Friday, December 14, 2012

Losing myself to Losing Beauty

Sometime about a year ago while I was expanding my blog reading world I stumbled upon Losing Sanity. I can't tell you how I got to Johanna's blog, but I was instantly happy that I had found it. It quickly became obvious that this was a blog that I was going to want to read and really enjoy.

I remember quite clearly when I started reading her blog she kept mentioning the book she had written, Losing Beauty. It was supposed to be a modern day retelling of the Persephone and Hades myth. Honestly after I read that I didn't need any convincing that I should read this book. I am a total sucker for that sort of thing.

Sadly I found that at that particular time Losing Beauty was only available in e-format. I didn't have an e-reader of any sort. This was still well before I left the stone age and got a smart phone as well. I had no actual way to read the book. I was incredibly sad.

Then the day I was hoping for finally came, the book was being printed and the luddites of the world could finally enjoy her book as well. Considering I had wanted to read this book for a while at this point one would think I would go out and buy it. Only I didn't. It, like most things, was placed on my Amazon list for eventual purchase.

When I finally got a tablet I did think about buying the book at that time. The thing was I was still trying to get used to the tablet, and I had this huge stack of reading waiting for me, and I was actually reading three books at once, and it just sort of slipped my mind.

That is it slipped my mind until a few weeks ago Johanna announced that the second book in the Persephony Campbell series, Losing Hope, was being released in mid December (next Monday to be exact). Suddenly Losing Beauty was back on my radar. I remembered how much I had wanted to read it when I first heard about it. Now I had this tablet and it would be so easy and convenient to just download it.

So I did.

It was so very much worth the wait. I had planned on reading it slowly. I was going to read a little in the evening before bed and then finish it up this weekend so that I wouldn't be left waiting anxiously for the release of the next book on Monday. I should have known better.

I downloaded the book on Wednesday afternoon at work and was finished with it before work ended on Thursday. Now to be fair I did read for a while at home Wednesday night, but I must admit I didn't get a lot of work done at the office on Thursday. I just couldn't put the book down.

Actually I couldn't put my phone down. My tablet was having some technical issues so I was forced to read it on my phone. If you have never tried to read a book on your phone, trust me you aren't missing much. If you do read books on your phone I would like to know how you haven't gone blind yet.

Technical issues aside, the book was wonderful. I already love reading her blog so I should have known that I would love reading her book. I found Johanna's take on the myth to be incredibly clever. I loved the sense of mystery she built around the characters. I was constantly wanting to know what was going to happen next. Even when I knew well in advance what was going to happen, I was still in a place of suspense when it finally came to pass.

The book follows the life of Persephony 'Persey' Campbell, a strikingly beautiful young girl from Iowa, that along with what seems to be almost unnatural beauty, also has a strange magnetic pull to her that attracts everyone. More precisely her pull seems to attract peoples secrets, which they can not help but divulge to her no matter how dark and depraved they are.

Haden is the ruler of the Underworld, who has found the anonymity of a modern uncaring society to be freeing if not a little dull. The story starts from the first time that Haden sets eyes on her. It takes him only one look at Persey for him to be hooked. Not even an immortal creature, once worshiped as a God, is immune to the elusive golden haired beauties strange powers. Though to his fascination she seems to be immune to his powers as the ruler of the dead to see humans ends.

The story follows through Persey's life as she tries to make her way through the world without having to bare witness to every persons dark inner secrets. All the while Haden, now obsessed with the unique beauty, plots and plans his way into having what he desires; Persephony as his eternal wife and queen. We watch as Haden manipulates the world as best he can to achieve his goals, though even he can not seem to avert fate and natural law.

I loved how the book explored good vs evil on multiple levels. Watching the individual characters battle with their own internal demons while you also see the worlds demons filtered through Persey Campbell and her unique abilities.

The book ended in such a way that neither good nor evil had triumphed. Battles had been won but the war is by no means over. Old questions were still unanswered and new questions were waiting just formed on the edge of consciousness. Thankfully I only have to wait until Monday to get my next fix.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes books with some mystery, some romance, or likes modern retellings of old myths or stories. This book was a delight to read, and even a slow reader like me flew through it. Johanna has created a wonderful world and woven a fantastic tale to which I personally can not wait to see more of.

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