If there is one thing in this world that we can all agree on, it's that we love a good Hades and Persephone retelling, amirite? With that in mind, it's easy to understand why I quickly signed up for an ARC of The Maiden & The Unseen by Jeanette Rose and Alexis Rune, a very spicy Hades and Persephone retelling with a twist.
Hades, God of the Underworld, didn't withdraw from the mortal realm when the other Olympians did and has built a successful business for himself over the years. When Zeus decrees that the gods are allowed to leave Olympus and return to the live among the mortals, he appoints Hades as not only the overseer of their comings and goings, but also the financier of all their endeavors (against his will, nonetheless). As long as the gods follow Hades' very strict rules, they will have access to a very generous monthly stipend.
Persephone, Goddess of Spring, was kept hidden away by her mother Demeter. No one knew that she existed, until she convinces her mother to allow her to live among the mortals. Without Persephone's knowledge, Demeter attempts to circumvent Hades' rules in order to keep Persephone hidden, causing the two fated lovers to find their way to each other.
Knowing the mythology behind Hades and Persephone, I spent an ample amount of time waiting for these two to get together. I'm not a slow burn kind of girl, but the payoff was so worth it. Persephone living in the mortal realm and thinking that her lavish lifestyle was paid for by her job as a social media manager gave me the same vibes as really rich people not realizing that money actually means something to people. When the two meet for the first time, the sexual tension abounds...as well as their clear disdain and hatred for one another.
Even though neither knew about the other prior to their meeting in the mortal realm, they find themselves drawn to each other. Hades takes it into his own hands in order to ensure she stays within his orbit and Persephone reluctantly agrees - he is in charge of her money after all. If this weren't a story about literal gods, I would take great issue with the power dynamic between these two, but knowing that they have more power than the majority of the people in the world around them makes it somehow less cringey.
The dual POV gave every interaction between the two more layers than an onion. Each of them has insecurities that they're afraid to voice, which makes these gods feel human in a way that the mythology never allowed for. As they fight against the pull of fate and then give in (with Hades knowing the prophecy and Persephone left in the dark), it kind of demystified for me the feeling of falling in love and finding your people.
The story unfolds kind of predictably (it is based on a well known Greek myth after all), but that didn't detract from enjoyment of the overall story. As this book is the first in a new series, it understandably leaves you with a bit of a cliffhanger. What happens next for our favorite pair of fated lovers? I don't know, but I will definitely be tuning in to the remainder of the series to find out.
The Maiden & The Unseen is available now for preorder and hits shelves September 27, 2022.