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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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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fun read, REALLY good narration

It was a fun romance novel, I'd liken it a lot to the 50 Shades series plot-wise. I have to applaud the narrator though, she was out here doing THE MOST. It made it a joy to listen to.

1 person found this helpful

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Fun read

This is a book you can fall asleep to because the dialogue and characters are pretty predictable but the story is still addictive enough that you keep listening until you zzz...
The protagonist is pretty unlikeable however, she second guesses the motivation of her love interest in a way that makes you want to roll your eyes sometimes.
The narrator is amazing when it comes to voicing the female characters. Her voice goes from sweet to preppy to sexy seamlessly. But I can't say the same for her narration of the male characters. It took me some time to get use to it but eventually I did.
Anyways, I don't regret my purchase of the book since I remained interested to the end.

1 person found this helpful

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Left me quite disappointed

I had read so many good things about this book, and yet it has proven to be quite the disappointment. It feels more akin to a fanfic than a well thought out story. It felt like there was so much to be desired, from proper world building to complex character traits, to even just better descriptions of each scene. I loved the narrator at first but found her tone a bit incorrect in some places, but nonetheless she is very talented. Overall I would consider this book severely okay. Will not be reading the second one or anything else in the series.

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Old brought into the new

Adored this look on the relationship of Hades and Persephone. I would definitly read again.

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  • S.J. Gokey-Hartsfield
  • 2020-08-18

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.

37 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lottie
  • 2020-07-02

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.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Michelle Kattarina Huntsman
  • 2020-12-22

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.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Carlee
  • 2021-03-03

Nonsensical

There are a lot of things that don’t make sense in this story. This chemistry between Hades and Persephone is lacking on anytype of romance. It’s only lust and miscommunication. The only romantic scene was probably when they baked cookies toward 3/4s of the book. The narrator was decent, however a lot of her male voices were either 1 of the 2 voices she had for males. Sometimes I wasn’t sure who was speaking. I give it overall 2/5. It kept my attention for the most part, but I had more questions than answers as a listener. I wouldn’t say this is a romance story, definitely lustful. Even in the book Hades says “The only two things we have in common are: that we are divine and the space we share between us.” Ehhh. Disappointing.

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  • Jessie
  • 2021-02-27

Fabulous

I’ve read many Hades and persephone books, simply because I love the gods, and this series is definitely top five on my list!

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  • Jessica R. Laursen
  • 2021-02-26

Worth the read

I enjoyed the story overall but struggled at times with Persephone. One of worst commonalities IMO of romance fiction is this kind of female protagonist. She makes assumptions often, can be very unreasonable, and emotionally immature. Sometimes I’m guessing characters are written like this to add tension, excitement, drama, etc. He’s ancient and she has the maturity of an 18 year old. I still got into the love story, but had to take breaks at times. I want to read the next book but see in the reviews that this only gets worse so we’ll see.
I do like the world, the writing, the other characters, etc.

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  • Guienivere
  • 2021-02-23

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

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  • Erica Paulk
  • 2021-02-23

one dimensional characters and breathy narrator

Ouch dnf about 60% of the way through it. Really hurt to read.

This story was beyond cliche. Honestly I have read to many books like this in the past few months. Words relying on funny banter, smut, or fake independence. Though I will look past the virgin dynamic because it is a retelling but it gets old especially with the rich broody hot guy added to it. Also Persephone and Hades meet cute wasn't monumental in the least and honestly made no sense to me that she owed him a favor. Really the contracts themselves seems flimsy and without order.

The characters were only in one dimension which was made worse by the mostly character driven plot. Persephone would drive any sane person to drinking. She was immature and constantly whinging. I could almost see her stamping her foot like a child when she didn't get her way. And as I understand it Persephone was terrified of her mother. So why would Demeters gaurds be more threatened by Persephone just because she scowled and promised to kill them? But then she turns on Hades and is loathed to find out if anyone gets hurt under his care.

Persephone is annoyingly contradictory. She gets mad at Hades for all the gossip she hears then he tries to explain himself but still she doesn't listen. Persephone comes into Hades land, has no knowledge of his world, but starts bossing him around. Yeah let's just make Hades spare every halfwit that wants their true love back from the dead.... seems fair. This is literally her inner thoughts: Hades is a horrible person, the enemy, but he makes his relm so beautiful and everyone looks so happy, no he only does that for himself. That makes absolutely no sense. (Starting to get a headache for realz)

The dialog was awkward and unnatural. The world building was non-existent. Meg Sylvan narrations made Persephone sound like a breathy whinging brat (which I guess she was) and Hades like a curt prick who always speaks thru his teeth. The God's and Goddesses seemed to be only so in name and a small power only. They had no depth and scant backstories. I also didn't see the wealth of knowledge about mythology or cleaver weavings of the history in the retelling either.

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  • Stephanie
  • 2021-02-20

Love it

If you read any review read this one ... it is amazing and full of laughs and joys and sorrow and love and passion and leaves you wanting more!!! Take a chance and read this just like I did and fall in love with love

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  • Terri&Tracey
  • 2021-02-17

Persephone is a total brat

I have not finished yet but I just want to say so far I cannot stand Persephone she is such a judgmental b**** who thinks she knows what’s best for everything and is a totally brat I have no idea why Hades put up with her temper tantrum for no reason I certainly wouldn’t and her ideas are corny and stupid i hope this gets better Gosh I wish I could just go in the book and slap her silly

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  • Client d'Amazon
  • 2021-01-18

Nice book

The love story is cute but the plot & storyline are a bit childish! Overall a pleasant book to listen to, I would recommand it.