My newest obsession is BookTok. If you’re not on TikTok, this is a category you can search on the app and you will find tons of videos from creators talking about all things books. They recommend series, act out scenes, swoon over book boyfriends, show off amazing bookshelves + “shelfies” and even warn you about which books don’t live up to the hype.
I LOVE IT. I get lost in the dance videos. Then, I found BookTok and it took my love up a notch. I never post, only lurk, and I go down the rabbit hole at least once a day.
One of the series that enjoys a lot of air time on BookTok is The Touch of Darkness books by Scarlett St. Clair. Full disclosure, I love fantasy books, dystopian, alpha heroes, spicy faeries, and vampires, all things Sarah J. Maas and Jennifer L. Armentrout. I get suggested a lot of books similar in some way to those things and authors.
A Touch of Darkness is a modern day retelling of the Hades and Persephone story. In the space of a week, I’ve read book one, 1.5, and book two. TikTok proving that its algorithm does know me well. A quick primer on Greek Mythology: Hades is the God of the Dead and Persephone is the Goddess of Spring. Opposites attract and all that. Persephone’s mother is Demeter, the Goddess of the Harvest.
Persephone has chosen to live in the mortal world. She has been sheltered her whole life from her evil protective mother and hasn’t learned how to use her powers, believes they just don’t exist, and wants desperately to belong somewhere. She’s in college, hiding her Goddess identity, studying to be a journalist. Her mother has given her specific instructions to avoid all the Gods/Goddesses…especially Hades. The Gods/Goddesses aren’t nice beings. They’re mean, manipulative, and Hades is particularly hated. Persephone is intrigued by the idea of Hades. He’s one of the Gods that doesn’t appear much in the mortal world, is shrouded in mystery, and never photographed. He owns some very trendy nightclubs and casinos.
I really liked, how in this world, Gods and Goddesses owned mortal businesses. Zeus owns a marketing and creative agency. Apollo is a rockstar. And, they are portrayed as being modern day celebrities with paparazzi following their every move, red carpet events, and trashy tabloid coverage. Sort of reminds me of the fanfare around the British Royals.
Persephone and her friend, Lexa, go out one night to celebrate a new internship. Hades’ club, Nevernight, is notoriously hard to get access to. Lexa has a new friend who happens to have two extra passes and the girls are ready to party. While there, Persephone sees a mysterious darkly handsome man staring at her from the balcony. Smoldering eyes. Intense. Enter Hades. He’s hot as hell. Literally. She’s curious about the God, his nightclub, and the famous bargains he makes with mortals that land mortals in the Underworld. She ends up in his exclusive gambling den on the second floor. She’s never played a game of cards in her life, sits at a table by herself, and the mysterious stranger walks over. She has no idea it’s Hades, they are flirty, she wants to learn how to play poker and he starts to teach her. She thinks that he’s just a nice guy showing her the ropes, in reality, she’s just entered into a contract with him. She is shocked and nervous to learn that the hottie is Hades and she escapes his club. Too late for her, the contract has happened and Hades has the upper hand. Persephone learns that she must “create life” in the underworld or be doomed to exist there for eternity. Create life can mean many things, and that’s the twist.
The rest of the book is a fun, very steamy, journey through their relationship. Not quite enemies to lovers, because Hades was never really the enemy. The God of the Dead is a bit misunderstood. I really enjoyed the God/Goddess characters. Hermes, Hecate, Zeus, Poseidon, Demeter and Aphrodite are all funny modern personalities. Book 1.5, A Game of Fate, was the same story but from Hades’ point of view. It included more back story on his history and an entirely new plot that was an undercurrent throughout the beginning of their relationship but had no voice in book one. Book two, A Touch of Ruin, follows their new relationship and ends on a small cliffhanger. Book two was good, but I enjoyed the other two books more. I straight up wanted to throat punch Persephone a couple of times in book two.
BookTok made me read this series and I’m glad I did!
A Touch of Darkness B+
A Game of Fate A
A Touch of Ruin B