Reviewer: Amy Lignor
Title: Radiant Darkness
Author: Emily Whitman
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (An Imprint of HarperCollins)
ISBN-13: 978-0-06-172449-7 (Hardcover)
Release Date: May 2009
Genre/Sub-genre: YA//Greek Mythology/Fantasy
Publisher’s Age/Grade Recommendation: Ages 14+; Grades 9 and up
OUAR’s Age/Grade Recommendation: Ages 13+; Grades 8 and up
Year/Setting: The fantastical world of Greek mythology, from Mount Olympus to the River Styx
Overall Rating: 5.0
Sexual Content Rating: None/Subtle
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: None
Violent Content Rating: Mild/Moderate (Think, Greek Three-Headed Dog)
Emily's Website: www.emilywhitman.com
I love it when I get to do this. So humor me. Ms. Whitman is a brand new writer on the scene with her very first Young Adult gift. Did I say gift? Oh...yes, I did. This book is a rare gem in a world of, usually, very reality-driven works that make teenagers believe that they should just give it up and forget about even trying to make their lives betters.
Here, we have the wonderful Greek myth of Demeter and her daughter, Persephone. For anyone who's read up on these subjects (and if you haven't, you should, because these stories are very cool) this book is an absolute pleasure to read. Now the old story handed down, was that Demeter was the Goddess of the Harvest. She's the one who made it rain and took care of the crops, fields, flowers, trees, etcetera. Yes, she was the first "tree-hugger." Her daughter, Persephone, was playing in the field one day when Hades, The God of the Underworld, split the land, rose from the dirt, and grabbed her. It was said that he'd abducted the poor, frightened girl and Demeter decided to do what all good mothers do - she turned the earth to dust. There was no way that mortals were going to live until her beloved child was returned to her. These Greeks had some great stories, I'll give them that.
Now, the story told in this author's world is that young Persephone was sick to death of her mother treating her like a child. When a man, who is gloriously handsome, lands his chariot in the field, Perhsephone falls immediately head over heels for him. It is her choice and her love that allows him to take her from the Earth and down into the bowels of the Underworld. The imagination and creativity is so overwhelmingly powerful for a young adult book, that I literally finished the story about an hour and a half after I picked it up. This is a love story that all teens should read. Not only will they be swept away by the feelings and the descriptions of these magical places, they will also learn a very amazing part of history. I can't wait for Ms. Whitman's next offering.
Until Next Time, Amy
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