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  • Writer's pictureAshley Mongrain

Persephone


Rating - ⭐⭐⭐


"Persephone is an ordinary girl, which is exactly what is bothering her. She may be the adopted daughter of the famous magician Demeter, but Persephone struggles to find her place alongside such a force of nature. Driven by recurring nightmares as well as a budding curiosity, Persephone decides to explore the secrets of her birth, which everyone seems rather intent on keeping from her. With or without help, Persephone will embark on an epic adventure deep into the Underworld where she’ll discover far more than she bargained for."


 

Persephone is a French graphic novel by Loïc Locatelli-Kournwsky, and was translated into English by Edward Gauvin, which retells the tale of Persephone and Demeter.


I have a degree in Classical Studies, so this subject hits a soft spot especially because I love mythology. As per any retelling, I always ask myself, what does this do differently, and does it do it well? While it checks off the box for being different, I would consider this one of those books you read that isn't bad per se, but will probably forget pretty quickly because it didn't leave the strongest impression.



Writing/Art


Starting with the writing, I found that the translator did a good job at making the text easily readable. As for the art style, it is definitely a rougher kind of style with harsh lines and simple designs. I personally like my art to be digital and hyper-realistic, but I found that despite the rough style, it didn't detract from the story.



Plot


I am not the biggest fan of retellings, but here I am. While I did say that I am probably going to forget the story, I did think that the author chose to go in an interesting direction. That being said, the story was simple and a bit boring. The pacing was a bit off and was very structured. Girl gets kidnaps, has to find herself in a new world, girl saves everybody. Nothing new and surprising. Everything also wrapped up too nicely and conveniently, and the villain reveal and resolution happened within a couple of pages only.



World-Building


One thing I will praise this novel for is its map and introduction. Most fantasy maps are just, well, maps. That's great and all but what this did differently was add small blurbs about each place. That is something I greatly appreciated. When I look at a fantasy map, I need those little blurbs in order to learn more about the places as it helps along the way. This was followed up with an introduction that tells you the entire backstory of the world which I also appreciated. I like it when a lot of background information is dropped on you in the beginning in order to establish the world and the story.


Now, compared to the original myth, what this novel did differently was bringing it to a modern-ish fantasy world. Dually set in the above real called Eleusis, and the world below called Hades, I think the modern take worked well for the story.



Characters


Persephone, as the main character, didn't really do much. She spent most of her time wallowing that she wasn't like her mother and couldn't do anything useful. She did try and help out the people of Hades exactly in the way I expected her to, but that didn't turn out too well. I wish there was more to her character other rather than her luckily being the solution to make things right. I also couldn't really care for Demeter either. The best character though was definitely Rhadamanthus, who was Hades' son.



Conclusion


Is this a go-to to learn about the myth of Persephone and Demeter, probably not? It diverges from the source material enough for me to say that it isn't a clear reflection, but that is the nature of a retelling. Would I still suggest that you try it out, sure, why not? If you are looking for something a bit different though, you can try out the webcomic Lore Olympus which is also a retelling of the Persephone myth, and a pretty popular one too. There is also the Persephone graphic novel by Allison Shaw.



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