Read the dark wife by Sarah Diemer Online


Three thousand years ago, a god told a lie. Now, only a goddess can tell the truth. Persephone has everything a daughter of Zeus could want--except for freedom. She lives on the green earth with her mother, Demeter, growing up beneath the ever-watchful eyes of the gods and goddesses on Mount Olympus. But when Persephone meets the enigmatic Hades, she experiences somethingThree thousand years ago, a god told a lie. Now, only a goddess can tell the truth. Persephone has everything a daughter of Zeus could want--except for freedom. She lives on the green earth with her mother, Demeter, growing up beneath the ever-watchful eyes of the gods and goddesses on Mount Olympus. But when Persephone meets the enigmatic Hades, she experiences something new: choice. Zeus calls Hades "lord" of the dead as a joke. In truth, Hades is the goddess of the underworld, and no friend of Zeus. She offers Persephone sanctuary in her land of the dead, so the young goddess may escape her Olympian destiny.But Persephone finds more than freedom in the underworld. She finds love, and herself.The Dark Wife is a YA novel, a lesbian revisionist retelling of the Persephone and Hades myth....

Title : the dark wife
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 10796241
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 252 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

the dark wife Reviews

  • Riley
    2019-05-04 16:49

    Lesbian Hades and Persephone retelling. This was pretty much everything I've ever wanted

  • Samantha
    2019-05-23 10:41

    3.5 stars! I enjoyed this one! It's one of the more accurate retellings when it comes to Hades and Persephone's personalities, though I still don't think this Persephone had quite the fire I like to see. I prefer my Persephone a bit more fearsome. This book is also gayer than I thought it would be and it's awesome. Not only are the main characters gay, but most of the side characters as well. It's very female focused and I loved that. The pacing was what dragged this down for me personally. The beginning and the end dragged, but I enjoyed the middle. I also felt the ending wrapped up too quickly and easily, without much explanation or cause. This is a great retelling for those who prefer less angst and more fluff in their romance. It's a slow build to the romance but overall very happy and cute.

  • Miranda
    2019-05-18 10:34

    I’ll just say it right off the bat: I really loved this book. A large part of my love comes from the fact that there are very few YA books that represent me. Most YA books that have gay main characters usually deal with the coming out issue, or having the main characters dealing with their sexuality. It’s always an “issues” book. I’m not saying those books are bad--far from it, I think we need those books if they help gay teens--but we also need books where the sexuality of the main character is nothing to really be commented on, and their life doesn’t completely revolve around it. The fact that a book exists that accomplishes this and is also a retelling of one of my favorite Greek myths? Consider me estatic. I loved how Diemer expanded on the myth of Persephone and Hades, offering a version that could have happened but got misrepresented and misunderstood throughout time. Persephone’s myth is a little tricky to properly retell: Once you get her to the Underworld, what are you supposed to have her do? The original myth pretty much glosses over all that with a simple “she got homesick so she went back home for a bit”. Persephone does get a little homesick in this book, but it doesn’t force her home. It was a realistic reaction to being underground in a relatively dark place but she didn’t let it rule her. Diemer expands on Persephone’s time in the Underworld, having her learn how things work, taking an interest in the kingdom around her. She shows why Persephone will make a wonderful Queen of the Underworld by Hades’ side. Diemer doesn’t just expand on the Persephone myth, but also other various features of Greek mythology, right down to the Elysian Fields. It’s all believable and obviously well thought out. As for characters the one I loved the most was Persephone, which is fitting. She’s a goddess who’s been sheltered her entire life, but she’s also compassionate and loving and, though she doesn’t think so, incredibly brave. Through her courage she changes the world she knows, from the Underworld to Olympus, and it was beautiful to read about. Her journey as a despairing woman who feels she has no control over her own life to a woman who reclaims herself--her agency and power and life--was very wonderfully done, and it was empowering as hell to read. All the main cast are wonderfully written, and Hades is no exception, a kind and compassionate goddess of the Underworld who loves her subjects even though they hate and fear her in return. The chemistry between Persephone and Hades was incredible, and you can see why they’d obviously work well together and be wonderful Queens. Also of note was how Demeter was changed from a controlling, selfish mother to one who couldn’t escape Zeus’ rule, so did her best to protect her daughter from the worst of it. There were quite a few scenes between Demeter and Persephone that made me tear up.The writing was smooth and beautiful, the description vibrant. Though I admit I can see it not working for everyone--sometimes it does swing a little too close to purple prose--I was never particularly bothered by it, and in fact I rather loved it. I could easily envision myself in the Underworld, or the Immortals Forest, thanks to the clear description and atmosphere Diemer creates. The pacing was steady throughout with hardly a slow moment and Diemer packs a lot of stuff into a 250 page book, but none of it hardly ever felt rushed, save for the ending. The ending was a bit rushed and I do rather wish the resolution could have been fleshed out more, but the rest of the book more than makes up for that, by a longshot. The Dark Wife was a beautiful, moving tale of a goddess finding herself in an unfair and cruel world, and reclaiming herself in the face of it. It’s definitely a must read for anyone interested in well done retellings, or a reader who’s looking for representation in a genre that only represents us a certain way. It’s a new favorite book of mine and I will eagerly devour anything else Sarah Diemer writes.

