Book Review: A Touch of Ruin (Hades & Persephone #2)

Title: A Touch of Ruin

Author: Scarlett St. Clair

Pub. Date: April 22, 2020

Pages: 417

Pub: Scarlett St. Clair

Genre: Fantasy Romance Retellings

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5


Persephone’s relationship with Hades has gone public and the resulting media storm disrupts her normal life and threatens to expose her as the Goddess of Spring.

Hades, God of the Dead, is burdened by a hellish past that everyone’s eager to expose in an effort to warn Persephone away.

Things only get worse when a horrible tragedy leaves Persephone’s heart in ruin and Hades refusing to help. Desperate, she takes matters into her own hands, striking bargains with severe consequences.

Faced with a side of Hades she never knew and crushing loss, Persephone wonders if she can truly become Hades’ queen.


This will be a spoiler free review. I listened to the audiobook via Audible and phew the tension and angst and Persephone’s underlying current of darkness. If you’re interested, I’ll link my review of A Touch of Darkness – the first book in the Hades & Persephone series. There’s a cookie baking scene in that book, where the God of the Underworld is wearing sweatpants – you’re welcome.

This book was good.

I don’t know about you, but I kind of love it when there’s a lot of angst and drama and refusal to communicate. Now, you might be thinking none of those things sound like a good time. But St. Clair makes it work. Threaded through with Persephone’s budding power, the undercurrent of darkness swirling inside of her, Hades own insecurities and the stressors of everyday life – this book keeps you hooked. You just want to yell at the two of them to just communicate, but of course they don’t.

Hades has an eternity of bad habits to break, and Persephone is a little naïve in the ways of relationships and she’s dealing with the terrible notions her mother ingrained in her. There’s no doubt that they love each other, but these two are absolute messes in this book. They both bottle everything up until they erupt, until shit gets to be too much, and then it all goes to hell…

*stares into camera like on The Office*

It a mess, but it’s so much fun to read. It’s beyond aggravating that they just won’t talk, won’t readily admit that maybe they made a mistake, but there is love there. And there are cute romantic scenes. It’s like they love each other too much and it gets in the way.

But even through it all, they try. They do try and communicate – they agree that they shouldn’t leave each other when angry or having a fight. That they shouldn’t retaliate a hurt with another hurt. They’re slowly figuring it out.

Though, maybe they only fight so they can have intense make up sex.

(And on the note of the sex scenes in this book – can I just applaud the narrator. The way she narrates those scenes, is *hot*. That sounds so fucking weird, but breathy.)

Moving on.

Persephone deals with A Lot in this book. Between her relationship with Hades, with her work and the ever-growing interest about her relationship and booming popularity, plus her budding powers – it’s a lot for anyone to handle. And needless to say, Persephone doesn’t handle it very well. She spends most of this book bottling her feelings up.

When her boss gives her an ultimatum – bottled up.

Anger for her friend – bottled up.

Anger at her mother – bottled up.

Insecurities about her relationship with Hades – bottled up.

About the only thing she doesn’t bottle up immediately, is when she perceives that Hades has committed some great injustice towards her. Then she flies off the handle and her powers surge forth.

I mean, she really doesn’t have it easy, and I feel for her. All her feelings are genuine, and there are legitimate reasons to feel them. And she doesn’t just lash out indiscriminately. And Hades dishes it right back at her.

But, again, you know they love each other.

If they did, it wouldn’t hurt so much.

Hades makes some choices in this book. Some are out of his control, others not as much. But he’s been alone for eternity – making all the decisions, rarely having to bounce ideas or ask permission or check in. He’s been on his own, and it takes time to break habits. He tries, but sometimes he falls back on what he’s always known.

They just weren’t good and communicating in this book.

And I loved it.

Normally, this would irritate the hell out of me, but I couldn’t get enough. I loved that Persephone got angry. I loved that St. Clair dipped into the darker side of her character. That she presented Persephone’s trauma as a natural part of her – not some taboo thing that is just ignored. All her insecurities stem from how her mother raised her. And the confrontations with Demeter…I cannot wait to see the repercussions in the third book.

I loved Persephone’s moral dilemmas in this book. Loved seeing her make mistakes and then learning from them. I loved her sheer determination to help people.

Persephone may come across as spoiled, immature, bratty and annoying in this book, but I think you have to keep in mind her history. She was basically secluded from the world, kept basically captive by her mother. It’s no wonder that she struggles to communicate and deal. She’s only been in the world (so to speak) for four years. She’s still figuring out how it all works. She’s handling it rather well, despite her screw ups.

Hermes is the best. Like, I love him so much, and I love that he’s friends with Persephone. Hecate was amazing as well, and again, I love that she’s such an amazing person Persephone can go to, to talk. Lexa – well, you’ll just have to read the book to find out her plot line in this book. I love her, but I wasn’t expecting that to happen. Her boyfriend, Jaison, he kind of rose to the top of my shit list. I also ended up liking Apollo – which I didn’t expect. I’ve definitely been influenced by Lore Olympus, so I wasn’t sure what route St. Clair was going to take.

There were a couple of other new faces in this book, and for the most part I ended up really liking them. If Persephone does one thing right, it’s finding the right people to surround herself with. It’s not 100% full proof, but she has enough good people in her corner, and she’s in theirs.

For everything that I fully enjoyed in this book, there was one thing that I either wish had been more pronounced through the book (or even started in the first one) or just nixed all together. The whole Pirthous plot line. It kind of felt like it came out of left field, and then it was fixed very quickly.

Like, it was over before it even got started.

Not that Persephone need more to deal with, but it would have been interesting if the plot line had been expanded, and Pirthous had been introduced in A Touch of Darkness. As it stands, I kind of wish it didn’t exist, because it felt like it was just there for *drama* and to show off Hades’ Rage.

It just seemed strange and out of place.

Overall, I loved this book, and I cannot wait to read book 3. I’m bummed it’s not on Audible yet, so I guess I’m just going to have to buy a physical copy – the shame lol.

After that cliffhanger ending (and the bonus chapters) I really cannot wait to dive into book 3. I’m seriously loving these characters and this world. The way St. Clair writes everything – it all just comes to life in my mind. I’m so happy that these books are living up to the hype that I saw surrounding them. I was a little worried when I saw some not so positive reviews, but I legit cannot get enough. I’m here for the unique Hades & Persephone Retellings.

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