I can’t believe that the one story that gave me a total “book” hangover ended up being… a webcomic.
Listen. I’m not a comic person AT ALL. Graphic novels are NOT my genre (though I love art.. go figure).
Secondly, retellings are always 50/50 to me. Either they’re a hit or a miss.
So to read a retelling of one of my favorite myths in graphic novel form and have it done so well is amazing. But to make a “non comic/graphic novel reader” become in love with it is talent, skill, and genius.
I caved in after hearing about Lore Olympus all over the book community and being recommended to read it multiple times. And it did not disappoint.
Description Summary | A refreshing retelling of the notorious myth. Think the dysfunctional plot twists of Umbrella Academy mixed in with the highschool drama of Bratz.
Book Summary | Skip to Review
Told in multiple POVs, the highly original webcomic follows the Goddess of Spring Persephone and the King of the Underworld Hades as they navigate the tricky feelings of love in order to realize their destiny of being together.
A chance encounter at a glitzy ballroom party in Olympus leads to an unusual meeting between the two. And from that night Persephone and Hades seem to always gravitate towards each other. Unfortunately like most love stories…it’s not that easy.
Persephone has a duty to become an active member in TGOEM (The Goddesses of Eternal Maidenhood); meaning a vow of celibacy forever… She’s torn between being loyal to her mother Demeter while also combating her ever growing feelings to Hades. Not to mention the Goddess herself has secrets; secrets that are deadly and secrets that are haunting.
Hades is the third of his brothers who are notorious for their numerous affairs. And being a King might be great but being a King of the Underworld means that you are lonely because either people fear you, misunderstand you, or think you’re a mess (usually all of the above). So he’s not exactly a “catch”. Stuck in an on again off again relationship, Hades is struggling to find the love and peace he thinks he doesn’t deserve. But then Persephone enters his life and he’s forced to rethink everything.
I had so much fun reading this, and each chapter ended in such a cliffhanger you were begging to know what happens next. It captures the suspense of watching a tv show and clicking that “next episode” button straight away because you just couldn’t wait. I think the story started out fine but then as Persephone gets dragged into more plot lines you are swept up into a journey of deep laughs,contented sighs, blurry tears, intense anger, and victory dancing. I loved how we got side plots of other retellings in the comic, and it wasn’t just Persephone and Hades. Personally I like the retellings where Hades is more humane and actually makes those sacrifices out of love to Persephone.
The author kept the main plot relatively close to the myth but how Smythe added serious topics of domestic abuse, sexual abuse, rape, and toxic relationships was seriously so well done. She managed to include relevant issues today within a retelling but still make it feel so “real”. I thought how she wrote about the trauma that a victim of sexual abuse faces is incredibly realistic and just so well done. You can tell that Smythe was careful and conscious when writing about it.
Art / Graphics
Seeing your characters visually is an element I had to get used to, and my comic obsessed sister had to point out delicate details of line drawings that I would have just skipped over but when reading a graphic novel made a lot of difference. I have yet another layer of appreciation towards artists and illustrators.
Speaking of artists…the art is gorgeous and highly unique. What’s even more beautiful is seeing the creator’s skill in artistry and writing grow and get better and better. The colors and drawings reflected the characters and settings greatly. Harsh lines and darker hues for the Underworld, and softer rounded lines for the green fields of the surface.
The characters were such a joy to read and get to know! (well most of them…) It was even a greater treat to see how another would envision these entities whom I knew for many years! (Percy Jackson fans anyone?)
It’s official folks, I need a Hades in my life. Love how he wasn’t your typical “scary bad guy”; I never got that menacing feeling that you usually associate him with. His dialogue was mainly internalized so what we saw is someone who believed himself to be a monster rather than someone who actually is one. I love the unraveling of his personality and backstory from chapter to chapter. There’s a line that stood out to me: when he said “I want to feel loved and safe everyday….not sometimes”. That line broke my heart to pieces.
One of the characters that truly grew in persona but never changed in an ideal sense. Despite the horrible things she’s been through, Perse chooses to be kind and optimistic. Keyword: chooses. Honestly one the most wholesome characters I’ve ever read and her and Hades are perfect *sigh*
Easily my favorite side character and I just had to write about him. If you want a definition or a criteria for a friend, just refer to Eros. How he became the support system for the abuse victim (don’t want to spoil anything) is a terrific representation of how to be there for the victim correctly. Also he has a wicked sense of style, applies makeup perfectly, and knows how to cook!
I could honestly go on and on about the characters but I just wrote about honorable mentions instead 🙂
Do I recommend? Yes 100%
Where to read? Webtoon
My next Music for Books post will feature Persephone and I can’t wait for you guys to enjoy the latest mixtape!
What do you think? Have you ever read Lore Olympus? Have any other Webtoons you recommend!?