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Publisher's Summary

Persephone is the Goddess of Spring by title only. The truth is, since she was a little girl, flowers have shriveled at her touch. After moving to New Athens, she hopes to lead an unassuming life disguised as a mortal journalist.  

Hades, God of the Dead, has built a gambling empire in the mortal world and his favorite bets are rumored to be impossible.  

After a chance encounter with Hades, Persephone finds herself in a contract with the God of the Dead and the terms are impossible: Persephone must create life in the Underworld or lose her freedom forever.  

The bet does more than expose Persephone's failure as a goddess, however. As she struggles to sow the seeds of her freedom, love for the God of the Dead grows - and it's forbidden.  

Contains mature themes.

©2019 Scarlett St. Clair (P)2020 Tantor

What listeners say about A Touch of Darkness

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Some people really will romanticize anything, huh?

I was excited to read "A Touch of Darkness" based on the synopsis I was given. A modern retelling of the Hades and Persephone myth? Great!

Then I started the audiobook and it all went downhill from there. The only way to properly address my feelings about this book is to organize things in a list, so here we go:

1. Persephone as a heroine.

Persephone barely functions as a protagonist, let alone a heroine. Her motivations are all over the place: does she want adventure, a life outside her mother's grasp? Does she want passion and/or love (two things that are alternately conflated and differentiated, as the situation dictates)? Does she want to trust Hades and challenge her preconceived notions of him? Or does she want those notions confirmed, despite his words and actions?

She seems ready to believe the worst of Hades at all times, no matter what he does. She tells him he should send struggling mortals to rehab? He does so, and she accuses him of doing it to "make fun of" her. If she's so eager to get out from under her mother's thumb, and her mother hates and mistrusts Hades, you'd think Persephone would take any and every opportunity to see the best in him, specifically to spite her mother.

She also just plain doesn't listen when Hades speaks (when he bothers to explain himself at all, see below). He'll tell her, "I don't have full control over my contracts and have to consult with the Fates", and she'll continue to berate him for his "unfair" contracts that "ask the impossible".

Lastly, she spends a lot of time thinking Independent Woman thoughts, but all of those seem to fly out the window the second she gets in the presence of Hades and his magical dick.

2. Persephone as a goddess.

Persephone is, nominally, the goddess of spring. If she was, as the story implies, born 20-some actual years ago, how has spring happened before her birth? Since she can't make her powers manifest, how does spring happen at all? Who gave her the title of "goddess of spring", if a) none of the other gods knew about her (as is implied) and b) she shows no gift for anything springtime-related?

3. Hades as a hero.

So Hades has a reputation as a cold, heartless, ruthless tyrant who challenges mortals to games of cards in order to trick them into "impossible" contracts. (His terms include things like challenging alcoholics to give up drinking. You might recognize that as something that's certainly difficult, but not impossible.)

Anyway, Persephone buys into this reputation and often accuses him of this and worse, and Hades hardly ever stands up for himself. At worst he stays silent, and at best he'll say something along the lines of, "It's not like that," but doesn't follow up with an explanation. He allows Persephone to continue thinking ill of him, then gets irritated when she thinks ill of him. If he truly didn't care about anyone's opinion this would make sense, but he tells Persephone more than once that HER opinion matters. He just doesn't seem willing to do much to change it.

The only time he makes an effort to alter her perception of him is when he starts a rehab charity for mortals, at Persephone's suggestion, but--as mentioned--she only takes that as an offense.

4. Lack of logic.

I don't just mean that characters make illogical choices (although there's plenty of that, too). I mean that conversations/sequences of events don't seem to follow any sort of logical pattern. For instance:

"No, Lady Persephone. Trust me, when we fuck, you'll remember."

WHEN? "Your arrogance is alarming."

His eyes flashed. "Is that a challenge?"

A challenge to what? If Persephone had followed the statement about arrogance with something like, "We will NEVER have sex," his response might make sense. It would be disgusting, but it would make sense. But exchanges like this happen all the time. It's like the author wrote from sentence to sentence, picking what she wanted to say in any given moment, regardless of what had just been said/done or what was about to be said/done.