  • branewurms
    2019-05-01 14:34

    I really wanted to like this, but I... didn't. I'm sorry! But I really didn't. For starters, it was so... gooshy. I feel like a twelve year old boy screaming "cooties" here, but jfc, there is a limit to how much of that oozing and gooshing and doe-eyeing at each other I can take. I mean, just to put this in perspective, I love romantic subplots! And I am a die-hard fandom shipper! BUT THIS WAS SO GOOSHY AUGH COOTIES.And Persephone, really, we get that you love Hades; you only tell us this about once every page. I don't want to spout the "show, don't tell," cliche here, but I think conveying emotion really works best and feels most genuine when you don't outright state it very often, and you let the characters' actions speak for themselves. That goes for Persephone's other feelings, too - the despair we're told so often about, the joy, all of it. Hades is just too perfect, too smooth; she doesn't have any flaws. Not much personality, either. Neither does Persephone - I didn't come away knowing much about these women, other than that Hades was gentle and loving and Persephone was, idk, a youthful rebellious spirit or whatever. This robs their relationship of tension and believability. They seemed to be nothing but gooshy feelings for each other.I don't know why but I feel kind of bad for not liking this one! I'm sorry! And the author seems like a really cool person too. I just... don't think this book was for me.

  • Vinaya
    2019-05-05 17:32

    The best word I can think of to describe Sarah Diemer's debut novel The Dark Wife, is sweet. It is a very pretty revisionist retelling of the myth of Hades and Persephone, rich in atmosphere and romance. The premise is promising. Persephone, the daughter of the ambitious Earth goddess Demeter, falls in love with a nymph named Charis. But her beloved is tragically taken away from her when she resists the lecherous advances of Zeus, who Persephone later discovers is her father. Filled with hatred and aware that Zeus has some very unsavoury plans for her future, Persephone is trapped by the king of Olympus' invitation to come and stay at his palace. Encouraged by her half-brother Hermes, she decides to rebel, and escapes into the Underworld to avoid Zeus' dominion. But all is not what she expected with regard to the Lord of the Underworld. First of all, the Lord is a Lady. Yes, it turns out that Hades is a woman, and not just any woman, but one who is kind, just, sensitive and far from the terrible, cruel ruler she is portrayed as being. Trapped under the earth in a dark new world, Persephone must adjust to the rules of this place, and deal with her growing feelings for Hades, as well as the threat to her life and that of her beloved's, from the unquiet unhappy spirits of the underworld.The Dark Wife is the first self-published book I've ever read (apart from my meagre attempt at finishing Tiger's Curse), and I must thank Sarah Diemer for dispelling my fears about the quality of self-published books. Both writing and editing are pretty much top notch - in fact, better than some of the mainstream YA books I've read. Diemer has a very pretty way of writing that exactly suits the story she is telling. Whimsical and sweet, it matches the entire tone of the book. The romance is awesome - I'm not a big fan of issue books, whether they are 'straight' or 'LGBT'. So, much as with Gone, Gone, Gone, I appreciate the fact that the author has told a very romantic lesbian love story without descending into unnecessary angst. The period setting, and the free-and-easy ways of the Greeks help make the sexuality of the main characters as commonplace as the the default heterosexual love stories of our times. I really liked the slow, tentative yet sweet progression of Hades and Persephone's romance, and I love, love, LOVED the marriage scene.There were two things that stopped me from giving this book five stars. The first was the black-and-white nature of the characters in this book. Persephone was sweet and loving and lost. Hades was sweet and generous and loving, practically a saint. Zeus was unmitigated evil, filled to the brim with lust and punch-drunk on power. Even Demeter, who I was hoping would turn out to be some sort of ambitious, over-protective mama, falls flat as a character, just a pawn in Zeus's evil games. There is not much depth to the characters, few shades of grey and fewer excesses of emotion. The prose is very pretty and easy to digest, but it doesn't stir you into any great height of emotion. Which leads me to the second thing that lessened the reading experience a little for me. I've always loved Greek mythology, simply because it is so flawed and vibrant and throbbing with godly excesses. One of the reasons I hated The Goddess Test was because it was so flat and unenthusiastic. I feel like if you're going to retell a mythology that is so colorful, you need to be able to infuse life into it. The Dark Wife works very well as a love story, even as a coming-of-age story, but as a vivid portrayal of ancient Greek mythology, it falls somewhat flat. The book is focused so heavily on Persephone and Hades and their blossoming romance, that it sacrifices the atmosphere of the Age in which it took place. However, unlike with The Goddess Test, for me, the good outweighs the bad in this case. I loved Diemer's style of writing, she has the 'pretty' prose down pat, and tells a sweet (there's that word again!) absorbing story that definitely appealed to the romantic in me. I liked how Persephone grew from a naive, scared girl into a confident, loving woman confident in her own power. I loved the gender-bending too, Hades as a woman totally played for me, as did the idea of patriarchal propaganda that portrays her as a man. My favourite part, of course, was the puppy Cerberus, ugly but cute, licking everyone enthusiastically and struggling to accommodate his three little heads! It made me want a three-headed puppy of my own! All in all, this was a great first attempt by a very promising writer, and I'm looking forward to what Diemer comes up with next. There is a free copy of the book up for grabs on Sarah's website, and I hope more people will go check out this story, and buy it, because this is a pretty awesome book and definitely deserves more attention. I recommend it for anyone looking for an easy, well-written romantic read.

