Content Warning: Attempted Sexual Assault, Non-Consensual Touching, Sex Scenes, Death, Drugging, Talks of Suicide
A Touch of Ruin is the anticipated sequel to A Touch of Darkness that we really didn’t need. While the premise was exciting and the characters on the verge of some development, A Touch of Ruin ultimately fell flat in this fantastical retelling of Hades and Persephone.
- How death was portrayed in a gentle and peaceful way
- Actions DO have consequences
- No map
- Immature Persephone
- No real plot
- Miscommunication is the plot
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
Before getting started, I would like to say that I’m glad this book wasn’t anything like Lore Olympus. The first book just felt like a retake on the popular Webtoon and I’m glad this one didn’t follow in its steps.
Now onto the plot. There wasn’t really one major plot line in this book. There were multiple:
- Revenge on Apollo article
- Lexa getting hit by a car
- Pirithous admiration/abduction
- Demeter trying to separate Hades and Persephone via Leuce
I understand the importance of having subplots, but when you don’t have an overall plot line, things tend to fall flat. These plots did not mesh well and kept giving me whiplash every time I was thrown from one into the next.
Not to mention that the main trope of this book and its predecessor is miscommunication. Which has its perks in certain areas, but when your entire book relies on this trope, it gets tiring. I was so ready for Hades and Persephone to just talk.
They kept so much from each other and Hades specifically didn’t elaborate on anything dealing with Lexa and Leuce. So much could have been avoided (and maybe the romance would be more believable) if the two just communicated with each other.
It was honestly annoying and tiresome to constantly read how the two never talked things through (even when they said they would).
It would be one thing if we found out that Apollo did in fact cause Lexa’s accident, that way Persephone could erect some type of revenge on him. But, of course, that wasn’t the case, even if would be more interesting and dynamic to the already choppy plot.
I would also like to ask, why is it Persephone’s job to make Apollo more compassionate? This is a typical case of “Well, I can fix him when no one else can.” Girl, I’ve been there, literally, and it doesn’t work unless they want to change. Which, luckily for us, Apollo does want to change! But what brought this one? Is it because Persephone was just being nice to him?
In general, the plot with Lexa was decent. It gave us grief and desperation. It gave us a drive to save her because Lexa is such a good side character. I love her and to have her in such a horrific accident and seeing her friends and family suffer added quite a bit of emotion to the story.
However, I would also like to point out that the lack of communication in regards to Lexa’s soul was atrocious. Honestly, I would have tried everything in my power to save my best friend if given the chance. However, just like Persephone, if I would have known my best friend wanted to die and saving her would condemn her soul, then I would have respected her wishes.
But instead, Hades decides not to clarify any of this. Persephone was making a decision based on the information she had. So I 100% blame Hades for the lead-up of Lexa’s soul being broken.
I truly thought that Persephone would come back and poison Lexa to put her soul at ease, though. The poison had been brought up numerous times with Hecate and how to make them, so I guessed that’s how Persephone would right her wrongs. But she didn’t even give her friend that.
Lexa truly got the raw end of the deal. She deserved so much more. And what was the whole thing of her completing her life’s goal and it is to empower Persephone? What the fuck kind of shitty character development is that?
Lexa was more interesting and dynamic than Persephone, and she deserved a just ending to live in the Asphodel for the rest of eternity. I’m so upset she doesn’t get to, but at the same time I’m glad Persephone’s actions finally catch up to her. There are actual consequences to her stupid decisions and it literally cost her Lexa’s soul.
Okay, what the actual fuck. Why was this even included? Pirithous abducting Persephone did nothing for the plot. It didn’t further the story or add some surprising twist. It was evident from the beginning that the “secret admirer” was Pirithous.
Pirithous could have been a genuine friend helping out a “mortal” who got involved with gods that he didn’t like. He could have been an Impious and it would have made for a better plot line than this.
I’m so mad and genuinely disgusted at this one (literally one!) chapter.
Events involving Demeter were subtle in this book. Her unleashing Leuce and possibly causing Lexa’s accident was a few events that could easily be placed onto someone else. But I liked it. Demeter has strong motivation to drive Hades and Persephone apart and she’s definitely being discreet about it.
Towards the end when Demeter was brought to the Underworld, it did not go the way I thought it would. Why just make Demeter apologize? Why not call her out on her bullshit and confront her about what she was doing? Persephone addressed the issue in an odd way, and Demeter’s stay was short.
