Cover Image: Her Dark Wings

Her Dark Wings

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Member Reviews

I love Persephone and Hades retellings so I was very excited to read this one. Unfortunately, this was barely a Persephone and Hades story. This was very low on the romance and retelling aspect, and instead very high on the angst and introspection, with memories sprinkled in. Backstory for the plot, the main character had a best friend and a boyfriend who both dumped her and got together, leaving her lonely and lost before the book started. Fast-forward to the actual book, the main character is angsty and sad, reflecting on her past relationships and what went wrong when she sees something she should not and gets taken to the underworld where she is also very angst and sad. I was bored and underwhelmed while reading the book, hoping for a cool underworld romance with the main character and the illusive god but instead he barely showed up and calling this a romance is pushing it. This was not for me and I don't recommend it. To be fair, I am sure others will love the gloomy atmosphere and tone of the book- I am just not the person for this.

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Her Dark Wings

I loved the atmosphere. That’s where this story really shines and it was skillfully done. As a Greek Mythology retelling it is very unique and had some interesting takes.

However I had a hard time connecting with the characters and as a story about character development it was a little hard to get into.

Content: f-words, death, torture

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I love greek mythology retellings so I was excited for the chance to read Melinda Salisbury’s take on the story of Hades and Persephone. I think there were parts of this story that were very intriguing but others that lacked a bit for me.

The beginning half of the book caught my attention very quickly. I loved the mystery of the “who done it” when it came to Bree’s death and how that lead Corey into seeing Hades and the underworld for the fist time.

I also really enjoyed the Furies and the portrayal of their relationship with Corey. I felt like it added a twist on this story that you don’t see in a lot of other retellings. The Furies were dark and twisted but I felt myself almost rooting for Corey and Alecto’s friendship through out the book.

Where I felt the story lacking was when it came to Corey and Hades relationship (if you can call it that at all). For a Hades and Persephone retelling there wasn’t a lot of development between these two characters. I feel like they had maybe four scenes together in the whole book. This story was definitely more centralized around Corey’s relationships with the Furies and Bree which was interesting but then it felt like Hades was thrown in at the last second.

Also I almost wish there was more of a focus on Bree and Corey’s relationship through out the story. Maybe a duo POV. Because at the end I found this the part of the story I wanted closure on the most.

Overall I did really enjoy the characters and the writing style and I am excited to read more from the author in the future!

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Great premise. Very underwhelming execution. Would try more from this author before writing them off as not for me.

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What attracted me to this book was mainly the cover and maybe the promise of a Persephone and Hades inspired retelling.
I wasn’t really sure how I would like this book in the beginning but after a slow start it began to pick up steam and ended up becoming a solid Greek Mythology inspired story.
I really enjoyed the main character’s Corey story from scorned friend to empowered woman learning a way of coming into her own power and forgiveness. I do wish this book was a tad longer to give it a more rounded vibe but overall i liked this book. 3.5 stars
Thanks to the folks at NetGalley for a copy of this book. My review is a honest reflection of my feelings towards this book.

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I received an eARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to them and the publisher.

Alrighty, I’m going to start this review off with everything that I liked about this book.

For one, it’s a Hades/Persephone retelling. And like many people, I absolutely love Hades/Persephone retellings.

The thing that I loved the most about this is that “Persephone” is given more agency.

Corey (a fun nod to “Kore”, Persephone’s name before it became Persephone) lives with her dad and step mom. She’s got a garden in their backyard and is happy with their life on the island. She’s got on former best friend and her ex-boyfriend. The three of them used to be super close until they decided to cut her out of the picture.

Loosing your boyfriend and best friend at the same time to each other sounds so incredibly painful. And I felt so bad for Corey. Add in the fact that it’s a small town and everyone knows everyone and everyone’s business? That just amplifies how much it has to hurt. There’s nowhere to hide. 

I really liked the writing. There were times where it almost had a sort of lyrical quality to it. And I got wrapped up in the descriptions of things and events.

I loved the voice of Corey and the other characters she met along the way. However her voice was the strongest. Everyone, even Hades, sort of paled on the page in comparison. Except for the Furies. At least Alecto. She was every bit as vibrant.

Now, this leads me to what I didn’t like about this book.