  • Lia Bonnibel
    2019-05-22 14:38

    "You go there every day. You speak with them, but they don't remember your visits. The don't listen. They don't change. So why... Why do you put yourself through this trauma, in vain?" "I must." Hades regarded me evenly. "If I can provide peace for even one moment, one moment in an eternity of moments, my efforts, none of them, were in vain."I don't think I'll ever be able to look at a pomegranate again without crying. What a wonderful, emotional and glorious story. The word beautiful appears 62 times in this book and I think this means something and definitely isn't a coincidence. So so so so beautiful. I guess I owe this gorgeous lady a thousand hugs for the recommendation. ACTUAL RATINGS 4.75/5 (the writing was a bit pompous and messy at the start, but that's this book's only flaw)

  • Rachel
    2019-05-27 12:47

    I expected The Dark Wife to be a romantic lesbian Young Adult retelling of the Persephone and Hades myth, a sort of modernized, supernatural love story underground. That turned out to be only the surface layer of an empowering, emotional, spiritually rich journey of one young woman who, with uncommon courage and compassion, overcame the impossible in charting a destiny of her own making to become one of the most powerful and enduring Goddesses of all time. Persephone reclaims her life from those who sought to control her. She refused to allow men, whether Gods or mortals, to determine her fate or to write her history. She follows her heart to lasting love, yes, but more importantly she found within herself a Goddess to believe in.This book healed my psyche. My tears soothed the bitter, broken places inside me that have felt victimized and powerless. Persephone's triumph reignited my own belief in my inherent goodness and strength. I was reborn, along with Persephone, in the retelling of her myth. Persephone is a role model, not just for lesbian women and girls, but for females everywhere. Reclaim your power and live, fearlessly, with heart.

  • Mia
    2019-04-30 12:45

    I was all over this concept, let me say straight off. Honestly it's the concept that kept this from being a two starred review. This book almost hits a lot of interesting points repeatedly, but it always tends to land shy of where it seems to be going. The notions of Greek Gods being human-like but also not kind of worked, but Zeus and Hades were so polarized in terms of evil and good respectively (and isn't that a twist compared to most modern tellings) that it was hard to really take either of them as realized characters, let alone love interests. I also wasn't sure why exactly Persephone was being preened for Olympus, because the concepts of how this universe was established were added as needed, instead of ingrained from the start.I think the falling out happened the moment Persephone left Demeter's lair for Olympus. Everything became very tilted and hard to connect to in terms of details and rules of the universe. All the characters fluttered around Persephone in a way that was never explained. Sometimes it worked, like the water nymphs playing with her, but most of the time it didn't (such as Hermes' random interest and whispering of prophecies).It's really nice to read queer stories with happy outcomes, so I'm not disparaging that aspect of it, but I blinked and missed the climax and ending. Everything builds so slowly to this romance and then the conflict peters out in an extremely odd way.The concept is still great, I love the Persephone myth, especially when pitched against a consensual situation (as Hades is probably the least jerkish of the Greek Gods, modern portrayals aside) and a lesbian retelling is pretty neat! The execution left a lot to be desired though and I think the abrupt wrap up of the ending was the part that left me cold.

  • Elise (TheBookishActress)
    2019-04-27 16:42

    3.5 stars. So... this is a sapphic retelling of the Hades/Persephone myth. It's not the best thing I've ever read, but it's definitely solid. ♔ Hades and Persephone are each likable, decent characters. Hades is a little flat and far less evil than you'd expect. Persephone isn't full of personality, but her character arc as she goes from a woman without much agency to a woman in full control of her own destiny makes up for her initial character. The ending of her character arc is especially powerful. ♚ The main couple here are built up in genuine, lovely way. There's a torch of insta-attraction, but from there, their love grows slowly enough. They are two women who have both been downcast from the gods, each for different reasons, and want to find their own agency. Their relationship is truly lovely. ♔ The Dark Wife does offer some interesting interpretations of classic Greek myth. The concept of the Elysian Fields felt especially fleshed out and interesting. I also appreciated that Zeus was a villain; it was refreshing. ♚ Writing style. The writing is full of telling, not showing, which unfortunately takes down the quality level quite a bit. However, I do think the prose was fairly pretty in places. VERDICT: I fully admit this wasn't great literature or anything; the writing isn't developed enough, the characters could've gone further, and the story has a touch of instalove. But it's a genuinely sweet book and I enjoyed it a lot.Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Youtube

  • Book Worm
    2019-05-03 13:42

    I just love when old myths are retold and the beliefs we have about the old Gods are questioned. Here we are asked to imagine a thoughtless and selfish Zeus and a kind, loving and gentle Hades, whose actually a Goddess. And I must say it makes much more sense. I'd rather imagine a gentle "Lord" of the Dead - for death is everlasting and unchangeable. Who would want to be ruled by someone cruel and cold forever?What astonished me was the poetry hidden in this story, in the descriptions, in the symbolism, in the dialogues. It was pure pleasure. I partly read this book and partly heard it and though I liked the narrator, I didn't love her. Usually I would much rather listen to a good rendition, but here I tired of the narrator and found myself wanting to read, so I could slow down at will and read again a poetic line or two.So I guess it is more the book that doesn't lend itself to narration.

