealed, and Persephone lives a normal teenage life in the Studio Ghibli-esque city in the kingdom of Elesius. That is, until she is tricked into passing through the portal to the netherworld, and forced to bite a cursed Fruit of the Damned. One lock of her hair turns blue, instead of her whole head, a sign to others that she has tasted the fruit. She is rescued by some passing merchants and taken to the castle, where Rhadamanthus has been trying to rule the kingdom in his father's absence. Meanwhile, Demeter must convince the Council of Elesius to let her break the seal on the portal so she can rescue her daughter. For good measure, a trip to Tartarus rounds out this adaptation of the classic myth.
This story was absolutely charming and a welcome, fresh look at mythology. There was nothing of Ancient Greece in this tale, and I enjoyed the creation of Elesius and the interpretation of Hades (name of kingdom, not person). I was initially disappointed that this wasn't a love story in any way, but considering the original story is about forcing Persephone to stay against her will, I'm glad the author went a different route and did not include romantic entanglements. The art was beautiful and perfectly fitting of the choice of setting the author made. The only thing I didn't appreciate was the rushed ending. I kept feeling how many pages were left in the book, wondering if this was a first volume and I missed the memo. But, no, the author tied up all the action in a few pages, rather than lingering a little bit in the last few scenes and letting them fully breathe. The font used was also a little hard for me to read because certain letters were a little more script-like.
Archaia, an imprint of BOOM! Studios, did not give an age rating to this title. The only thing keeping it from being appropriate for elementary audiences is the fantasy violence, which is mild, but still present. There is some blood as the war is depicted, and in a few other spots. The trip to Tartarus could also could scare younger audiences.
Sara's Rating: 10/10
Suitability Level: Grades 7-12
Tags: Rating: 10/10, Suitability: Middle School, Suitability: High School, Graphic Literature, Fantasy, Deities
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