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REVIEW: Hot as Hades by Alisha Rai

Dear Ms. Rai,

You are a new author to me. I am familiar with your name, as I have seen many good reviews of your work. So when I saw that your next book was the Persephone myth retold as an erotic romance storyline, and because the price was right, I purchased. I’m happy to say I was pleased with my purchase.

Hot as Hades Alisha RaiHot As Hades opens up with Persephone dropping onto Hades’s lap in the Underworld. She’s naked and has no clue why she is there, and he’s quite happy that she’s naked and in his lap until he finds out that she is Demeter’s daughter. Then he’s angry at her presence and that he was lusting after her. Persephone  is attracted to Hades, but she’s just as confused at how she showed up in the Underworld. It turns out that both of them are being manipulated – Zeus has transported Persephone into the Underworld to hide her for her own good. Now she and Hades must fight their growing attraction to each other.

Seeing as this is an erotic romance, they don’t fight very hard. They soon become lovers and it builds into a more romantic relationship. Persephone is very much not a victim in this story. While she is outclassed power-wise, she has strengths of her own and is quick to give her opinion to Hades. Even though he’s quite blustery, he doesn’t scare her or intimidate her.  She has interest in everything the Underworld has to offer, and doesn’t shy away from the uglier aspects of the kingdom. Hades appreciates Persephone’s strong personality, as most people are frightened of him. And when they decide to have sex, it’s Persephone that instigates the physical relationship.

There were parts of this story that were very amusing. Hades had several funny lines, while Persephone was more of a straight (wo)man.

She beamed as she pushed back her chair and stood. “You’re welcome. Is there anything else I can do for you?”

He was fairly certain that “fellatio” was not the answer she was looking for.

I liked that this was a very lighthearted and modern flavored romance between the two gods. The way their powers and immortality worked was not explained much, nor the time frame. Both characters spoke with very modern slang and the clothing and settings were modern at times. It was difficult for me to parse the setting, and after a bit I gave up and just enjoyed the ride.

There was one sour note for me that was brought up in the story – Persephone as Demeter’s  (adopted) daughter. Demeter is also Hades’s sister. This makes Hades the love interest and uncle both. While the characters bring this up repeatedly in the beginning and the reader is reminded there is no blood relation between the two or a prior familial relationship,  it made me uncomfortable each time it was brought up. I couldn’t help but think that if this was a contemporary romance, we’d be venturing into Jerry Springer territory.

Overall,  a nice, fun, sexy brief read with only one false step. B for me.

All best,

January

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January Janes

January likes a little bit of everything. She's partial to unique paranormals, erotic romances, contemporary, and YA. She has a fondness for novellas and trying self-published works, though more of those are misses than hits. She still refuses to read anything that smells like literary fiction. January also changes this bio on a regular basis depending on her reading mood.

13 Comments

  1. LG
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 12:15:14

    Was Hades’ familial relationship to Demeter at all important to the story? Just wondering why the author would bring even the possibility of squick into the story if it wasn’t absolutely necessary. Otherwise…hmm, I’m not as much of a fan of erotic romance, but I might want to add this to my wishlist anyway, just because it’s based on the Persephone myth.

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  2. Bets Davies
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 12:20:56

    Will like the modern take. A little miffed that there is no mention of her being hunted down or tempted to eat pomagranate seeds. I certainly hope that Demeter is out to kick Hades ass and destroy the seasons during this sojourn, since I believe retellings are only fun if all elements are included in one way or another, but given a twist. A modern one. I suggest Beastly–the movie. NOT the book. As for the uncle the thing–piffle! Who cares they aren’t blood relatives. Greek Gods got it on with blood relatives and mortals while disguised as swans. If the twisted is there, don’t fight it.

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  3. Alex
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 14:04:27

    I don’t really read romance books that much anymore – at least not het ones. I read m/m but this review makes me want to buy this book.

    Damn you for sucking me back into the genre.

    “He was fairly certain that “fellatio” was not the answer she was looking for.”
    Sounds very much like my male protagonist in the story I’m writing. I love a guy with this line of thinking. The difference is that Hades was smart enough to keep his mouth shut. My protag just says crap like this aloud.

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  4. Las
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 14:23:54

    Just finished this, and I liked it as well. I’m a big fan of retellings of myths and fairy tales. I wasn’t squicked by the uncle/niece thing, for the reasons Bets Davies stated.

    My problem with this one was some of the dialogue and prose, especially in the first half of the story. It was trying too hard to be zany and funny…reminded me a lot of Mary Janice Davidson, which I don’t consider a good thing.

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  5. DA_January
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 14:47:16

    @LG: Hades’s relationship with Demeter is mentioned in that she is his sister and they are not close. I did not feel like the familial focus between the two brought anything to the story, and thus, wondered why it was brought up.

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  6. DA_January
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 14:49:35

    @Bets Davies: Pomegranites factor into the story later, if I recall. Demeter is not much of an entity in the story.

    I personally did not care for the quasi-incest reminder. It does not have as much to do with blood inasmuch as the inappropriateness of that relationship in a modern relationship. My personal opinion, and it might be fine for other readers.

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  7. DA_January
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 14:51:32

    @Alex: Of the two protagonists, I felt as if Hades was the more relatable one. He sounded very much like a regular guy and I appreciated that.

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  8. DA_January
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 14:52:43

    @Las: I admit that it was jarring at times, because the dialogue felt modern, but the myth is not. I thought it was handled well despite this, though.

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  9. Las
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 15:01:25

    @DA_January: It’s not the modernness (is that a word?) that bothers me–that’s easy for me to ignore in a fantasy setting,–it’s the tone. I dislike it even in modern settings.

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  10. ursamater
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 15:43:26

    If anyone is interested in more Greek myths retold with a romantic spin, Roberta Gellis did a wonderful set of them, including one of the Persephone myth. “Dazzling Brightness” was the title of that one. You’d probably have to find it used in paperback though as she’s just starting to digitize her backlist (so far, only the Roselynde series–at Ellora’s Cave–as far as I know anyway.)

    Also, I haven’t yet read this one, but I’ve enjoyed other of Alisha Rae’s stories! “Glutton for Pleasure” is a favorite reread of mine.

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  11. cleo
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 11:20:19

    I saw this somewhere on the web and was intrigued (oh – I think I checked out Rai’s website after being impressed with her comments on a DA thread) – thanks for the review. I’m still intrigued.

    As for other modern takes on Greek myths, I love Gods Behaving Badly. Zeus and the rest of the crew are living in a crumbling flat in London, with their powers diminished. It starts slowly, but is lots of fun.

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  12. Angela
    Nov 17, 2011 @ 07:24:38

    I was intrigued by the review here, and picked up this book. I’m about 60% through right now, and the tone of the book just isn’t jiving with me. I can’t even lay a finger on what it is exactly, but I’m at turns bored and irritated – and when I’m not one of those two, I just feel meh about it.

    It almost feels as if everything’s been a bit watered down, I guess, to the point where the myth re-telling almost doesn’t matter.

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  13. What Jia’s Been Reading, Late November - Dear Author
    Dec 07, 2011 @ 18:08:57

    [...] I’d been reading nothing but YA and fantasy for a while, so I wanted a change. I remembered January reviewing this a couple weeks ago and decided to give it a try since I was in the mood for a quick read. I’m [...]

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