  • D
    2019-05-01 10:58

    I wanted to like this. I really did. But I couldn't. Not really.It has its moments. I loved that scene in Hades where the dead were finally allowed to enter the Elysian Fields, only to find that it wasn't the paradise they thought it were, but just a different side of the coin of suffering. But at the same time, this pleasure is marred by the fact that well, I was wondering the whole time how much the author really knew about ancient Greek mythology so as to re-tell one of the most controversial ones (ever). Lots of the structuring of the society (not that you really get to see much of that, since Persephone is pretty much sheltered and mostly just moons over her current lover of that time) feels more of a modern Western idea rather than ancient Greek idea. (Yeah yeah, who am I to say that Greek civilisation wasn't like modern times? Well, lots of things that happened in ancient Greeks would shock people in modern times, so...?)It feels weak to me, somehow. The worlding is weak. The character development is weak. The motives for each character are weak. The core idea is interesting, but it doesn't actually deliver. It's on the way to being 'good' but it's not there yet.Charis, Persephone's first lover, vanished so quickly and so cruelly and I had my doubts about her being there as a plot device: she was there to give us a concrete example of just how evil Zeus can be. In demonising Zeus, the author weakened Demeter: the goddess who in her grief and fury froze the earth so she could get her daughter back. In the novel, Demeter is pressured by Zeus to keep the world in winter just so he could get Persephone back from the Underworld. And she, knowing how much her daughter hated Zeus, ALLOWED IT. Because Zeus is the god of all gods. ?????And if we're gonna be talking about strong women in Greek mythology, the lack of Hera in this novel is kinda disturbing? Remember Hera, who in the Iliad got Zeus drunk so she could help the Greeks win when Zeus was clearly favouring the other side? Hera, usually portrayed as a harridan wife, but who certainly gives you the idea that Zeus is certainly not as all powerful as he'd like you to believe? Yeah. That Hera. No Hera. Boo! Actually, of the sons and daughters of Cronus, only Zeus, Hades, and Demeter make their appearance. The thing is, Hades keeps on saying, 'No one is purely evil' blah blah, but at the same time, we are never given an idea why Zeus acts like he does. Capricious. Mad. Perhaps driven mad by power? But if the idea is to humanise the gods, there has to be a motive for this madness. If not motive, then at least something, something that we can understand. His insistence on getting Perspehone back is puzzling and annoying. 'No one knows why Zeus is doing what he does, but he always gets what he wants' is not enough. We need to know what's going on, because at the end of the day, you have made Zeus into a villain and despite what Hades said, that villain is purely evil. (I remember Anne Rice saying in one of her novels that if the story has a villain, then you have failed. I don't need to like ALL the characters in the story, but I do WANT to give them a chance to be understood. Zeus was never given this chance.)As for the romance between Hades and Persephone...I don't know. It's too cheesy. And I'm not saying this because wow, I'm too cool for romances (I read Regency Romances, for pete's sake). But it's cheesy and convenient and apart from, well, external forces, there is no tension between them at all.You see, one of the reasons why I love Persephone's myth is that it IS empowering. Of course, that depends on where you're standing and where you're coming from, since Hades DID abduct and rape her. At the same time, you read the myths and every time anyone ever goes to Hades, they almost never speak to the god of the dead himself: they speak to Persephone. (It was because of Persephone Orpheus got a chance with Eurydice again, right?) She ruled the Underworld with Hades, and he listened to her advice. Persephone was not going to be the victim here: she found her way into being as powerful as her husband. (Also, as far as I know, Hades is probably the only god who took only ONE wife and no recorded lovers. He was faithful to her. Which is surprising given he only sees her half a year.)In the novel, Persephone is told that she is destined to bring about change (DESTINY, which is normal in myths but if there's something I would have preferred to be modernised, it would be the idea of No More Destined Heroes Please). That her meeting and eventual romance with Hades is destined. In the long narrative given by Persephone (using four sentences when one would have served), we are told how she felt for Hades, but at the same time those words buried all the feelings she might have felt. I don't feel love for Hades. In fact, despite Athena's absence and apparent disinterest, what interested me more was Pallas's past love. There is something interesting there. A mortal and a goddess. An impetuous, hot-headed love affair that ended (like so many love affairs with gods) in murder. That's something that I might want to read more than this story. AND Persephone's story is probably one of my favourites.I don't know. I'm not sorry I read this. I just wish that it was more.(ALSO, using the Roman names for some of the gods in a Greek setting is kinda???????????????)

  • Jillian -always aspiring-
    2019-05-17 17:30

    (Actual Rating: 3.5 stars)Imagine that everything you knew about Greek mythology was skewed so that Zeus could better control mortals by spreading lies and untruths.  Imagine if Hades, ruler of the Underworld, was actually a goddess.  Imagine if Persephone, daughter of Demeter, actually chose to escape to the Underworld instead of being kidnapped.  The Dark Wife, debut novel from Sarah Diemer, is a tale that turns Greek myth inside out and makes it something darkly beautiful, a gem among the dull rocks of Greek myth retellings for young adults.The Dark Wife is one of those books that you can't help but like.  The prose itself is noteworthy, giving the story a poetic flair and adding a layer that sadly isn't present often enough in young adult books.  Persephone as the narrator has a strong and sympathetic voice, and her slowly building relationship with Hades is a nice change of pace from the instant love trend.However much I loved the writing and the flow of it, I have to admit that sometimes things seemed a bit too perfect.  The Greek gods and goddesses were capricious beings that were as flawed as mortal beings -- but, oddly, Hades was presented as this perfect yet somber woman.  A part of me kept expecting more from her character.  While Persephone herself had a number of shades (most notably present when she vows that she will get revenge on Zeus for what he did to her lover, Charis), Hades seemed one-dimensional at times.  She is a tragic figure, yes, but never did I see any of the other effects of sadness:  bitterness, resentment, anger, helplessness, etc.  To see any of those emotions in her character would have made her an even more moving figure and not just this perfect lover and goddess.  I realize that she was basically the antithesis to Zeus in this story, but perfect qualities were not traits that any of the Greek gods had.  Why should Hades be any different?Gripe about Hades aside, I did appreciate that Sarah Diemer respected the roots of Greek mythology yet also managed to make them her own.  Not an easy feat.  Everything I read seemed a parallel myth, what really could have been the story if time and embellishments had not warped the original myth.  It was intriguing and fascinating to wonder, just wonder, if the myths really were once different creations entirely.No matter its flaws, The Dark Wife proved to be an enjoyable read that renewed my belief that Greek myth retellings can be done well without adhering strictly to the original myths.  With a start like this, I think we can expect some even more wonderful creations from Sarah Diemer in the future.  In the meantime, give this one a chance.  It's well worth the read -- even if only to be assured that young adult Greek myth retellings are not all lost causes. Some can even be kind of wonderful.

