Title: Soul in Darkness
Author: Wendy Higgins
Pub. Date: February 10, 2019
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ – 3.5
People travel from afar to the small isle in the Aegean Sea hoping for a single glimpse of Princess Psyche. Their adoration for the mortal woman is so all-consuming that citizens begin to shower her with the very gifts and offerings they once left at the alter of Venus, goddess of love and beauty.
But gods are known for their jealousy.
Cupid, the god of love, takes pleasure in causing strife and mischief in the lives of humans. He uses love as a weapon, humoring in the weakness of people at the whims of their feelings. When his mother Venus approaches him about punishing the human girl who dares to steal her offerings and affections from the people, Cupid gladly accepts.
Psyche’s punishment is to be given to a mysterious creature who only comes to her in the dark of night under the pact that she will never lay eyes on him. She is terrified of this stranger, who the oracle described as a serpent. Her mate, however, is masterful in his dealings with his bride. He takes his time, morphing her fears into different sensations completely.
Based on the Roman/Greek mythology of Cupid and Psyche by Lucius Apuleius, New York Times bestseller Wendy Higgins brings the tale to life, weaving layers that show exactly how a sacrificial lamb can be enchanted by an unseen monster.
This will be a spoiler free review.
I’m going to be candid. It’s been about two weeks since I read this book, yet I’m still struggling to write the review. I enjoyed it, so you’d think the review would be easy to write. It’s proving to be the opposite, and I’m not sure why. I don’t know if it’s a lack of motivation or if there is some other underlying reason. The words just won’t come, so this review might be really short.
When I found out that Wendy Higgins was doing a Greek/Roman mythology retelling, I knew I was going to read it regardless of what it was about. She’s basically an auto buy for me, so I knew Soul in Darkness would be a purchase I would be making. Beyond the major couples in the mythology, I’m not incredibly knowledgeable on the lesser known ones. I had no idea that there was a relationship between Cupid and Psyche. Also, I had no idea Cupid was Venus/Aphrodite’s son. It makes sense though. I really enjoy the mythology, but I don’t spend a lot of time looking up the various relationships. You learn something new every day.
Anyways, I enjoyed this book, flew right through it – basically read it in one sitting over a few hours. It’s not a hard read and it’s pretty easy to follow. I will say, I wish it had been a little longer, or maybe spread across two books. The fast pace was nice for a quick read, but I felt like the story suffered a bit because of it.
I think that’s my biggest complaint and why I might be struggling with writing up this review. I think I just wanted more. More story, more world, more time with the characters. It truly felt rushed, and obviously despite my almost adamant refusal to acknowledge that, that might be the problem, I think it is.
I felt like there was no real time to get to know the characters, to really feel for the predicament that they were in. Which I think is translating into struggling to write this review. I want to rave about this book, and the fact that I can’t is forcing me to procrastinate and stall with this review.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed reading it, enjoyed the story, but I think the fact that it felt so rush is negatively impacting me.
So, let’s quickly talk about what I did like:
I liked Psyche’s character; thought she was likeable. I felt for her…predicament. It wasn’t fair to her, but she did handle the attention respectfully and tried not to draw attention to herself. I liked that from an outsider’s perspective her life was perfect – like invisible wind blowing hair, slow walking in shining light perfect – but in reality, it’s the story of how beauty doesn’t necessarily make life better.
As for Cupid, I wish we had more time with him. By that I mean, more time from his perspective. I knew from the beginning that he wasn’t the monster Psyche made him out to be, but overall, (as the reader) we don’t get much. Maybe we (the readers) were supposed to grow to like him as Psyche does, but it would have been nice if the book had been more equally dual POV. (Though I get why it can’t be.)
But that brings me back to the pacing and lack of time spent in this novel. I truly think that just too much time – which wasn’t actually much time at all – was crammed into one book. The ending felt super rushed and contrived. I understand it’s based on a mythology, but damn, did the ending get rushed. Hardly any time was spent ‘in capture’ and then the journey at the end was rapid fire. I get that there really isn’t (based on this book) much to the story/romance of Cupid and Psyche, but it still, in my opinion, could have been longer. I think that’s the crux of the matter – there’s only so much mythology, so much story. Maybe some liberties should have been taken. Again, I’ve done no research into the story of Psyche and Cupid, but maybe there should have been some author liberties taken with Soul in Darkness to make it not seem like such a fast paced read.
Overall, this book seriously needed to be another hundred pages at least, or another book. If you’re looking for a quick, enjoyable, Greek/Roman mythology to get lost in for a few hours, with a God and mortal relationship with a dash of familial drama, then definitely pick this up. IF you’re a Wendy Higgins fan, definitely pick this up, her writing is enjoyable and wonderful as always. Would I recommend this book – yes, because I will always recommend mythology books – especially Greek/Roman.
Also, heads up, I would definitely classify this as a New Adult read, there are some explicit scenes as well as mature content…but we are dealing with Greek/Roman Gods here…and let’s be honest, none of them were exactly discreet.