It felt rushed and only seemed to serve as a setup for the next book.
The Ending (Act III)
Oh, gods, the ending was atrocious. Literally, the last 50-60 pages of the book went like this:
- Hades and Persephone’s engagement.
- Lexa died and welcomed her into the Underworld.
- Lexa’s funeral.
- Persephone decided to start her own blog/newspaper with the help of Leuce and Sybil.
- Persephone quit her job and recruited Helen.
- Pirithous kidnaps Persephone and attempts to sexually assault her, but Hades comes and saves the day all within 8 pages. 8 fucking pages all this happens!
- Persephone finally visits Lexa’s soul in Elysium and spends the day with her.
- Hades and Persephone attend an event that Lexa started to set up in regards to Halcyon’s latest project.
- Hades dedicated a garden to Lexa without Persephone knowing.
- They danced, drank, and laughed.
- Hades re-proposed to Persephone with a ring.
- It started snowing in August and apparently, that means war is coming.
Roughly 60 pages of events and information are being thrown at us. Way too quick! More happened in the last act of the book than it did in the first two!
General Questions, Concerns, and Comments
Now that I’ve addressed the basic plot lines and issues of the book, I still have some things to add.
- Since when did Hades bare the threads of the mortals he bargained for? We’ve literally seen this man naked in multiple sex scenes in both books and this was never brought up, nor was it mentioned again. Convent plot device? I think yes.
- Persephone literally hardly has time to herself to process emotions or events, besides when hades kept her in the underworld don the first act. She always had friends or Hades rushing in to comfort her/save the day. It was annoying and the consequences of her actions weren’t really felt nor shown.
- What workplace allows someone to come and go as they please like Persephone’s? I wish!
- Since I don’t really believe in the relationship between Persephone and Hades, I wish the Forest of Despair scenes were real. It would connect those lines of disconnect I’ve been feeling between the couple.
I think my biggest issue with the characters in this book is that we saw development in the first book, but it was forgotten here. We just restarted as soon as this one began. It made me want to pull my hair out sometimes.
I also had issues with Persephone and Hades’s relationship. Just like Persephone, I didn’t think they knew each other that well. This insta-lust couple was not convincing me that they were in love. It honestly felt one-sided on the “love” factor, too.
I can literally break down their relationship in this book with 5 words: anger, jealousy, betrayal, sex, repeat.
That’s it! That’s all there is to them. No tender moments that are more than a paragraph, no support, nothing. Only these negative emotions blocked the two from being a healthy and happy couple. Instead, they are incredibly toxic to each other.
However, with all this being said, I did like Persephone’s relationships with her friends, Apollo, and others more so than with Hades. She felt like a real character in the mortal world with Sybil, Apollo, and Hermes. In the Underworld with Hades, she felt fake.
Oh, Persephone. You have such independent and big-girl thoughts, but you lack everything needed to pull those thoughts off.
I admire Persephone for having such a strong sense of right and wrong, but she causes so much trouble with that line of thinking—Apollo article, saving Lexa, etc. She’s so volatile in her emotions that she comes across as immature, selfish, and irrational. This righteous sense of hers is almost insufferable and what made me really not like her character.
However, on the flip side, she’s hard-headed and has every right to be worried about being consumed by Hades and not being her own person. I get it, I’ve literally been there in life. I was nothing more than my boyfriend at the time. Persephone has every right to fight for what she wants in life, to be her own person, and enjoy it. She is more than Hades’s lover or just the girl who is associated with him.
She’s learning to cope with her new life with Hades, their relationship, and what she wants out of her mortal life (which I agree does suit her more than the life of a goddess). Hades is suffocating. He belittles her, treats her like a kid instead of explaining things to her, and comes to her rescue all the time instead of letting her face the consequences. Persephone really doesn’t have a chance to grow when she has Hades pushing her to be his queen and saving her ass.
Hades is so over-bearing. He doesn’t give Persephone room to learn and grow, but instead interjects himself into her life and “saves” her from harms way. Persephone isn’t allowed to face the consequences of her actions because Hades is coming around and preventing her from it.
Hades’ character also seems off to me. Like there is something else actually going on (that’s why the Leuce/Forest of Despair scene made sense to me). He keeps saying that Persephone can trust him, but what actions have we been shown to prove that?