5. A tired dynamic.

Can we move past the dynamic of "virginal college-aged woman" and "brooding worldly billionaire", please? It was uncomfortable in Fifty Shades of Grey and it was uncomfortable here. Persephone is in her 20s, and we're supposed to believe that not only is she a virgin, she's never even masturbated. Is she okay?

It's also time to retire a dynamic where one party (usually the woman) says something that implies she isn't interested, and the other party (usually the man) "sees past" her protests to what she "really wants" and informs her of her own desires. It's gross and problematic. It gets a SLIGHT pass in this story, since Hades is literally a god and can literally see into people's souls, but it's still pretty skeevy.

Not to mention that if Persephone is college-aged and Hades is millennia old, the age difference is far beyond anything even Twilight could throw at us.

6. Implementation of mythology.

It was really difficult to get a handle on the way in which mythological characters were employed in this story. Which gods had been around since antiquity, like Hades, and which were new, like Persephone? Was the Adonis we meet bound to be the same mortal that Aphrodite falls for in the myth, or was he a modern man with the same name? Was Sibyl the Oracle of Delphi, or was she a modern woman who just happened to also be an oracle? Was Orpheus the guy with the lyre we know, or just a bereft widower denied the opportunity to exchange his soul for his wife’s?

It seemed that the author cherry-picked images/names/themes from mythology without taking the time to construct a cohesive universe with them.

7. Lack of proofreading.

Look, I’m not here to rag on self-publication as an industry. I think it’s a great way for new authors to get their work out to an audience, especially an audience that might be smaller than a publisher wants to bet on. My problem isn’t that St. Clair “independently published” this book.

My issue is that she clearly didn’t employ ANY sort of editor in the process. I can’t speak on the textual version, but even the audiobook was rife with awkward word choice and sentence structure, not to mention moments like this:

"Oh no," Persephone said.
Hades raised a brow. "What?"
"I know that look."
He raised a curious brow. "What look?"

Freelance editors are readily available online. Employ them.

8. The terms of bets and contracts.

Early in the story, Hades offers to teach Persephone to play poker. They wager questions: whoever wins a hand gets to ask the other a question, which must be answered. However, once they’ve finished, Hades is able to mark Persephone, indicating that she is now under contract with him. The terms of that contract are decided after the fact. This makes zero sense. If questions and answers were the wagers, how can she then owe him a contract fulfilled? How can you possibly be beholden to a contract without its terms being defined first?

9. The audiobook narrator.

This is something that Scarlett St. Clair can't be blamed for, but bears mentioning: the narrator of this audiobook has three major flaws, as far as I'm concerned. A) Her male voices all sound the same: gravelly and molasses-slow. Hades sounds like Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith. B) She over-enunciates almost everything. C) She gets into the sex scenes. Like. REALLY gets into the sex scenes.

I’m sure there’s a lot more to talk about but this review is already 1300 words and I’m so tired.

140 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Tiktok told me 5/5 but no, its a 3.25/5

After rading SJM & The Bargainer series this was ok. I liked it but it seemed like something id read before unfortunately. Smutty but I pictured my boyfriend instead of Hades so, ya know. I didn't like Persephone as a journalist and some of the dialog was tough to believe but all in all 3.25/ 5

10 people found this helpful

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Eh.... it may be for some people

I don't want to be mean about this book, but honestly it wasn't for me. The characters seemed underdeveloped and mostly 2 dimensional, while also being inconsistent. If sentences along the line of "wanted him to fill the emptiness inside her" and almost exclusively referring to male genitalia as "his arousal" and female genitalia as "her core" are for you then you would probably like the sex scenes in this book if that type of phrasing makes you cringe, I recommend reading a different book.

7 people found this helpful

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It was ok, to similar to L.O.S for me though .

I don’t like to compare but and I know most of this is base on the mythology of this two gods/goddess but a lot of the story had a lot of similarities to the comic book found in WEBTOON / coming to Nexflix soon (Lore Of Olympus by Rachel smythe ), it just had huge similarities. And I’m aware of the myth and authors will put there spin on the myth of there choosing on gods and goddesses but when both sound so much alike I don’t know if that’s my cup of tea . Don’t get me wrong I like touch of darkness and will continue to read on but I’m stinking with lore of Olympus this one for me . P.s not hatting on this book.