Alecto is one of the Furies and that’s explained in the book pretty well without feeling like an info dump. But there is a lot of stuff that isn’t. There are words that aren’t given an explanation and you just have to use context to be able to figure out what they mean. And it’s something that happens frequently in the first half of the book. The events in the beginning sort of rely on the reader having a decent understand of ancient Green funerary customs. And then later on in the story, this is the same. You need to really know a lot and it threw me and pulled me out of the story. I ran into a word and whatever was going on and had to stop, figure it out, and then keep going. By then I was pulled out a little.

The other thing that really bugged me was the worldbuilding of the island. The people who live here keep to the old Greek ways of doing things. They learn about the gods in school, do homework on them. They see things in the woods. Their entire lives are shaped by the culture and the gods. There’s a temple, just all manner of things. And the island is just close to “the mainland”. I like knowing where the characters are in a story. And I didn’t get that.

It was just the island and the mainland. I had a better idea of where she was when Corey was in the Underworld that I did when she was back on her island. It’s also never said why they follow these old ways so much. Just a little line could have done a lot to explain it. I was questioning it the entire time. Just why are they doing this? Why are they like this?

When it comes to character growth, I think Corey had a good amount of it. She goes from being absolutely heartbroken over this boy and her ex best friend to fine. And she comes into her own power. She learns to speak up to people instead of being quiet.

There were a lot of things I loved, especially the way Corey just stopped caring about herself and doing things while in the depression of her losses. She stopped leaving her room. Kept the light off. Left her plates in her room and she smelled.

Do y’all know how rare it is in fiction for a girl to stink and just be allowed to?

It wasn’t that sort of post workout stink of sweat. It was that stale smell of body when you haven’t moved. Haven’t seen the sun or a bar of soap. And it fit so well with what was going on. That honestly might be one of my favorite things about it.

All in all, it gets a 4/5 from me. There were some things I would have liked to see expanded on. But it was still a good story about a girl coming into her own and dealing with her heartache and pain and rage. I really recommend it. Just be prepared to need to look some stuff up as you go.

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4.5 stars.

This was a mix of intriguing and fun as I never knew where the book was precisely going. There are a lot of different components to this plot that feels fresh. I loved the gardening and how it captures both female rage and first loves. I love the island with their drugged water and proximity to the underworld. If you like loose YA retellings of mythology I would give this one a try.

Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

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I think its a very bold statement to call this a retelling of Persephone and Hades because it certainly did not feel it… The world was just so weirdly built, like I was so confused the entire time about what exactly was happening. It was modern but some how not??? And the MC was so blah. I only finished reading it bc it was such a quick read.

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Persephone and Hades retelling!

17yo Corey discovers that her boyfriend is cheating on her with her best friend Bree. This devastates her and she feels like they’ve been laughing at her behind her back the whole time. Corey is so hurt and angry that she wishes Bree would die and soon after, Bree drowns. Now Corey regrets her wish and wants Bree and their friendship back. When Corey thinks she sees Bree and chases after her, she falls into the Underworld and her life is turned inside out.

Likes/dislikes: I didn’t like Ali, the boyfriend, because of his selfishness. The character development is well done. Fantastic world building.
Mature Content: PG-13 for implied sex and underage drinking.
Language: R for 25 swears and 21 f-words.
Violence: PG for hitting.
Ethnicity: falls to white.

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This was so good. I had never thought or seen this twist before, so I was totally here for it. I really like it. It kept me entertained and I thought the writing was good. Definitely I would read more from Melinda Salisbury. 4 out of 5 stars.
I just reviewed Her Dark Wings by Melinda Salisbury. #HerDarkWings #NetGalley
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Do you think the author ever considered a romance with a fury instead? That might have been cool and had to be better than the almost non-existent thing with Hades.

This missed the mark for me and felt like not much happened overall. So many things in the book are described as dull, gray, barren, lifeless, and that's kind of how I felt while reading.

I voluntarily read and reviewed this book. All opinions are my own. Thank you to Delacorte Press and NetGalley for the copy.

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Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC!

This was a beautifully written, but overall disappointing, book for me. Let me break it down by what I did and did not love.

Love: The writing style was beautiful and descriptive - I could see and feel and experience what Corey was describing. The emotion - similar to above, I really loved how much depth was given to the emotions and reactions. Hermes and the Oracle - loved them!

