I finished this book feeling nothing but soul crushing sorrow. Which is a good thing. A brilliant thing, actually, because it means that Molly RingleI finished this book feeling nothing but soul crushing sorrow. Which is a good thing. A brilliant thing, actually, because it means that Molly Ringle accomplished her job in getting me emotionally invested in the story and the characters enough to feel their pain.
But let me not get ahead of myself.
Underworld's Daughter is the sequel to Persephone's Orchard, which if you read my review you know I loved. And I loved this one as well, but in a different way. As the author herself says in the afterword of the novel, while Persephone's Orchard (it will henceforth be referenced as P.O.) can be considered a retelling, Underworld's Daughter veers pretty directly into the Greek mythology fan fiction realm. Which I was totally okay with because I thought Molly Ringle handled it masterfully. Because she so vividly fleshed out the world of the Greek immortals in the first novel, Ringle went into this one with more freedom to expand on her world and characters in a way that allowed her to break free of the myths and instead use them for her own purposes. This may bother some die-hard Greek mythology fans, but I for one welcome ingenuity into the genre. If I wanted to read about completely accurate Greek myths I'd pick up Edith Hamilton's Mythology, not a paranormal romance novel.
The one change that did take some getting used to was the shifted focus of the narrative. Whereas P.O. focused almost solely on Sophie and Adrian and their past-selves Hades and Persephone, in Underworld's Daughter they took a backseat to Dionysus and Hekate, something that I wasn't so happy about when I realized they were going to be the predominant focus. What enchanted me most about P.O. was that I was watching two lives unfold at the same time and was totally invested in both with equal fervor and desire to see them snog each other senseless. Sophie and Adrian's story and relationship was just as capturing as Hades and Persephone's was.
However, this was not the case with Tabitha/Zoe and Dionysus/Hekate. I was thoroughly intrigued with Hekate and Dionysus and I did very much enjoy their story and the bit of debauchery our boy Dio brought to the table. But, Tabitha and Zoe's "sort of but not really romance" wasn't something I was particularly worried over. Mostly because of Tabitha being a bit of a jerk in the situation and I think Zoe deserved better than her. If Tab cleaned up her act and figured out what--and who--she wants instead of straddling the fence, I could totally get behind their relationship.
I did miss the focus on Sophie and Adrian, but I also truly commend the author for her ability to create a story that benefits from several different perspectives and expanding the world through the eyes of more people than just our protagonists. Creating such distinct voices is an amazing feat, especially when the same person is technically speaking from two different lifetimes (for example, I can always tell the difference between Hades and Adrian speaking.) While I do hope that the focus does go back to Sophie and Adrian next book, now that their Hades and Persephone story has fully been revealed, I do enjoy the looks into other character's heads. Actually, I'd love to know what's going on in Niko's mind. (Niko is the modern day incarnation of Hermes and one of my favorite characters, the sly devil.)
This is series is quickly gaining traction as one of my favorites. I'll reserve myself from proclaiming it's definitely my favorite until the series is completed and I can enjoy it as a whole, but if the next book continues to impress me like this I'm sure it will be. I did love Persephone's Orchard just slightly more, so while I gave P.O. 5 stars, I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 stars. I loved Underworld's Daughter and am so excited to continue this amazing series....more
I am a huge Greek Mythology fan. Like, huuuge. And chief among my Greek mythology obsessions is the tale of Hades and Persephone; I snap up every piecI am a huge Greek Mythology fan. Like, huuuge. And chief among my Greek mythology obsessions is the tale of Hades and Persephone; I snap up every piece of written work I can written about this interesting couple. I don't know why it's my favorite myth, but it just is. I'm always looking for new things about them and go into these novels hoping against hope they don't fall back on the same tropes that tend to fill even the worst Hades and Persephone fanfiction that can be found on the internet. (Don't get me wrong, I love angst sexual tension as much as the next gal but there's only so much I can handle of the "he abducted me for perfectly justifiable reasons but I don't trust him even though I definitely want to have sex with him oh no am I falling in love with him look at all this angst" plotlines before I have to say enough is enough.
Persephone's Orchard pleasantly--nay, fantastically--surprised me by bringing the freshest and most innovative take on Hades and Persephone (and all the Greeks gods in general) I've ever read. It does almost completely shake off the original myths, using them as a sort of bare bones structure for each god and their stories, which was a little frustrating for me as someone so well-versed in the myths. But I grew accustomed to it and in the end really quite enjoyed the changes.
On the topic of the gods, or the immortals as they're more appropriately called, I thought Molly Ringle did a brilliant job of creating the premise of them. As I said, Ringle didn't stick to the original myths but made up her own characters based off the myths but she did it in such a way that the reality of her characters became the myths. The one thing that bothered me about the immortals was that there was no explanation as to how the originals came to be. I hold my tongue from saying it was a fault of the book because that could be the grand overarching mystery the series seeks to solve, in which case I will surely be mollified. But I just hope the author doesn't plan to leave that unknown dangling there. It was very interesting to get to meet all the gods though, and not just focus on Hades and Persephone. It certainly gave the narrative, and the world, a more fleshed out feel.
