— BLURB —
Since I was old enough to understand I knew I was worthless. A girl child when my powerful politician of a mother prayed for a boy. Someone to mold in her image. I stayed out of her way, until I couldn’t, and she made me regret every stumble, every misstep, every breath.
Like clockwork, she paid off doctors to drag me into a mental hospital at her most crucial career moments. I rotted behind cinderblock walls for six months at a time. It became my life…until I met him.
Ash. A one night stand in the back seat of his car turns into my only solace while locked away. He pretends I’m just another patient, until I force him to see me…the woman…Kory…someone who needs him more than anyone else.
My mother is a monster. I’m nothing more than a pawn. But Ash…he’s my salvation.
Hades and Persephone like you’ve never seen them. This is magic, this is menace, this is myth…with a dark twist.
— MY REVIEW —
I’m always up for reading a retelling or stories inspired by classic tales. This one is based off Hades and Persephone. A Greek mythology. Whilst I’ve always been fascinated by mythologies (mostly Greek and Roman), this particular tale was one I wasn’t familiar with but was excited to dive into after having read the blurb! 😄
Set in a modern day backdrop. Kory (Persephone) and Ash (Hades) randomly meet at a bar, flirt and end up hooking up at the back seat of Hades’ car. Despite Hades’ desire to meet with Kory again, Kory knows it’s impossible with the life she’s forced to live and leaves it as a one-night stand.
Kory is placed into mental hospitals months at a time by her controlling and powerful mother. She’s practically been in and out of a mental hospitals all her life. But the difference this time around going in? Ash, the random hookup who she didn’t think she would ever see again, ends up being the new doctor assigned to care for her.
Once the surprise of seeing each other again settles down and realization sets in that they must now try to keep a strict professional relationship from here on out, Ash can’t seem to ignore (just like his ever growing feelings for Kory) his curiosity. Questions start popping up. For one thing: Why is she constantly being admitted? Especially when she’s never been diagnosed with anything that requires her to be kept within a hospital for long periods of time. The more time he spends with Kory during their therapy sessions, the more he needs to seek the truth about her.
“Seeing you here, in this place, in charge of this place, taints the memory of my freedom. The memory I needed to keep me sane through the next six months.”
The concept of this story initially had me hooked but after having read the entire book, I did however think it fell a little flat and could use some tweaking. The chemistry between Kory and Hades was a definite upside, and their scenes were probably the only highlight for me, but I would’ve loved to have seen some character growth. Their relationship lacked development since their first encounter (considering the lengths they both go to, to keep the other out of trouble). There’s no doubt that they care for each other, but I wasn’t completely convinced that their love was any deeper by the end of it.
Another concern I had was the lack of world-building. This was based on Greek mythology between Hades and Persephone. If you’re not familiar with their backstory or with other characters from Greek mythology, then you might have difficulty following this retelling. Although I’m familiar with the characters and know some Greek myths, as I mentioned earlier, I wasn’t familiar with Hades and Persephone’s story at all. The author mostly stuck with the original Greek names for the secondary characters, but I still felt a little lost whenever they conversed. It’s obvious they have some type of relationship, but to what extent? 🤷♀️ I couldn’t tell you.
The secondary characters were intriguing with a lot of potential but they were introduced into the story like I, as the reader already knew who they were and what their connection was to the protagonists. You get tidbits here and there but not nearly enough to see of their importance. For example, Ash has a couple of Fraternity brothers he gets in contact with for help but the way they talk to each other shows there’s deep history and some animosity there, but it doesn’t get divulged so you’re left with unanswered questions about their past.
However, discovering a protagonist who’s a bit of bookworm is always a plus in my opinion! I liked the idea of Kory being such a lover of books. It certainly gave her character some personality in a world where everything seemed so bleak. The way she describes how her books make her feel is so relatable and how they’ve become a sort of solace for her whilst being locked away and alone is one of the things I could identify with.
The story is fairly fast-paced with short chapters. However there was no build-up and no real details, leaving the story feeling rushed. It read more like a short story than a full-length one (I was able to finish it in one sitting). I’m not sure if the author had planned to write a series with a continuous plot (for some reason I thought this would be a series of standalones), but the way this book concluded it seems like it might be the former. Which I’m now hoping because there’s so much more things I’d like to see from these characters.
I would’ve loved to have seen some more oomph and suspense. Kory’s mother had the right elements to be such a villainous character but it seemed like she held her full power back. Ash also discovers the truth relatively quickly without too much work, which left it a little underwhelming. Although the second he finds out the truth, all medical/ professional rules get thrown out the window between Ash and Kory (I’m not complaining about that.. because the parts where they were together were the best bits!) 😅
I don’t usually mention any spelling or grammatical errors in my reviews especially when ARCs are concerned because they’re still technically in the editing phase — and these errors don’t usually affect my rating, I unfortunately couldn’t ignore the amount of editing this book requires. I found issues every second line and it reached a point where I was either rereading it over again, or I was questioning what the author was trying to say. In this case it affected my ability to really soak up and connect with the story, which was an unfortunate downer. I only hope it’ll all be revised by the time it’s released.
But overall, a nice enough romance story inspired by one of the Greek myths. The chemistry between Kory and Ash will certainly keep you intrigued to see how everything will turn out for them in the end. I think with a little more character growth, world-building and some backstory between the characters, this story could be the start of a potentially amazing series. Although I didn’t love Deranged, I don’t regret reading it either. There were parts that had my full attention, and I’m not gonna lie — all the sneaking around and secret rendezvous scenes were… 😍
“Everything about her screamed chaos. Sexy, smart, beautiful fucking chaos. I wouldn’t know peace, but I’d know her. Was the risk worth it?”
Not bad. If you’re big on Greek mythology and enjoy a retelling, then I think this book would be right up your alley. If you’re a fan of the story of Hades and Persephone, then again I think this book is for you. Give it a go. Who knows, maybe you’ll love it more! 😉
Thank you to Monica Corwin and to Candi Kane PR for the opportunity to read and review an advanced copy! 🤍
— ABOUT THE AUTHOR —
— Monica Corwin —
Monica Corwin is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author. She is an outspoken writer attempting to make romance accessible to everyone, no matter their preferences. As a Northern Ohioian, Monica enjoys snow drifts, three seasons of weather, and a dislike of Michigan football. Monica owns more books about King Arthur than should be strictly necessary. Also typewriters…lots and lots of typewriters.
You can reach Monica by emailing her at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Thank you for reading! As always, catch you in my next one! Xo