Did not love: The storyline, pacing, and length - this felt like a lot of really dramatic story for some very dramatic drama....is what Bree and Ali did awful? Yes. Worth all that happened....probably not. Plot (almost) holes and the (kinda) romance? This is pitched as a Persephone retelling and I see the VERY loose representation - but Demeter is never even mentioned, even though you can assume that's her mom if you know the lore; the love story between Persephone and Hades makes no sense as they barely spend any time together; and how on earth does the memory-leeching river only take some memories and not just make the whole town zombies?

Overall - beautiful writing and a really great plot and foundation, but the execution was really lacking for me.

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Thank you to NetGalley, Random House Children's, Delacorte Press, and Melinda Salisbury for the opportunity to read Her Dark Wings in exchange for an honest review.

On their isolated island, life seems simple. Corey lives a carefree life with her best friend Bree at her side. It has always been the two of them, but when Corey sees Bree kissing someone she shouldn't be, the betrayal brings Corey to wish her friend dead. To Corey's surprise, Bree drowns that very night.

With a glimpse of her friend entering the underworld, Corey finds herself taken from her island home to a world she doesn't expect. She searches for Bree while learning about the power she herself possesses to grow things. But how can that be? The furies goad Corey into succumbing to the dark aspects her power brings, causing Corey to rethink her own desires.

Speaking of desire, when Corey meets the lord of the Underworld from the myths told to her in childhood, Hades is not what she expected. Corey has a lot of choices to make, and hopefully she will make the best ones.

An enjoyable retelling of the Persephone and Hades myth and how she possibly becomes the queen of the underworld. The lore in the novel includes Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone, the three furies that embody anger, jealousy, and revenge, easily manipulative to the darkness in Corey based on what she had previously experienced. The use of Greek mythology with just a hint of a modern twist made this novel feel both timeless and contemporary.

An excellent novel for lovers or Lore Olympus, Greek mythology, or the young adult genre in general.

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Contains spoilers

Corey and Bree were best friends, until Corey's boyfriend and Bree got together while Ali was still dating Corey. Now heartbroken from losing two important people in her life, Corey kisses a boy (Hades) and wishes Bree dead... and oops it actually happens. Corey spends the book battling between being happy her friend is dead and guilty that she was the one who wished it. Eventually she ends up in the Underworld with the Furies and learns her power of plant magic.

This book was a very very modern take on the Persephone and Hades myth. There were only slight similarities between the two. I thought the biggest issue was that Corey chose to go back to the Underworld on her own because she no longer felt like she fit in with the mortal realm. Eating the food of the Underworld wasn't an issue like it was in the original myth. As someone who loves Greek mythology, this threw me off quite a bit.

Thank you NetGalley and Random House Children's, Delacorte Press for the eArc!

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Her Dark Wings
by Melinda Salisbury
Fantasy YA Myth
NetGalley ARC
Pub Date Dec. 12, 2023
Random House
Ages: 14+

Corey and Bree were best of friends until the day Bree betrayed Corey, taking all Corey held dear in her teenage mind and heart away in one action. Worse, everyone on the small island knew how inseparable the two girls were, and they knew what Bree did to Corey, but then Bree died and now Corey is torn between hating Bree and mourning her.

Trying to escape her torn emotions, Corey finds herself on the hill, and out of impulse looks over her left shoulder and sees Bree's spirit leaving for the Underworld.

Not wanting to believe what she just saw, she finds herself face to face with a God, who tells her to forget. But she can't, and a flower leads her to the Underworld, where the Furies take her, and all her anger, under their wings.

First off, one of the blurbs I read, the one that got me interested in the book is a little misleading, so it wasn't as scary or action-filled as I thought. And the cover designer took a few words from the story to create a really good cover that attracts more attention than the story.

It was a slow read as Corey raged over Bree's betrayal, and while I can't blame her, I don't feel it was presented with enough emotion, it was boring, and written with monotone feelings. The backstory of the island and its people wasn't there. The mainland was mentioned but there was nothing to explain why the people there and those from the island were different. There was no explanation of their rituals or lifestyle. Things were tossed out of nowhere and the reader was supposed to know what was going on.

I did like the spin on the tale of Persephone, but it needed a lot, and I mean a lot more emotions from the characters and descriptions. What there were, were flat, as monotone as the character's emotions. It was boring and I did a lot of skimming because there were pages where it was mostly rambling over Corey's feelings and betrayal.

I would have given this one more star if there were more descriptions and explanations of who, what, why, and etc, along with more emotions and less rambling.

