Hello dear reader and welcome back. So in Belle’s last post, she had mentioned that she was having a hard time picking her top ten favorite books. Due to this, I wanted to hold off on posting about my favorite series until she could write about her favorite books. So today I will be switching gears and talking about my two most recent reads and my thoughts on them. I will be talking about both A Touch of Darkness and A Game of Fate written by Scarlett St. Clair.
So let me start this review by explaining that I read these books out of the order they are technically supposed to be read. I was recommended A Game of Fate by the Likewise app and after reading the description of the book, I thought it would be right up my alley. I happened to go to Barnes and Noble not long after and my mom happened to find this book as well as two of the following books. Since Belle had mentioned to me that she wanted to start doing reviews soon, I decided that I wanted to do one on a book that I would most likely get through quickly. So, a week ago today, I started reading A Game of Fate. It took me three days to read the book (it is not a difficult read). I had mostly enjoyed the book but was confused about some of the events, so I was hoping that maybe going further into the series would provide clarification. So on Tuesday night, after finishing the book, I went to my shelf to grab the next two books in the series that I had purchased. I could not remember the order, so I opened one of the books to look to see what came next. I was shocked to find that there was one book before A Game of Fate on the book chronological order page. After turning to Google, I found out that I had missed the first book (A Touch of Darkness) and started on book 1.5.
At this point, I felt pretty stupid. I was, of course, a bit upset because I didn’t understand why Likewise would not just recommend the first book in a series in the first place, but I decided to get the audio version of A Touch of Darkness from Audible because I wanted to be able to quickly fix my mistake. I started the audiobook on Tuesday night and finished it by Thursday night. I tried to take a few notes so I could properly do this review, but in the end, I ended up not being able to take many of them.
Now seems to be a good time to give you a little bit of a background on what the books are generally about without spoiling them. I will discuss a few light spoilers later but I will warn you when things get into that territory. Essentially, these books are a re-imagining of Greek mythology and especially the relationship between Hades and Persephone. There are some parallels to Lore Olympus that I found interesting (I’ll explain later), but all in all the story is about the growing attraction between the God of the Underworld and the Goddess of Spring.
So let me start by saying that both of the books are very similar. Granted, A Touch of Darkness is told from Persephone’s point of view and A Game of Fate is told by Hades. However, the only major differences in these stories were what the two characters did when they were not together. In this case, I honestly preferred Hades’s POV a bit better because there were more interactions with the other Greek gods and goddesses. It also could be because I read both of these books back to back, but really it felt as though I was reading the same book again. Don’t get me wrong, I did mostly enjoy the series and I do plan to continue it. However, it was a bit disappointing to me that there weren’t a lot of differences between the two books considering it seemed as though telling the stories through different perspectives seemed to be important to the author.
From this point on, I am going to be going more in-depth about the books and there are most likely going to be spoilers. If you do not wish to have the books spoiled for you, I would recommend you to stop reading now and to come back once you have read the book for yourself. If you are still reading, you have been warned.
This may be a bit all over the place because of the similarities between the two books. I’ll do my best to split my thoughts up though. I’m going to start by talking about A Game of Fate since I read it first. There were a lot of parts at the beginning of this book that I found rather amusing based on what original myths I know. It took me a while to realize that this is essentially a story that explores what would happen if the Greek gods were real and if they decided to come down from Olympus. A Touch of Darkness does explain how this all happened but just going in with no explanation did throw me off. I did like how different people of Greek mythology such as Sisyphus, Adonis, Orpheus, Theseus, and eventually Tantalus were brought into the story. I did like how they portrayed Aphrodite as a goddess who takes no prisoners. I also liked that she seems to secretly like Hephaestus; to me, that was a clever twist even though it doesn’t mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of this story. There was one point when I got some Disney’s Hercules vibes because of Sisyphus’s thread that the Fates could not cut.
The book then goes to the meeting between Hades and Persephone and I will say I liked his reaction to her. I also like how he described how he can see the threads of Fate. Hermes is a fun character and I wish we did get to see more interactions with him. I found it interesting that Posideon had actually tried to challenge Zeus for his throne. We all know the brothers don’t really like each other in the myths but it was interesting that it was taken to that point. One thing I did not like was that I was very confused as to how much time had passed in this story. I also don’t like how events such as the breaking of the Fates’ scissors were a big deal to Hades (as it should be) but then the resolution of that problem was brought up as an afterthought. The interactions between Persephone and Hades are really cute especially since from his point of view, he is humoring her because he already loves her.
This leads us to what the last two-thirds of this book is, very spicy scenes. Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate a scene like that every now and then. However, this book pretty much devolved into constant sex scenes with very little world-building in between. A lot of these scenes are also covered in A Touch of Darkness which made me wish that maybe some more world-building was done in either book since the same thing is being described over and over again. Every time I thought that maybe we were going to have a reprieve, another spicy scene started. This honestly led me to feel misled by the book in general because I was not expecting it.
In A Touch of Darkness, we now get to know Persephone’s thoughts and she starts the book by thinking all about Hades. Seeing how she got to the club where she met him did feel a bit to me like Fate intervening especially after reading A Game of Fate. Demeter really truly is the worst kind of overprotective mother in this book. She pretty much hid her daughter’s powers from her and locked her away from the world. She gave me major Mother Gothel from Tangled vibes. Some of the conversations that Persephone has with the beings of the Underworld were fun to see unfold. However, we then get into the same scenes that were already discussed in A Game of Fate and there really is no difference in perspective. I do like how Hades had helped her to find her powers and to embrace them. It will be interesting to see how the story progresses
Some parallels to Lore Olympus that I found interesting were that Minthe is still Hades’s assistant. There was a bit of the past lover angle but instead of dating as they did in Lore Olympus, Hades only slept with Minthe once. Another parallel is that Hecate and Hades are still very close friends in both of these stories. I”m not an expert when it comes to Greek mythos, but I do find it interesting that this parallel seems to always be drawn in these recent re-tellings. Another thing I found interesting is that they make Persephone much younger than Hades in both stories. Both Persephones are still in college. I also like that each Hades seems to have a winter motif that is tied along with their characters.
Despite the fact that I have some issues with the two stories, I am still planning on continuing the series. Now that I have some expectations, I can be a bit more prepared as to what the series will be going forward. If you are interested to know how I feel about the rest of the series, please let me know and I can do a follow-up post. Until next time dear reader.