He’s hiding too much and not being forthcoming with Persephone. If he would have just explained things to her, especially about Lexa, then it would have prevented so many lives from being destroyed. He doesn’t need to reveal everything that’s ever happened in his life, but he should have communicated the current ones.
Hades is relying heavily on the fact that they’re “fated to be together” instead of proving to Persephone that he loves her. He says he loves her, but all I am seeing is a lust-driven god taking advantage of a goddess who just wants someone to love her.
There is also a lack of Hades in this book. He’s vacant and only used to sex, comfort, or cleaning up Persephone’s messes. He’s more of a side character honestly.
I love Hecate. She’s a comforting character, but it begs the question what else does she do besides support Persephone? She’s not her servant but acts like it. Does she have a role in the Underworld? Does she help Hades with anything?
I should hate Apollo because he’s abusive and a rapist, but I don’t and it confuses me. I actually liked his character and his willingness to change. His actions are inexcusable, even if his heart was broken, but he showed development and depth. Something we don’t see enough of in this series so far.
Poor, poor Lexa. She deserved better. As did her friends, family, and Jaison, but not Persephone. It’s because of Persephone that Lexa was tormented and her soul in pain. She resulted in taking her own life because she couldn’t handle the pressures of life. Lexa wanted to be dead and Persephone ripped it away from her.
There were so many things off about the writing of this book, so we’re going to jump right into the negatives.
The proofreading was much better in this book, but still. Dear gods! When you have a sentence with the last word being “too” you need to put a comma before it! “That works, too.” It’s so simple.
There were times when I got confused about who was speaking because there was no indication after the dialog and the response didn’t always make sense with what was going on.
Persephone and Her Emotions/Thoughts
Persephone thinks big girl thoughts but acts immaturely. It’s like picking dialog in a video game based on short prompts and the real dialog not being remotely close to the prompt provided. Persephone had a good understanding of what was going on and how to react, but when she did react or say something it was wrong or off.
For example, when Kal was taken down by Hades and he asked her what he should do with Kal. Persephone out of nowhere said she wanted to send him to Tartarus, but like we weren’t giving any indication that’s how she was feeling. It was like we hit “don’t kill him, be compassionate,” but her response was to threaten to send him to Tartarus. Those don’t mesh!
Persephone was also all over the place with her emotions, thoughts, and actions that it gave me anxiety just reading about what the hell she was doing.
Ill-Timed Sex Scenes
These godsdamned sex scenes were so illy timed. It was cringy! I enjoy a good sex scene as much as the next smut reader, but when it happens and doesn’t mesh with the situation, I can’t get behind it.
For example, in the scene in Iniquity after Hades comes to “save the day” and they do the deed right there in Kal’s bargaining room. Like, why? One, the floors must be gross, and two they’re mad at each other. Why not talk things out instead?
Another example is after the Forest of Despair. Persephone is obviously traumatized by what she saw, yet their first move is to have sex afterwards? I don’t know. It didn’t make sense to me.
I also just recently learned that rage sex was a thing, so maybe Hades and Persephone are into that?
Regardless, I wanted more intimate (no sex) moments between the two. Soft and gentle times of longing glances, lingering touches, or cuddling moments. It doesn’t have to be sex all the time to be intimate. I think this is why I don’t believe in these two as a couple.
St. Clair definitely did a great job at portraying Persephone’s life falling apart and all the wild emotions she had along the way.
Overall, A Touch of Ruin had so much potential and it utterly disappointed. If it wasn’t for Persephone’s relationship with other characters besides Hades, then this book would have gotten 2 stars.
I could have lived my life without this book. It was honestly forgettable. Yet, I had fun reading it, so I have mixed feelings. I’ve also never not liked a Persephone character retelling, but this one really proved me wrong. I did not like Persephone here, but maybe in the next book she’ll mature and be a bit more tolerable.
I’ve also come to the conclusion that this book is basically a modern billionaire love story and I don’t really like that premise. It’s not interesting and not really for me.
In the end, I don’t really want to read the third book, but I already bought it so I will. I have low hopes for it, but maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised.
What did you think of the book? Did you like it or could you have done without it? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Facebook Page | Goodreads TBR | Spicy Rating Scale | Scarlett St. Clair’s Website