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A Touch of Darkness: Book Review

Updated: Jun 11, 2023

A *spicy* and modern retelling of Hades and Persephone full of night clubs, overprotective mothers, and closely-held-secrets.

A Touch of Darkness book.


Average Rating

3.65 stars on The Storygraph

My Rating

4 stars


Fiction, erotica, fantasy, romance






Graphic: sexual content, Moderate: sexual assault, sexual harassment, emotional abuse, (full list here).


Persephone is the Goddess of Spring by title only. The truth is, since she was a little girl, flowers have shriveled at her touch. After moving to New Athens, she hopes to lead an unassuming life disguised as a mortal journalist.

Hades, God of the Dead, has built a gambling empire in the mortal world and his favorite bets are rumored to be impossible.

After a chance encounter with Hades, Persephone finds herself in a contract with the God of the Dead and the terms are impossible: Persephone must create life in the Underworld or lose her freedom forever.

The bet does more than expose Persephone's failure as a goddess, however. As she struggles to sow the seeds of her freedom, love for the God of the Dead grows--and it's forbidden. (Source)

My Review

I have read Lore Olympus so I had a hard time paying attention to the descriptions of the characters and just imagined Rachel Smythe's brightly coloured characters in my head, while reading A Touch of Darkness. However, this didn't detract from the story at all.

The Tropes

I must say, I love me some forbidden romance. It is hands down one of my favourite tropes and when I figure out why you'll be the first to know.

There was also plenty of the darked-haired morally grey love interest that is Hades himself. I find the different depictions of Hades rather compelling. There are some similarities I've seen, but it's the creator/writer that highlights specific features according to their preference. Some Hades depictions are softer and less morally grey. Others depict him as even darker than he is in this book. I like that.

The Spice

Now, on a scale of 1-5 with 1 being a little spice, and 5 being a lot of spice, I'd put A Touch of Darkness at a 3. There was definitely spice, but it was a little bland and a little quick. In all honestly I expected a little more given the other reviews I've seen and recommendations, but the plot more than made up for the lack of spice.

The Plot

I've heard that Neon Gods - another Hades and Persephone retelling - has plenty of spice, but not a lot of plot. I'm glad that is not the case for A Touch of Darkness.

The characters have their own stories and their own obstacles they must overcome. You can clearly see this with Hades and Persephone as the story unfolds and they each affect and influence the other. Persephone gets Hades to change. He rules an entire realm and Persephone thinks he should be doing more with it. Hades gets Persephone to see what she's truly capable of, he gives her what she's always desired, but couldn't have. And Persephone finally steps into her full potential.

I was also happy to see that Persephone's mortal roommate, Lexa, wasn't just some boring side character. Things change in her life as well, it doesn't revolve around Persephone by any means.


Favourite Character

It's a tie between Persephone and Hermes.

Least Favourite Character

Adonis. Also Demeter, but I don't dislike her nearly as much as Adonis.

Favourite Line/Quote

​"They say Hades is protective of his realm, and while that is true, it isn't about power. He cares for his people, protects them, and he takes it personally if anyone is harmed. If you belong to him, he will tear the world apart to save you."


I didn't know this going in, but there is an entire other series of these books written from Hades perspective, and you know I am going to be reading those too (I've actually heard some people prefer Hades perspective over Persephone's).

Hades x Persephone Saga

  • Book 2 - A Touch of Ruin

  • Book 3 - A Touch of Malice

  • Book 4 - A Touch of Chaos

Hades Saga

  • Book 1 - A Game of Fate

  • Book 2 - A Game of Retribution

  • Book 3 - A Game of Gods

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