Now, onto the meat and potatoes. I will start with the main characters, Sophie and Adrian. I think it would be appropriate to comment on them first individually, and then as a couple. I loved Sophie, I thought she was intelligent and strong-willed. Although some may not like how easily she went along with the situation she was placed in, I actually understood it and didn't fault her for placing her trust in Adrian so quickly. She was literally whisked into an entirely different world and made to confront things almost impossible to believe, and here's a guy who says he can explain everything. With nowhere else to turn for answers, you sorta have to trust him even if you're scared witless. Speaking of, Adrian. It's no secret I'm easily swayed by attractive boys in books and from the beginning Adrian had me. He's like a cool dork if that makes any sense. And him and Sophie together was steamy to say the least. I very much enjoyed the unfolding of their romance just as I enjoyed the unfolding of their past lives' romance as Hades and Persephone.
Perfect segue, don't you think?
Ah, Hades and Persephone. As always, infuriatingly stupid when it comes to realizing they both felt the same way and more than once I just sat there going "oh for god's sake just freaking kiss already". The way their story was told in parallel to Sophie and Adrian's worked amazingly well, and I'm quite impressed that Ringle was able to make sure the story was totally coherent and nothing got confused or jumbled. Hades isn't your the stereotypical dark, brooding, and stoic man that most retellings of his story cast him as. He's actually quite sweet and, well, quite the opposite of what you'd expect from the king of the Underworld.
I read this book in one day, that's how much I was drawn into it. Although I will warn, this is not a fast moving book in the sense of Sophie and Adrian's story. Much of it is flashbacks to Hades and Persephone, which was honestly fine with me. But if you're someone who likes a fast moving plot, this is perhaps not the book for you. Still, Ringle's skill in reimagining this old tale had me hooked. I give this book 5 stars. Can't wait for the next book!
I have mixed feelings about this book. So much so that I don't believe I can put a star rating on it because my emotions while reading would often comI have mixed feelings about this book. So much so that I don't believe I can put a star rating on it because my emotions while reading would often completely change from one chapter to the next. I will say that upon finishing it I was happy with the book, and I felt compelled to keep reading pretty much the entire time (except for the very beginning.)
I think the biggest issue for me with Flight of the Golden Harpy is the author's writing itself. I've general found that if the reader is aware they're reading words on a page instead of completely transfixed with the story, there's something wrong with the writing that usually manifests itself through overdone syntax and/or jarring word choice (both of which I think this book is guilty of). The writing wasn't horrible, but it came off as stunted and even a little fanfiction-y at times when it came to descriptions of people. (If you've ever read mediocre fanfiction, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.) Especially in the beginning, the dialogue was incredibly dry, and I'll admit I wasn't too interested in the protagonist, Kari and her reclusive nature. However, I think a lot of this might've been the result of the author rushing herself to get to the good part. Things happen quickly, and once I got a few chapters in, I fell into the groove of her writing and didn't notice it as much. It could just be that I got used to it, but I also think the author really started enjoying her own story once Kari landed on Dora and things could really start happening.
Romance is usually one of my favorite aspects of novels (I'm a sucker, I know!) and I think if they're in the story, they have to be good or else why waste my time. I quite liked the chemistry between Kari and Shail, although I'll admit it's mostly because I loved Shail so much. Hands down my favorite character in the entire book because i'm kinda in love with him it's no big deal he was just so electric. Honestly, I feel like it was more his story than Kari's because of the journey he went on and how much he changed. Not gonna lie, I wouldn't mind a harpy boyfriend.
This novel wasn't one I immediately latched onto, but I did get into it as I kept reading. I feel like that will be the case with most people. If you start this book and think you're not going to like it, I urge you to keep going. Finishing the book was gratifying for me, and I'm usually the kind of person who stops reading quite early on if I think it's not my thing. Give it a chance, because Susan Klaus did an amazing job with worldbuilding and creating a vibrant setting in the novel. Honestly, reading a novel about harpies was incredibly refreshing because it's not a creature I've seen done before and it allowed my mind freedom to imagine as I read instead of having a preconceived notion. I loved how the harpies were written, and Klaus's attention to detail in their animal/human hybrid behavior was a nice touch. To digress a bit from world building, I think Susan Klaus also did quite a good job at character building. While not all the characters flourished for me (mostly side characters like Ted), the ones that were important did. Kari's father is a notable one--I thought I would loathe him but I ended up loving him. And of course, Shail. Beautiful Shail. *dreamy sigh*
IMPORTANT NOTES: 1) This book does have several descriptive sex scenes, which I personally had no problem with (honestly I was hoping they'd be more detailed, lol.) But that is something to be aware of. I'm not really one for censorship but I think this book is best left out of the hands of young teens. Maybe 15 and up. I say if you can get behind the wheel of a car, you can read a few naughty words on a page.
2) Major trigger warning: there are two very detailed rape scenes, which I was not okay with because there was no indication anywhere that this book would be as violent as that. Speaking of violence, there's quite a bit of that as well. If you're someone that can be triggered by rape or violence, I think it's best to stay away from this book.
You see how I keep flipping back and forth between what I liked and didn't? It's hard to pin down my overall reactions, because I felt so strongly either good or bad about specific things.
This book isn't specifically sci-fi or fantasy, but more a meshing together of both, so I don't know who to recommend it to. I do think fans of fantasy will enjoy it, as I myself love fantasy and am only partial to sci-fi.