  • T
    2019-04-27 11:53

    Audiobook version: Though i like the narrator from other books I've listened to, this is one book where despite having a good narrator, i enjoyed reading this book more. I'm still giving it 5 stars because i love Sarah Diemer's writing. I love her prose and pacing, not too mention the re-telling of this Greek mythology. It was just weird having someone else put their inflections on it. I recommend this book however you get it.

  • Natasha
    2019-05-18 16:48

    SapphicAThon: RetellingI don't know what it is about the author's writing but I just don't like it. I think I would've liked this more if I knew anything about the Hades and Persephone myth.

  • Emma
    2019-05-12 13:56

    “You are so loved, Persephone. You will endure such sorrow, but you will transform the world.”3.25 stars.Mmmmm. Lots of mixed feelings here. The relationship between Hades and Persephone was sweet, but there wasn't much else to this. The writing was good sometimes, and not good sometimes? I feel like I would have enjoyed this if it was shorter. A lot of the story felt pretty isolated and directionless, because of the handful of subplots that kept fading in and out. Persephone mostly just sat around in the underworld for a long time, and I found myself getting bored around the halfway point. I did like Cerberus, the freaking adorable three-headed puppy, rape

  • Sophia
    2019-05-08 15:31

    Nice premise (lesbian Persephone retelling with a female Hades), rather simplistically/amateurishly executed. I do wonder, as with the lesbian Cinderella novel "Ash", if I would have liked this better as a curious teenager, since it's aimed at the YA set, who is of course pretty lacking in same-sex romances of any sort. However, I am left just wanting to recommend my friend Katherine Beutner's marvellous "Alcestis", a retelling of a Greek myth which involves a girl's descent to the Underworld in place of her father (and where she has an affair with Persephone). It's not YA but hits many of these same themes a little more deftly.

  • Bard Bloom
    2019-05-10 17:43

    The Dark Wife, by Sarah Diemer, is a lesbian separatist reformulation of the Persephone myth.Now, I suppose that someone could do a *good* lesbian separatist reformulation of the Persephone myth, especially if they start out with the first nonstandardness of The Dark Wife, viz. that Hades is a woman. I've certainly read versions of the myth in which Persephone actively chooses Hades for one reason or another.But The Dark Wife has some divergences from Greek mythology which I find blasphemous (as I am an active worshipper of Athena and Hermes in particular). I follow Roman law in this regard, of "let the gods avenge themselves". So I'm not going to complain on *religious* grounds that Diemer's Zeus is an all-powerful self-centered bully and effectively the source of all evil in the cosmos. Or that Diemer's Athene is a lesbian slut.I *am* going to complain about literary flaws.First, it's a rather tedious romance: love at first sight, with Hades being endlessly kind and sweet to the narrating Persephone. There are several ways to make a love story interesting or engaging. Diemer avoids them all.A significant amount of the trouble in the story could have been avoided if the main characters would only talk to each other about the important things. In this case there is no logistical reason for them not to — they have days or months in which they could do so. And they obviously love and care about each other even before they admit it. So why withhold crucial information from each other? Sheesh."Zeus' lies": One of the premises of the book is that standard present-day Greek mythology is actually what has come to us about the doings of the gods. That's kind of interesting. Diemer uses that like a club: Zeus is constantly telling lies about people which are universally believed, and which become Greek mythology. At least he has some reasons to tell the lies: e.g., he attempts to manipulate the dead to rebel against Hades. (It is unclear on why the dead believe these lies, since they are in constant contact with Hades and should know what she is like, but they do.) (It is also unclear why supremely powerful Zeus bothers to sneak-attack Hades this way, rather than taking his usual power-attack approach.)Persephone defeats Zeus in about three sentences. And takes down Olympus on the next page. Seriously. Diemer spends more text talking about the garden of metal flowers that Hades makes for Persephone than she does when Persephone takes down the most powerful god.Pallas is a major character. That's cool — in standard mythology Pallas was Athena's childhood friend/foster-sister/sweetheart/something, but Athena killed her by mistake. Since The Dark Wife is set in the underworld, of course Pallas is *there*, and it's an excellent idea to have her be an important character. And she still is in in love with Athene. And there's a significant plotline about Pallas having Persephone try to deliver a message to Athene. And this plotline is dropped without a trace. Persephone gets a message for Athene, and … never delivers it, never sees Athene, nothing.And half the book is Persephone swooning around in absolute delight or absolute despair for one or another minor reason. But I find lots of romances have that feature.Anyways, one head of Cerberus out of five. Not recommended even if you like both lesbian separatist fiction and Greek mythology.

  • Chichipio
    2019-05-24 15:52

    I decided to try this after reading Vinaya's review. She made some good points about the works of self-published authors that, having been reading some of them myself, I was curious to verify.Quality-wise this is a 4 star book. But it would be unfair of me to rate it like that because I've been giving 4 stars to books I've enjoyed much more. The thing is, romance is not exactly my cup of tea. I mostly just tolerate it in my stories rather than it being my reason for picking them. Anytime that the small part of my brain that believes stupid things like "love conquers all" starts saying "Awww… that is sooo swe—" the much larger cynical part would cut it off scoffing "Yeah, right, I want to see where they'll be ten years from now. Let's see if they can still be just as corny." But personal choice aside, this was very well written.Even if the characters were definitely black and white, they gain major points for honoring the mythology. Yes, things were not exactly as we know them, but even the reason behind the differences are explained. It's rather nice seeing Zeus and Hades not talking about purity or the seven deathly sins.All that said, I'm using this review to let everybody know that, if I ever decide to read romance non-stop, this kind of book is the way to go. It combines two of my favorites things, women getting it on and reading. Pure win!

  • Danika at The Lesbrary
    2019-04-27 09:47

    First of all, I love this cover.Second, I was pleasantly surprised by this book! I was a little worried about the quality of writing I've come to expect from self-published books, but this was good! It's a simple story, and the synopsis pretty much tells you everything that happens in the book. It's a teen romance that unfolds slowly, but with a mythological twist. I really enjoyed it.Full review to be posted soon at The Lesbrary!

