Radiant Darkness

Radiant Darkness

by Emily Whitman


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He smiles. "Hello."

It's a deep voice. I can feel it reverberate in my chest and echo all the way down to my toes.

I know I should leave, but I don't want to. I want to keep my senses like this forever. I'm all eye, all ear, all skin.

Persephone lives in the most gorgeous place in the world. But her mother's a goddess, as overprotective as she is powerful. Paradise has become a trap. Just when Persephone feels there's no chance of escaping the life that's been planned for her, a mysterious stranger arrives. A stranger who promises something more—something dangerous and exciting—something that spurs Persephone to make a daring choice. A choice that could destroy all she's come to love, even the earth itself.

In a land where a singing river can make you forget your very name, Persephone is forced to discover who—and what—she really is.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061724497
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/28/2009
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile: HL670L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Emily Whitman's first novel, Radiant Darkness, was praised for its "originality and flair" by BCCB and was a #1 IndieBound Pick. The author lives with her family in Portland, Oregon.

What People are Saying About This

Eloisa James

“A terrific story of a girl on the edge of womanhood, caught between a mother who offers no reverence and a boy who offers worship.”

Customer Reviews

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Radiant Darkness 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 41 reviews.
Elise_T More than 1 year ago
Whitman's debut novel is a fantastic take on the Greek myth of Persephone and Hades. Most versions of this tale follow the belief that the young goddess of springtime, Persephone, was kidnapped by Hades, god of the Underworld and the dead. However Whitman brings to light another twist on the tale. In Radiant Darkness Persephone falls for the darkly handsome Hades and chooses to make a life with him in his land of the dead. Whitman has done her research here and it's obvious in the tightly woven tale and the believability of her characters. This novel is intoxicating in its storytelling and imagery. I can hardly wait for Emily Whitman's next novel!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was sooooooo good i love hades
RebeccaNaomi More than 1 year ago
This is not the first time that I have read this book. It is the second. And the first time I read this book I will admit to believing that it had no faults. I read it and only saw it for the surface value while at the same time somehow able to add elements that the book never even touched. So I can honestly say that while I still really like this book I am not looking at it with rose colored glasses anymore. The book is a retelling of Hades and Persephone and what could have happened it Persephone had chosen to go with Hades to the Underworld, leaving her mother forever. Persephone does not know what she is goddess of and despite the fact that she is indeed a goddess she does not believe that she possesses any of the power that Hades sees in her. It is not love at first sight. In fact Persephone actually runs away the first time she sees Hades and does not learn his name until after many meetings together in the vale that is not supposed to hold males at all. It is a beautiful prison made by her mother Demeter because Demeter does not want to admit that Persephone is no longer a child. I don't actually know how old she is either but I think I like it better that way. Slowly Persephone finds herself in love with Hades but I don't really get that feeling from Hades. From what is revealed at the end of the book I am inclined to think that Hades cares for Persephone but he is not as deeply lost to the love bug as Persephone but he seems to be getting there. I felt that the story did not show enough interaction between Persephone and Hades and it was really more of a coming of age book than a love story. It shows Persephone as she matures from a naive, innocent girl to a more worldly woman who just wants freedom but is constantly undermined by her mother. It also shows an interesting mother-daughter dynamic with Persephone completely believing that her mother does not love her. I really like most of the characters that I read about. Even the characters that were given less personality than others. The only person that I can truthfully say that I finished the book still disliking was Melita. In the beginning I think that she is a great friend for Persephone and a good way to find out more about mortal life. Yet this is all thrown out the window when the uses her friendship with Persephone as leverage to get what she wants. Right there she lost all of my respect and I was thrown into a land of disgust and anger at her. I most certainly did not feel this the first time around. I probably will not be reading this book for a third time.
BooksWithBite More than 1 year ago
I must say that I adored this book much more than I thought I would! I had no idea that it is about Hades and Persephone. I adored the storyline and the main character Persephone. It is so different than other books I've read. It is much more Greeky. First off, I love that the story is told from Persephone point of view. I liked seeing things from her view than from the normal Hades point of view. I loved how the Ms.Whitman wrote the main character Persephone, so differently that what I've read before. Here she is, locked up from the world, hidden by her mother, talked down too like a child. Persephone yearned for a peace, a freedom she never thought she see. I like that Hades didn't just grab her. They had a secret love. He waited for her, asked for her choosing. He is a gentlemen. As the story line begins to unfold, the reader sees the destruction of earth but also Persephone seeing things differently. She knew what her mother was doing and wanted to settled things once and for all. I adored how this story is really modernized but stays full of Greek Gods and Goddesses. Ms. Whitman keep the essence of a classic tale only making slight changes in it. I loved this book! It really capture me in a way I didn't think it would. If you love Greek Gods and Goddesses, tales of Persephone and Hades, read this book. It is an intensely fast read that you can not get enough of. I loved the writing style and adored the characters!
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Have you heard the story of Persephone, daughter of the goddess Demeter? She was kidnapped by Hades and forced to live in the underworld as his queen. But that's not the real story - and Persephone is going to set the record straight.