6 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Possibly some spoilers

Technically haven’t finished this yet, but a few thoughts right out the gate. 1) the narrator really can’t do a male voice and it’s really awkward; 2) the whole second half of this story is just a series of sex scenes

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Romantic book.

This is a deliciously romantic book, it’s about Hades and Persephone, theirs a back and forth, funny parts, and beautifully illustrated underworld.

3 people found this helpful

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Enticing and Entertaining

The voice of a great story teller will guide you through a good story with a good build up for a good release. This may not be the novel to end them all but its great within its genre. Which is all you should ask for btw. There is a good story that envelopes a good timeline and a great set of arousing scenes that take your mind where it needs to go sometimes.
The narrator is delightful (a shame that other books in this saga would not hire its talents) and will help you go wherever the story goes without any hindrance. Definitively an audiobook for a joyful and playful day. Thanks for the entertainment.

1 person found this helpful

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great story and great narrator

loved the story and so grateful it was narrated so we'll. very steamy and fun

1 person found this helpful

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Pleasantly Surprised

Steamy romance with a great modern take on Hades and Persephone. I was pleasantly surprised. On to book two!

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So incredible and addictive!

This was such a unique take on the Hades and Persephone story. I love any book that includes the gods, but when you do it in such a different way I’m def hooked.

This story had me from the very beginning. At first you start to wonder if this is just a new adult college romance book. But then you realize this is a totally different modern world with Gods. And all the preternatural beings as well as humans.

There is something so intriguing about the politics and games of the gods/goddesses. It makes the stakes so much higher.

The chemistry between these two characters is felt instantly. The pill they have to each other. When the consummation does happen it is so hard and passionate. It was everything you would want and expect between two powerful beings.

The intrigue of this world is intoxicating. I want to know it all. I want to see Persephone in all her power. She is absolutely breathtaking in her strength. I can’t wait for more of this world.

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  • Franklymydarling
  • 03-09-21

A drinking game in the making!

It’s a good book with interesting characters. Plus you could make a drinking game out of it. Let’s just say, that if you take a shot every time you hear the word ‘obsidian’, you’ll end up on the floor.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-15-20

Interesting story, not like anything i've heard

I was pleasantly surprised with this book. It made my journey to work fly by as I was so wrapped up in it. I won't lie, I didn't realise the sexual content in this book before buying, but I feel it was old well.

The plot itself is an interesting concept, I think I may need to read more about Greek mythology.

Narrator was one of the best I've heard.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Zoe
  • 05-20-21

Excellent book

I’m a huge fan of hades and persephonie as a Greek myth anyway and finding this book was a god send! Really enjoyed the extra Greek gods dropping in to ... just loved it!!!!

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Victoria
  • 08-26-21

adored it, listened to first two books in two days

really enjoy the concept of the Greek gods and living between worlds.
romance was written well, very sexy and still leaves room for a solid story line.
characters are written well, and their development is well thought out.
Narration is pleasing to the ears also, very well done!!
cannot wait for the third book!!

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  • Bean Kirby
  • 08-25-21

Good story

Good story, lots of miscommunication, lots of spice. The narrator got a bit too into the spicey scenes and I could help but laugh a bit at her over excited breathlessness

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Kim Bourke
  • 08-12-21

So-so.

The narration is fantastic. But honestly the story feels a little like a cringey teen romance novel. Hades is Edward Cullen and Persephone is Bella, just with a bit more sex involved. I would've liked to have heard more character development or backstory, but I suppose that's due in Scarlett's following novels. Her world feels like she stole a lot from Lore Olympus, The amazing and successful webcomic series which has been picked up by Netflix, to be produced by Jim Hensen studios.
I honestly feel this book was disappointing and not as I'd hoped. Is it only popular due to the amount of sex and sexual tension?

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  • Rachel
  • 07-28-21

oh my christ

nope, sorry I didnt enjoy that, I spent more time cringing than actually enjoying this book.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-26-21

Performance

The voice was perfect for Persephone but cringed when reading male lines took me right out of the story.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Chiikita
  • 05-18-21

It wasn't good

The story had a good begining but rapidely all was like 50 shades of grey. I like books with spicey relationships, but every characters were flat, the intrigue was flat... It could have been so much better !

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  • Ines
  • 05-03-21

Enjoyable!