  • Victoria
    2019-05-27 09:56

    it was so cute and so gay but it is also a very simple story. I mean everyone is good and gay BUT Zeus who is blamed for everything.I would have love to have a little for more depth for pretty much everyone, the idea of a lesbian retelling of Hades and Persephone is great but not very well executed.

  • Rachel Brown
    2019-05-04 16:28

    A gorgeous re-telling of the myth of Hades and Persephone as a consensual lesbian romance with a gender-switched Hades. And if that doesn’t get your attention, then I don’t know my friends list.Persephone’s idyllic girlhood comes to a sudden, terrible end when her friend Charis, a nymph who had recently become her first lover, is raped by Zeus and transformed into a rose bush. Grieving and furious, Persephone is thinking of running away when she meets Hades, a goddess mockingly called “lord” of the underworld. The gentle, sad Hades takes Persephone in to protect her from Zeus, and gives her the run of the underworld. The underworld is bleak and depressing, full of bitter ghosts and ruined heroes, with Hades the one bright light in the darkness. But as Persephone and Hades begin to fall in love, and Persephone starts talking to the angry ghosts, the spring and hope that Persephone carries with her transforms even the eternal barrenness of the underworld. But while the underworld blossoms, the world above falls into winter, and Demeter – and Zeus – demand that Persephone return…I don’t usually review self-published books, because I don’t usually read them unless they were put out by authors I’m already familiar with. Shveta Thakrar alerted me to this one, and I’m very glad she did. It’s one of the most enjoyable fantasies I’ve read this year.The Dark Wife was self-published because of its heroine’s sexual orientation, not because it wasn't good enough for mainstream publication. It's well-characterized, well-structured, and cleverly riffs on mythology. Though there are a handful of awkward sentences, in general the prose is simple, clear, and sometimes quite beautiful. A few scenes, such as the epilogue and the last scene in the Elysian Fields, are absolutely transcendent. In a less homophobic and sex-negative world, it could have come out from a fantasy or YA publisher, sold well, and maybe picked up a few awards.Diemer cleverly re-imagines the myth, bringing her own touches to every detail, from the horrific, tragic Charon, made up of mismatched body parts he demanded in payment from souls who came without coins to pay, to an adorable puppy Cerberus. The pace is fast, the vision is clear and compelling, and the conclusion is quite moving. My main quibble is that while it’s made clear at the outset that Persephone is telling this story many years after it happened, the points where modern attitudes and language appear aren’t marked enough to be clearly deliberate, and sometimes seem more like the author was dropping out of period by accident. I would have liked to either have those moments be more clearly anachronistic, or not had them appear at all. Also, Hades would have been more compelling if she’d had more of a dark side. Overall, however, I thought this was great. And for those of you for whom “lesbian Persephone and Hades” isn’t a selling point, there’s a lot going on in the book other than romance. (If anything, I thought Hades and Persephone needed a couple more scenes together, even though I liked that much of Persephone’s journey involves people other than Hades and deeds other than romance.) I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys retold myths, and to fantasy fans in general. It was written as a YA, and would be appropriate for, and very likely enjoyed by, teenagers who can deal with a brief, non-gratuitous, non-explicit, but disturbing rape scene. (It also has a medium-explicit, consensual sex scene later on. A hot one!)

  • Oreotalpa
    2019-05-09 14:53

    This book should have been up my alley, but it ended up not being quite to my taste. It's beautifully written and lush, and delivers what's promised--a consensual lesbian version of the story of Persephone and Hades. But Hades was so perfect she sort of bored me, and it never quite felt Greek in any meaningful way; it felt like the framework of the story was borrowed, but it never engaged with the assumptions of Greek myth and critiqued them, it just ignored them. The characters felt more like modern people in fancy dress than anything else. So not quite what I, personally, look for in a subverted myth retelling.But it's a good, solid book if you don't have the same expectations I do for the genre, and I hope it will help the people it's meant to help. I probably would have liked it more as a teenager.(Incidentally, the casual attitude towards homosexuality of many of the characters, and especially towards it as an identity, is modern fantasy, not ancient Greek. Which is fine--Diemer was writing fantasy, not a historical novel, and I fully support the choice to make queerness Not A Big Deal--but let's not paint the ancient Greeks as being tolerant and accepting of queer people, especially queer women. They had a lot of attitudes that are pretty appalling from a modern standpoint.)

  • Efka
    2019-04-27 17:41

    It was all right. That's all I can say, because I've already forgotten what this book was about. Just a quick, decent, but unimpressive read.