Demeter is strict - so much so that she keeps Persephone sheltered in a vale. Demeter doesn't seem to notice that Persephone is not a little girl anymore. And she never allows any men to visit. So when Hades finds his way into the vale, Persephone is intrigued.

The two begin secret meetings and soon a forbidden relationship forms. When Hades asks Persephone to join him in the underworld, she can't wait to escape. Little does she know that her small decision will have a large effect on Earth.

RADIANT DARKNESS is a fabulous retelling of the myth of Hades and Persephone. The story has it all - a strict mom, a rebellious daughter, forbidden romance, sacrifice, and heartbreak!

Author Emily Whitman does a great job turning the familiar story on its head and adding new layers. Her writing is full of vivid details and her descriptions of the underworld and the vale were pure magic. Persephone is believable and readers will find her relatable, despite her mythical background. I loved that she starts as just a normal girl, who's even a little klutzy! Her transformation throughout is beautifully written, and I was cheering for Persephone along her journey.

Readers are sure to be enchanted by this thrilling debut!
DJLibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Retellings have always fascinated me, especially in the way of myths since so many of them seem to be told within so few pages. The myth of Persephone and Hades is rather popular, especially with the number of YA books that have pulled inspiration from their story. However, this is the first actual retelling I have read, and I have to say, it's good for readers to hear Persephone's voice. Most readers will know their story as Persephone being dragged down against her will into the Underworld by Hades in order to become his queen. Not so in this case. Emily Whitman offers a different type of story in which the young spring goddess was stifled by her mother's constant sheltering. I really enjoyed this rendition of Persephone and how strong she became by the end of the story. It was troubling how she could not find her voice first with her overbearing mother, Demeter, and then with her (lovingly) possessive husband, Hades. Both of them felt they knew what was best for Persephone, though I have to say Demeter's overprotectiveness was far more trying than Hades' concern about her being taken from him.Speaking of the god of the Underworld, I really wanted to see more of him in this story since the myth was originally called "Hades and Persephone." While I was a bit disappointed by this, I realize that this is Persephone's story, so her growth and development must be the focal point.Overall, Radiant Darkness was an enjoyable retelling of a favorite myth that definitely puts the original story into a matter of perspective. Readers who enjoy Greek mythology should definitely add this one to their reading pile.
soominb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Almost everyone knows about Hades and Persephone. It haven't really talked about Persephone's emotions and actions and it seemed that they didn't really like each other. However, this book shows intense emotions of Persephone. In this book, Persephone doesn't resist to go to the Underworld with Hades, she actually accepts it obediently. People who like myths, family relationships, romance would enjoy this book.
ericajsc on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
With all the paranormal books, all the romances with the mysterious bad boy who steals the innocent girl¿s heart, I think I was expecting this to be similar. I mean, it¿s Hades himself taking Persephone as his queen. How much more bad boy can you get? But I was pleasantly surprised to find that this wasn¿t really about the romance between Hades and Persephone and how the story we hear in myths is wrong. Well, it is, but the romance part itself is not really the focus. Instead this is a story of Persephone discovering who she is and finding her voice.To be honest, the romance left much to be desired. Everything is circumspect about their relationship. That¿s fine in some respects (I¿m not saying I need to know about everything in detail), but even the more chaste romantic developments ¿ first words, first touch, first kiss ¿ didn¿t make much of an impression on me. I found myself just accepting that she liked him and moving on. In some books I would have a problem with that, but I didn¿t take issue with it here.Once Persephone is with Hades the underworld, it¿s not exactly as she imagined it. Though she¿s no longer under the control of her mother, who treated her like a child and wouldn¿t acknowledge she was growing up, there¿s just not much for her to do. This is the point