It's a nice story and the narrator made it even better! I'm really sad that the Hades POV book is not narrated by her, as I love her Hades voice.

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  • Kristie-Leigh
  • 04-06-21

Perfection!

I absolutely adored this book. It was interesting, easy to understand the world, super spicy & lots of passion. I loved how creative the writer was in the description of the underworld.

Hades was the perfect mix of dangerous & protective. He was so sweet & gentle to Persephone it made me swoon. At the same time he is very much the powerful alpha male. There’s so much more to Hades then what meets the eye and I can’t wait to read the next book to find out more about his past.

Although the story was angsty in the way that Persephone fought against her feelings, the romance & passion kicked off almost immediately in the book.

I really enjoyed the performance by the narrator. She really gave the characters & the story life.

Story ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Spice 🌶🌶🌶🌶🌶
Narrator 🎤🎤🎤🎤🎤

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • lia
  • 01-27-21

Loved it!

Fun, sexy, addictive. Loved this twist on the tale of Hades & Persephone. Definitely recommend for romance lovers.

Only thing I didn’t love was the narrator’s OTT sex voice when she was climaxing haha. Otherwise she was great.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Gemz16
  • 07-19-21

Meh

I really, really wanted to like this book but my god Persephone has got to be one of the most annoying characters there is. All she does is whine, demand and sulk, then demands some more. She's an immature brat, even when she knows she is in the wrong she still carries on sulking. This would be fine if the character was to say........ grow, but she carries this attitude the whole way through. Her "relationship" with Hades is ugh, booooring. No matter what he does, she always finds a way to turn it around so that he's the worst.
"Hey Hades, you should be sending people to rehab instead of giving them contracts."
He does.
"How dare you send them to rehab. You're only doing this to make fun of me"
ugh such a narcissist.

She also constantly blames Hades for everything, even though most times she's just as much at fault and refuses to listen to and understand his explanations on anything. He'll tell her, "I don't have full control over my contracts and have to consult with the Fates, or I can't just bring people back to life, it doesn't work like that" but does she ever listen? She also continues to berate him for his "unfair" contracts that "ask the impossible". The impossible being
H-"Hey you alcoholic person go get sober and I'll give you what you've demanded of me"
P - "That's so unfair, you're a monster for asking the impossible."
ahhhhhhhhh that seems like a pretty fair trade to me. He ain't giving away something for nothing.

Hades is meeeeeh, he just takes her whining and complaining because I don't know he's in love? Hades never corrects her for her wrong assumptions about him. The most he will say is "It's not like that," but won't say why. The only time he makes an effort to alter her perception of him is when he starts a rehab charity for humans, at Persephone's suggestion. (see above for how that turns out.)

Anyway give it a miss, unless you're into annoyingly childish characters.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Alt
  • 07-11-21

I've read better.

Felt like the plot was purely written to support the sex scenes. Kinda lackluster.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-01-21

Provocative with a new twist

The narration was well delivered and the story flowed well. Filled with many new dark ideas and a different twist on the Gods.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-19-21

best romance book ever

Ive never written a review before. what can I say this book was amazing it was well written and narrated. I loved the characters and the relationships development. There is plenty of spice and it isn't cringy.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 08-28-21

not what I was wanting

I wasn't wholly impressed by this book, the characters felt quite drab and all over the place. I was first under the impression that is was going to be an enemies to lovers story since that is what everyone had been saying when recommending this book, but that was not what this was, at best it was disgruntled to lovers.

the smutty scene's were so quick that if you weren't paying too much attention for a moment you would miss it, While not having too much passion in it.

over all I didn't hate it but I found myself thinking "gods, how can persephone be this stupid"

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-15-21

I really enjoyed Meg's narration

I loved Meg Sylvan's narration of the book. You could tell when it was the narrator and then when a character was speaking. you can even tell the characters apart from the voices she used 👌

I also really liked the story too

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  • Isabelle
  • 08-12-21

Exciting!!

I adored this take on the Greek gods! I didn't really know a lot about the lore of Hades and Persephone so was interested to see where this story would go. Oh boy, what a ride!!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Brittany Christy
  • 06-29-21

A rollercoaster of the heart.. brilliant.

Wonderfully written and a perfect casting for narration. The character development for each individual character was perfect. Immediately on to the next in the series, A Touch of Ruin.