  • Katya
    2019-05-14 15:56

    Cross-posted with my tumblrYou know, even with my exam lurking around the corner, there's no heartache a good novel can't fix.Why yes, I do believe that. Why else would I always keep a copy of Lips Touch: Three Times nearby? The library is my Tiffany's, and books are the chicken soup for my dark, twisted soul and right now, Sarah Diemer's The Dark Wife grounds me when I ought to be nervously leafing through my textbook in the hopes of some knowledge seeping through into my head. In case you haven't cottoned on, I loved this book. I loved the characters, I loved the prose, and I loved the three-headed puppy. And I'm supposed to be a cat person!That's not to say that the book is flawless. Like a lot of my friends here on LJ, I was slightly annoyed at how black and white the characterization was. Although I loved Hades and Persephone and everyone, I felt like maybe a little more moral ambiguity would have made the story even better. After all, the Greek Gods are not quite known to hold a grudge - take Hera, for example. Spends all those years trying to wipe out Hercules, but in the end lets him have her daughter Hebe for wife when he is accepted amongst the gods of Olympus. Nevertheless, those flaws can be overlooked, and I do think that the novel more than makes up for them when it comes to the world-building and mythology. First of all, this is a retelling of the Hades and Persephone story which stays true to the original, but adds up to it, which as I understand is quite a rarity nowadays. The elements of the story are there: the descent into the Underworld, the pomgranade, we even have a meeting in a field of flowers and scattered petals. However, those elements are changed in a way which fits the story, and I have to say, the symbolism here is superb. But wait, you say, don't you love character-driven novels? Yes, yes I do. And I like the characters here, even if they're "either, or". But when it comes to folk tales and myths being retold, I like to give priority to how much the retelling stays true to the original, and not just because I'm a bit of a fairy tale geek. Storytelling is, in my opinion, the world's oldest religion. Long ago, our forefathers used made up stories to explain what was inexplicable to themselves. It made perfect sense to accredit fire and thunder to a diety, even if nowadays we know how both of these occur. Later on, folk tales were used to explain things and give advise on things which were otherwise difficult to talk about: Red Riding Hood, for example, is a cautionary tale for girls to guard one's virginity and stay on the path (seriously, you know that a fairy tale is not meant for children when Disney doesn't make an animated movie about it). Hell, even Shakespere didn't go easy on the symbolism and morals: "Romeo and Juliet" is not so much a love story than a tale of teenage stupidity and lust.What I meant by all this is that myths are important, and that they convey important ideas. The way the Underworld is described makes perfect sense to me, because in Greek mythology, while the Gods are fickle, sins do get punished: Sisyphus, for example, or the Danaides are sentensed to eternal fruitless labors. Hell, Hercules' labors were meant to atone for his sins, not to win him immortality. It's that evening of the score which reminds us that while the Greek gods were fickle, they were not unjust, and I'm really glad that this was the way Diemer described the Underworld - not as a Heaven or Hell, but an equalizer. So, in a nutshell: This is a great book with some amazing writing, world-building, mythology and characters. Highly recommended to anyone.

  • Nikki
    2019-05-14 15:39

    I don't exactly remember how I came upon The Dark Wife the first time. I don't think it was in the usual way -- I seem to remember that someone posted a to do list, and they were going to buy this book if they completed it. Something like that. Anyway, I was enchanted by the whole idea: a lesbian retelling of the Rape of Persephone, consensual and with a genderflipped Hades. A reclamation of a horrible story, in both a feminist sense and an LGBT sense. Apparently, it's based on older versions of the myth, where Persephone chooses to go down into the Underworld.Sarah Diemer's blog has several interesting links about it: These Are Not Your Stories impressed me when I found it, in particular. It reminded me of a conversation in reviews here on GR, about how horrible it was for Malinda Lo to 'steal' Cinderella and write an LGBT version. I argued then as now: that it's a powerful thing for LGBT people to take these stories and write ourselves into them, make a place for ourselves. Straight people can look to these stories as a dream of theirs: while fairytales remain exclusively heterosexual, gay people are shut out of 'happily ever after' dreams. It's no use to tell us to go and make up our own, because going to make up our own shuts us out of the tradition that we may well have adored and loved as children, the old familiar stories that we never get tired of.Sarah Diemer recognises the power of the old familiar stories. She even offers The Dark Wife free, as a PDF, here, for anyone who needs it -- which is exactly why I bought her book, personally, because I can afford to and I want her to write more. At fourteen, fifteen, I needed it, and it wasn't there yet.I enjoyed the story itself a lot. I read it in about an hour, just a bit more than that, and in one go (aside from when I had to stop a moment to look up concert times -- ugh, how dare people interrupt my reading?). I'm a little unsure whether I think it deserves three or four stars: I love the idea, and it was a good read, but I didn't sink as deeply into it as I'd have liked to. It was, well, fairytale like, which meant I already believed it would turn out okay in the end, and which kept me from really feeling the tension. I thought it was clever, though, the use of the pomegranate, the parts about the Elysian Fields... And I thought Cerberus was cute.I was a less wowed by the 'After' section, which didn't quite seem to fit.Definitely not worth a five star "it was amazing", but it's enjoyable, fun to read, and necessary.

  • Mel González
    2019-05-14 14:33

    “You see, I have been content with the darkness. But then you came, with your fire. And you reminded me about the stars, shining in the dark, never wavering.” This book, apart from being a Hades and Persephone retelling, is the classic tale of the story being written by the ones in power. Hades is perceived by the entire world as the dark and awful "lord" of the Underworld but in reality, she's such a sweetheart. I would have fallen in love with her as well because she's such a kind and lovely character and I feel like it was one of the strongest points of the novel. Persephone was a good soul and reading from her perspective was wonderful. One of my favourite things of this book is the writing. It really takes you to another place with its whimsical, eerie and atmospheric style. It makes you ship these characters so much and care for them. I absolutely adore the H/P myth. It's one of my favourites to read things from because it's always told in different ways with different villains. But I think this is one of my favourite ways to think about it. Two ladies loving and caring for each other even if the entire world believes Persephone is being held captive. I adored that they didn't focus on coming out or on accepting their sexuality. They were in love and pretty much everyone that mattered accepted them. That takes me to other aspects of the novel that I loved, like the relationship that they had with Pallas. I'm so glad they showed healthy friendships with another girl and that they talked about different things but at the same time they weren't afraid of calling each other out. But most of all, I loved that they included Cerberus. He was so cute and fun and you know a book is ten times better when they add a puppy. My problem with it and this is why I put it 4 stars, it's that I wanted more from Persephone. I mean, yeah she's super good and lovely but I needed more fire from her and more agency. I felt like most of the things that she did were fired up by someone else and she did almost nothing just because she wanted to do it and she thought it was right. She always needed that bit of a push to do things. But mostly, this was gorgeous, gay, happy and everything I needed.

