May 21, 2024

REVIEW A Touch of Malice (Hades x Persephone #5) by Scarlett St. Clair

A Touch of Malice (Hades x Persephone #5) by Scarlett St. Clair
Rating: 5 Stars
Release Date: August 23, 2021
Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)
Publisher: Bloom Books

“We are all broken, Persephone. It’s what we do with the pieces that matters.”

While previous books in the series have at times had me waffling between ratings, I had no issues deciding on a 5 star rating for Scarlett St. Clair’s A Touch of Malice, the fifth book in the Hades X Persephone series. The stakes have really been raised in this book, as well as the passion and the potential for war. 

Hades and Persephone are (finally) engaged to be married, and one step closer to officially crowning Persephone Queen of the Underworld. All is not well, however, as with the announcement of their engagement Demeter has unleashed a blizzard on New Greece (and has vowed only to dispel it when they separate). There’s also a group going around attacking gods, and Persephone’s reporting inevitably ends up attracting their attention…

In previous books, I had issues with how much Persephone was whining. Specifically, in A Touch of Ruin, I was irritated by how much she used the phrase ‘I messed up’ after she made decisions she was explicitly told not to. After she has to face the consequences of those decisions (and some of them were massive), however, she’s now come into this book bruised emotionally and more willing to put thought into the consequences of her actions. While she is still a young goddess by any measure, she’s no longer powerless and afraid like she once was. Her relationship with Hades is still growing, but I think they are getting to a better place emotionally now that their relationship will be secured through marriage, and they are actually communicating. On a physical level, they are developing that aspect of their relationship as well in this book. They experimented sexually and as a result the steaminess ratcheted up a level, but everything was done in a very safe and consensual manner. 

The worldbuilding and the storyline were another great touch of this book. Of course, like any good Greek mythology retelling, there is a boat load of drama involved with the interactions between each Olympian god. There’s also some references to the original story of Demeter, Persephone and Hades, as well as a revelation of Demeter’s backstory. While it gives light to why Demeter has become the way she has, I don’t think it necessarily excuses how terrible she’s been to her daughter over the years. The other part of the plot, with the group that’s attacking gods, was really interesting and has pulled together threads that have been building over the course of the series. I’m very curious to see how that plays out in the end. 

Overall, this was a fantastic read and left me super excited for the final two books in the series (especially with the cliffhanger this book leaves readers on). I’m invested now, and I really want to see Hades and Persephone get their happily ever after at the end of the series. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy Greek Mythology retellings and mature romances with a bit of spice to them. 

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