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Book: “Lore Olympus: Volume 2” by Rachel Smythe
Publishing Info: Del Rey, July 2022
Where Did I Get This Book: I own it.
Where You Can Get This Book: WorldCat | Amazon | Indiebound
Book Description: Persephone was ready to start a new life when she left the mortal realm for Olympus. However, she quickly discovered the dark side of her glamorous new home—from the relatively minor gossip threatening her reputation to a realm-shattering violation of her safety by the conceited Apollo—and she’s struggling to find her footing in the fast-moving realm of the gods. Hades is also off-balance, fighting against his burgeoning feelings for the young goddess of spring while maintaining his lonely rule of the Underworld. As the pair are drawn ever closer, they must untangle the twisted webs of their past and present to build toward a new future.
This full-color edition of Smythe’s original Eisner-nominated webcomic Lore Olympus features a brand-new, exclusive short story, and brings Greek mythology into the modern age in a sharply perceptive and romantic graphic novel.
Review: We are back for more Greek Mythology soapy romantic goodness, everybody! It has been awhile since I have had a full blown content obsession, but “Lore Olympus” has really snagged me but good. Greek myths! Humor! A favorite ship! LOTS OF PATHOS! It all comes together in this series and we are starting to parse out the various complications that are facing Persephone, Hades, and more Greek Gods and Goddesses in “Volume Two”. Our star crossed would be lovers, Persephone and Hades, are trying to find their footing after their chance meeting has set them both a little off kilter, and while that could just be a lot of pining and wallowing in angst, Rachel Smythe takes the opportunity to build up more backstory and more characterization, and it is for the better. “Volume Two” is keeping the series going strong. But yes, there is still some lovely Hades angst, and given that I LOVE to be emotionally wrecked by fiction, I say bring it on.
One of the most rewarding things about “Lore Olympus” is that Smythe is taking her time to set groundwork, characterizations, and background. We start this volume off with Persephone starting her schooling with her scholarship from The Goddesses of Eternal Maidenhood while silently grappling with the sexual assault she endured at the hands of Apollo. She loves being away from her doting mother’s eyes, but given she’s drawn to Hades she is feeling that perhaps joining TGOEM isn’t what she really wants. Meanwhile, Hades is stewing about his feelings for her and trying to keep his distance, and to make matters worse a tabloid has shown innocuous pictures of them and spinning them to seem scandalous, which threatens Persephone’s reputation. Throw in Hera’s suggestion that Persephone take on an internship in the Underworld (as she secretly wants Hades to be happy and thinks that this would help that), and the two would be lovers are being shoved into some fun forced proximity!
But these very common tropes feel fun and new in this story, and it means that we can carefully explore their budding friendship while also exploring them as individuals who are dealing with a lot of baggage on their own. I thought that Smythe is really careful but also powerful when exploring the aftermath of Persephone’s rape, and does a good job of portraying the shame, the fear, and the apprehension, especially since her abuser is inserting himself in her life vis a vis his clueless sister Artemis, whom Persephone is living with. It’s tackled in a way that feels real, but doesn’t feel melodramatic or exploitative. I’m hoping that it stays that way and isn’t used for man pain or anything like that, but I trust Smythe to continue to be mindful. We also have a lot of other facets to Persephone’s growth as she tries to make sense of what she has been told she wants from life, and what she actually wants from life. There have also been hints about some darkness involving her backstory and her nature, which is VERY interesting to say the least…
Okay now we talk about what I loved most in this book. HECATE IS HERE!!! I’ve talked about how Persephone is my favorite Greek deity, and Hades is definitely number two? Well Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft, is third. I love Hecate. So I was very interested to see how Smythe depicted her, and I was NOT disappointed, as she is Hades’s COO and number two in command, who calls him out on all his nonsense and bullshit while trying to support him in other ways. She is THE BEST, and also very competent at keeping things in the Underworld running. In this the Underworld is a very necessary, non-evil place that has to be run efficiently, and having Hades and Hecate as co-runners feels very Eric and Pam from “True Blood” (without any of the clichéd longing on her part). It’s also really cool to see the depiction of the Underworld here, as we’ve seen the Mortal Realm as fields and vastness, and Olympus as an upperclass city scape. The Underworld feels a bit more hardboiled with a corporate undertone, and I love seeing how it is run, and how the various workers fit in, like Thanatos, who escorts souls to the Underworld, and Minthe the nymph (who just so happens to be in an on again off again/toxic relationship with Hades and she’s also kind of the worst but also seems pretty damaged so she isn’t just a girl to get in the way, HOW REFRESHING!).
And I’m still in love with the artwork. The designs of all these characters are perfection. I mean LOOK AT MY GIRL HECATE!
I’m still obsessed with “Lore Olympus”. There isn’t much else to say, I’m head over heels.
Rating 9: Still loving this. What a fresh, soapy, emotional and sometimes hilarious take on Greek Mythology!
“Lore Olympus: Volume 2” is included on the Goodreads lists “Greek Mythology Retellings!”, and “Hades and Persephone”.
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