2 Stars

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3.25 Stars This was a very modern take on the Hades and Persephone myth and was very YA-friendly. I enjoyed the differences such as the furies being a main focus in the story, as not many flesh them out. Hermes played a bigger part in Her Dark Wings but not many more gods other than Hades. Other gods did have small parts but were more background and ones to move the story forward. The setting was a little hard to picture in the mortal world and the Underworld was more fleshed out. The betrayal of friends played a huge part in the story line so watch it if that can trigger.

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This one wasn’t for me and that’s okay!! Giving it 3 stars; maybe others will enjoy it more than me. It could have been the writing or maybe the others plotline fell short.

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Top 6 reasons to read this:

1. Persephone myth
2. Friendship
3. YA teen romance
4. Betrayal
5. How one deals with grief
6. Dark & vengeful

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HOUGHTS

Well, this was a book, I guess. If you're wanting a dark Hades and Persephone romance, this isn't it. If you're wanting much of anything, this isn't it. There have been few reads so bland for me in this, the year 2023. But bland is about the best I can offer here.


PROS
Plant Magic: Who doesn't love a bit of plant magic? In an underworld as dreary, monotonous, and gray as the one Melinda Salisbury builds, having a touch of plant magic to liven it up is nice. And though Corey discovers her plant magic in this setting, there are hints at it all along. She's an avid gardener, after all, with a flourishing garden in the mortal world even as the winter is descending. And her mother was renowned for her ability to grow any- and everything--so this magic is hereditary. It's got a history.

Not-So-Furious Furies: The furies get a bad rap. It's not really their fault that they've got a job to do, right? And while Salisbury doesn't paint these monstrous mythological beings in an altogether rosy light, there is definitely the benefit of the doubt thrown their way. They're humanized (as ironic as that might be for monsters who aren't human), and I appreciated that twist on the mythos.

Vibrancy: The underworld setting is particularly drab (as I will go into more below), but Corey and her plant magic really do liven it up, as I've said. Not only is the plant magic a touch of brightness in this dreary setting, but it is absolutely magical, too. The setting feels so drab that it is easy to forget what a truly otherworldly place Corey has landed herself in... until she's summoning dripping, golden pomegranates from the black soil itself. Her garden is glittering and golden, flashy and exhilarating.


CONS
Persephone: This girl comes from an island that wholeheartedly believes in mythology. They don't just know it. They live and breathe it. They are quite devout. But for a girl who grew up on the mythos... why doesn't she have questions about Persephone? I have questions about Persephone, a lot of them. Hades and Persephone is, after all, one of the best known of the Greek myths. But Persephone just doesn't exist in this world? I get the fact that the mythology and the reality might not necessarily match up, but I would expect the question to come up, anyway. But this girl, raised to be devout when it comes to the old gods, doesn't seem to know anything about Persephone. And that just doesn't make sense to me.

Wavery Setting: I've called it "dreary" and "gray" above, and that description holds true. That's about the only description that holds true. Because if you're looking for a sense of the underworld itself, you're not getting it here. There's a cave where Corey and the furies spend most of their time, and that's about it. There's no real sense of what anything looks like, how anything is laid out. Even the cave itself doesn't quite feel real. It's like living in a Plato-style allegory--you've got the shadows of a setting but not an actual setting. It's hard to get invested in invigorating a landscape when you didn't even get the sense of a landscape in the first place. It's all so wavery and unreal. It's hard to care.

Nonsensical Worldbuilding: This world doesn't make sense. As I've pointed out above, the actual underworld descriptions are both nondescript and nonexistent. And the mortal world doesn't make a lot of sense, either. Even if we put aside Corey's glaring gap in knowledge, why does this island actually believe in this stuff? Where is this island actually located? It felt kind of British in general, but why are the gods situated here instead of, I don't know, the Aegean Sea? It just makes no sense to me. There were choices made for no obvious reason, and no unconventional reason was given in the book, either. We were just expected to buy it, and I really didn't.


Rating

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
5/10
Fans of the splashy contemporary update to Greek mythology that Rick Riordan provides in The Lightning Thief will like this modern take on underworld living. Fans of Melissa Landers's Lumara will like the delicate magical balance to this island living.

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loved this romance and how the journey stated and ended. loved the friends and all of the trials that they went through on the journey. loved the cast and i can't wait t read more.

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