  • Rhea
    2019-05-05 17:47

    I picked this book up because the myth of Hades and Persephone is my favorite and any retelling is typically going to be interesting. The concept of this book, a female!Hades is wonderful and original but it goes downhill from there.The book itself feels strangely paced with some parts too rushed and other details just repeating themselves. One way to make your reader feel like they're trapped in the underworld too is just reiterating the same lines and concepts over and over. Yup, there's dead people. Yup, it's dark and gloomy. Yup, Zeus is a pain in the butt and terrible and Persephone hates him. We get it, let's move on with the plot.Speaking of the plot, it's easy to tell where the author had to change a lot of details to suit their retelling. That's fine, but some of those details made no sense or it was such a bizarre and predictable plot line that the book didn't feel fresh and original. Just a sappy romance that happened to be myth based. (view spoiler)[The original myth is based in a lot of symbolism which makes it prime material for a retelling. However, a lot of the original myth seemed to be pushed to the side. The pomegranate is there, but it serves no actual purpose besides taking part in a wedding. By the epilogue it's explained that Persephone spends half the year above ground, and half below but we never learn why. According to this version, Persephone only returned to the living because Zeus was threatening Demeter. Yet Demeter was happy that her daughter found happiness in the underworld. So why the split year? Why is Demeter such a pushover when she's one of the Big Six? And honestly? What was Pallas doing there? Her character made no sense and didn't seem to serve a real purpose. The underworld is full of different gods, nymphs, immortal beings in general that could have replaced Pallas and would have added more depth to the story.(hide spoiler)]Honestly I only read this book because of the wlw aspect. Which is great and its refreshing to see a happy ending but, the quality doesn't come through and it becomes more disappointing the further in one gets. Wouldn't recommend it to others.

  • casey
    2019-05-05 16:52

    tw: rapeI have no idea how to rate this. I loved the writing, and the beginning was strong, but Persephone felt too young and innocent for me to really get behind her relationship with Hades. I might lower the rating of this after thinking about it some more

  • Vanessa Raposo
    2019-05-09 14:28

    I've always thought that Greek Mythology lacked of lesbians.Well...Problem. Solved.(Also, Zeus is treated as the jerk he actually is in this book. Loved it.)

  • Kogiopsis
    2019-05-06 09:55

    I'm gonna be frank here: I went into this book with high expectations, and I think that was my problem. On the one hand - it's a very solid work, a clever and sweet queer retelling of an old myth. I like it on principle as well as in fact, and it was an enjoyable read.On the other hand, I was expecting it to have more bulk to it, more breadth, and it didn't. It's a romance first and foremost, and there's nothing inherently wrong about that, except when (like me) you get it into your head that the plot will at some point segue into Hades and Perseophone staging a political coup and reorganizing Olympus entirely, and get frustrated when this fails to happen as you expected.Like I said: my fault, not the book's.If you go into this looking for a sweet romance, you'll definitely get it - though be warned that there's some less-than-sweet content on the way. (Warnings in particular for rape and sexual assault; this is Greek mythology we're dealing with, after all.) The relationship between Persephone and Hades is slow and tender and positive. I particularly appreciated that the fact that it was between two women was never a source of conflict; the way Diemer establishes the society of the gods gender is irrelevant to relationships, and that was pleasant.The thing is that... well, I found it all kinds of shallow. A lot of that has to do with the fact that Hades herself has very little complexity: when she first appears on the scene Demeter states that "Hades is good" and this is by and large the extent of her characterization. Hades isn't like her other siblings; Hades is good. (Zeus is similarly shallowly written as unredeemably malevolent; Poseidon is next to nonexistent, as is Hera, and Demeter is weak and without conviction. Of Cronos's six children, only Hades is both active and a protagonist.) All other gods are fickle and cruel - but not Hades. Mortals fear and hate her for unfounded reasons. Even when a situation arises in which she might have made a mistake it's revealed that she didn't, and she resolves it without problem or any real tension. Hades is perfect - and honestly, perfectly boring.The realm of the dead, too, left me with a feeling like something was missing. It's blandly described, supposedly full of threats (monsters, oblivion in the Styx, random periods of complete blackness) that never really manifest. I was particularly annoyed that the monsters never really appeared, because they come up several times; the fact that they were repeatedly mentioned but then never became relevant made it difficult to take the characters' descriptions of the Underworld as an ancient, dangerous place seriously. Everything felt vague and sketchy at best, not at all vivid.There's also a lot about the plot that felt loose - as if I were reading an early draft rather than a finished product. Hades and Hermes both mention a prophecy regarding Persephone several times, but we never learn where it came from or why it's significant, or if it stretches beyond her bond with Hades to broader implications. The resolution of the primary conflict comes from, appropriately enough, a deus ex machina (view spoiler)[in the form of Persephone manifesting powers that haven't even been foreshadowed before, let alone developed thoroughly enough to convince me she could take down Zeus (hide spoiler)]. Then there's the inherent contradiction in the ending, in that (view spoiler)[Persephone claims in the prologue that she must set the record straight, but by the end of the book Zeus has been defeated and cast down - why couldn't she and Hades simply have disseminated the truth from the beginning? (hide spoiler)]Perhaps it's just because my tastes run a bit darker than this book does, but I found myself itching to re-read Alcestis when I finished this book; this felt like its less atmospheric, less serious cousin. (In particular - I deeply wish Diemer had considered gods-as-metaphors in the way that Beutner clearly did, because the way she writes about Hades has some unsettling implications if you replace 'Hades' with 'death'.)((also - is it just me or were a lot of these Greek gods... more Northern European than Greek in appearance?))