In this ancient myth refreshed romance blooms from the darkest of bargains.
Author: Evie Kent
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Dark Romance, Mythology
Date published: 01 October 2019
Publisher: Evie Kent
Review Rating: 5/5
Author/Publishers Recommended Reading Age: 18 + (dark sexual content)
Synopsis: In the twilight hours of summer, he claims me.
So when I asked for a copy of this novella I knew it was a re-telling of the Hades/Persephone myth. I knew it would be dark, you’d be a fool to expect sweetness and light from any version of this ancient greek tale. Yet, with all that in mind, I still wasn’t prepared for just how well this dark retelling would be written.
In Kent’s version of this classic, Persephone is a fairy of the Seelie court named Riona, while Hades is recast as Silas, a dark wizard. Harpers Grove is the woodland Riona is tasked with caring for as the Mistress of Spring and Queen of Summer, a role she adores. It would appear that in this role though, she has forgotten the time of year and here-in enters Silas, come to replace summer warmth with autumn cool.
In the myth of Persephone, Hades works with Zeus to trap Persephone and steal her away to the Underworld. Some versions have her falling through a crack in the earth caused by the god of the Underworld, while others have her being kidnapped by Hades in his four-horse chariot. In Surrender, no such disappearance occurs. Instead, the most delicious of chases takes place and our queen of light is forced to flee amongst her beloved trees in hopes of escape. Obviously she is caught, although she’s a plucky little thing and certainly doesn’t go without a fight. From here the writing becomes darker and while it’s evident our fae has been through this in the past and is aware of what is about to befall her, I did still find it a tad uncomfortable to read and I’ll explain why this is a good thing soon.
Silas fulfils the ritual in the presence of his many acolytes and the Queen of Summer forfeits her hold on the seasons for yet another cycle, and thus ends our retelling. Or does it?
NB: It may seem like I have rushed through the events of the story but if I go into more detail I’ll spoil it for you.
Despite my initial discomfort I adored this retelling. Though originally portrayed as a gentle soul it becomes quite clear early in the piece that Riona is full of fire and fight. She is not just some twittering light fae, she is a Goddess, and she demands the respect she is due regardless of her circumstances.
Silas is divinely arrogant and dark, and so very in love with his prey. He strikes me as the type of being who carries the weight of the world on his shoulders. He enjoys the chase and the show, the rush of power it provides him, but hates the end and not for the reasons we might assume. He was a fantastic portrayal of Hades and the many facets of his character were plainly visible for all to see.
As an author, Kent manages to make you feel all the emotions of our MC’s. Their desperation, anger, humiliation, strength, love, and frustration. As their emotions spiral out of control their deepest desires become yours. As I said earlier some of the content of this novella made me a tad uncomfortable, and for that I have to applaud Kent. I was not bothered by the sex, the chase, the capture, or the audience. Singularly, these events don’t bother me at all, they appear in almost every novel I read, but blended together in this novella they evoked emotions I thought I had left behind many years ago. I reacted the same way about the fictional Riona/Silas situation as I would have had their story been non-fiction. Kents writing was captivating and it affected me emotionally in a way that went beyond the “Poor Riona/I hate you Silas” kind of way. The language, the emotions, the scenery- it all worked beautifully together to weave a scene that I was loath to read and yet couldn’t put down.
As far as retellings go this would have to be my favourite of 2019, most probably my favourite creative piece for the year as well. Part of me sincerely hopes that Kent develops it into a full novel while another part thinks it ended exactly where it should have. Surrender: A Lilly of the Valley Novella was Kents first release under this particular pen name and I look forward to the release of her next work in 2020, To Love a God.
To grab a copy of Surrender and see what all the fuss is about head here.