“Love can find its way to Hell”

Hades, the God of the Underworld, and Persephone, the Goddess of Spring, get a modern retelling of their relationship and it is turned into a sweet love story. This Greek myth is the OG of bad boy/good girl tropes and never gets old. I admit I have looked up fan art of Hades and Persephone together in the past, and different artists’ interpretations of their relationship can be very appealing…and sexy.

In this version, Hades is reluctantly attending his brother Zeus’s party when he spots newcomer Persephone and is quite taken by her. He mentions that she is lovelier than Aphrodite, which offends the Goddess of Love and Beauty so she plots revenge against poor unsuspecting Persephone. Persephone ends up sleeping off the effects of spiked drinks in Hades’ home, so there is an obligatory meet-cute for her and Hades the next morning. Both are smitten with the other, but awkwardness and meddling by other gods and goddesses prevent them from revealing the truth to each other. Persephone’s best friend Artemis’s brother, Apollo, forces her into a sexual encounter, manipulating her into thinking it’s consensual and that he wants a relationship with her. By the end of the volume, Hades and Persephone are nowhere near getting together, so this is obviously going to be a long and drawn-out storyline.

Author and illustrator Rachel Smythe has been sharing this story online through the website WEBTOON, and this is a collection of the first 25 episodes. The artwork is a delight, with swirling watercolors and a soft palette for many of the panels. There is definitely a manga influence in the cutesy art, with some facial expressions and extreme reactions to situations. Gods and goddesses are represented with different colors, with Persephone getting a soft pink to symbolize her connection to spring, and Hades is shaded blue. While you might pair together hell and the underworld with fire, and think Hades might be orange or red, I do think blue was a good color to represent him. Smythe has done her homework, for she cleverly ties in the myths of the past with today’s culture, and also includes some other stories besides the two main characters.

I enjoyed this first volume, and know this new series will be popular, especially with romantics. However, I will pass on reading further volumes for I have never cared for Greek myths, as I have never liked the debauchery and selfishness of many of the Gods, so that, plus the long-simmering storyline will make me a one and done. However, I recognize that many of my library patrons will adore this story, so I will definitely purchase further volumes for my library’s collection!

-Nancy