If I had to pick a favorite historical subject to study, I think it would be Greek mythology. To tell you how nerdy I am, I once helped to write a MUD (if you don’t know what it means, I’m not telling LOL) based in Greek mythology, and I always enjoy reading fiction combined with Greek mythology. It opens up a whole new world of possibilities and rules, and there’s not really anyone who can say – no that’s not the way it is… which makes it an awesome fiction target, in my opinion. Dead Beautiful by Melanie Dugan combines Greek mythology with fiction to tell the tale of Persephone in a new way that produces a fun and sassy story.
Now since there’s no way to tell for sure what Hades is like or what the Greek gods may or may not have said or done, it’s a fun target for fiction writers. It’s a fun target for imaginations too, which makes it super fun. That’s the kind of math I do… But I digress. Dead Beautiful shines a different light on Greek mythology by assigning levels to the gods and goddesses along with more rules and bureaucracy than most similar works. She even goes so far as to say that Zeus isn’t really the dog the myths lead us to believe he is, that he’s just a misunderstood good guy. It’s not the same old story of Persephone, which makes it fresh and enjoyable.
In Dugan’s work, Persephone is working on experiments with flowers and she exchanging messages with Hades through the language of flowers. This is a topic that I just love, because I love to learn more about the language of flowers. Usually we see Persephone as a flighty young girl without a brain in her head, so it’s nice to see that there’s another view – she’s just your average every day young adult struggling to find her place in the world and in the world of her mother. She may not have the same high school, graduation, college, graduation path that the rest of us today face, but we can definitely relate to the events she’s struggling through and it helps to shine light on the idea that it’s ok not to know what you’re going to do with the rest of your life. She also makes some headway when she’s in Hades and proves that she’s capable of being an intelligent, independent woman, which I love to see.
The story is definitely a love story, but there’s not an overly sexy story, so I’d feel comfortable letting young adults read it. We all know the gods and goddesses were a little more progressive than normal people, but Dugan reigns in their sexuality to make it readable by young adults without ignoring the subject entirely. This sassy story is a great read for young adults because it doesn’t ignore the issues facing them, but it doesn’t overdramatize or underplay the issues. I think Dugan writes on the fine line between TMI and not what the world is currently throwing at young adults.
Dead Beautiful is told from the point of view of different narrators which lets the reader into the behind-the-scenes parts of the story before the characters are there, which is always fun. It’s a light story that is easy to read and entertaining. The new information about how the world of the immortals works makes it fresh and new and keeps it from being the same old story of Persephone and Hades. This sassy story shows a young woman taking control of her life, making intelligent choices, and does it in the fictional world of Greek mythology which makes it even more enjoyable.
Dead Beautiful is on tour with TLC Book Tours, check out the reviews from these other tour hosts:
Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher to facilitate my review. My opinions are honest and my own.