where she begins to grow. She gets to decide what she enjoys, the things that are important to her. When word of devastation on earth reaches her, she questions it, but she doesn¿t really try to do much about it. She is fairly passive in her interactions with Hades on the matter, and while this might bother some readers, I think it¿s realistic for her character. She slowly builds into a stronger person as she becomes aware of who she is and who she wants to be. Once she finds something that is truly important to her, that¿s when she becomes vocal and fights for her way.In some ways this story seems to be more about the strained mother-daughter relationship between Demeter and Persephone than it is about the marriage between Hades and Persephone. I think that works in the sense that there is probably more familiarity with parental struggles than marriage among the target audience for YA. I had a slight issue with the way the resolution was presented in that it seemed a bit didactic, but there is truth in that storyline that is probably important to tell.I think anyone familiar with the story of Persephone will appreciate the way Whitman basically turned that story on its head. Instead of a victim, we get to see Persephone as someone with a choice, and it is the strength she discovers as a result of those choices that make the story worth reading.
stephxsu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Teenage goddess Persephone lives in the loveliest vale created especially for her by her mother, Demeter, to protect her from the influences of men. But Persephone is not happy in her own little heaven. Demeter is belittling and babying, never allowing Persephone to attend any functions of mortal worship, always buying her toys that Persephone had loved as a child but now find childish.One day, a dark and alluring stranger appears in the vale with his chariot. Persephone is imperceptibly drawn to this stranger, and even when he turns out to be Hades, powerful and feared king of the Underworld, she barely hesitates at his offer to be queen by his side for eternity. In Hades' Underworld Persephone assumes her queenly duties but also finds delight in her garden and observing the mortals. Her husband is not perfect, but she is happy.But all is not right in the world. Demeter, grief-stricken and determined to get her daughter back in her "safety," ravages the world until Persephone cannot deny the fact that her mother is destroying the earth to get her back. Persephone must make a choice: will she remain in the Underworld where she is successful and happy, or will she right the wrongs that her leaving has created by returning to her mother?RADIANT DARKNESS is like a lot of Greek myths and fairy tales: fascinating although perhaps not brilliantly written. The world where Persephone and her fellow gods, goddesses, and shades reside is alluring and inviting: descriptions of lush valley life and the hustle and bustle of a busy Underworld will make you, like me, long for somewhere on earth that's just as beautiful. Persephone is a surprisingly versatile character, really just a teenage girl who's trying to gain independence from her overbearing mother. Her conflict with Demeter, one that comes naturally with the territory of adolescence, is something we can all relate to.However, I found RADIANT DARKNESS lacking in almost everything else. Besides for Persephone, none of the other characters--who were all fascinating characters that I would have loved to know more about--were solidly defined for me.It's not a particularly brilliant written story--will probably appeal more to middle school mythology fans--but RADIANT DARKNESS still has its charm and its strength in its protagonist.
Senfaye on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Title: Radiant Darkness Author: Emily Whitman Publisher: Harper Teen Number Of Pages: 270 Publication Date: April 28th 2009Summary: He smiles. "Hello."It's a deep voice. I can feel it reverberate in my chest and echo all the way down to my toes.I know I should leave, but I don't want to. I want to keep my senses like this forever. I'm all eye, all ear, all skin.Persephone lives in the most gorgeous place in the world. But her mother's a goddess, as overprotective as she is powerful. Paradise has become a trap. Just when Persephone feels there's no chance of escaping the life that's been planned for her, a mysterious stranger arrives. A stranger who promises something more¿something dangerous and exciting¿something that spurs Persephone to make a daring choice. A choice that could destroy all she's come to love, even the earth itself.In a land where a singing river can make you forget your very name, Persephone is forced to discover who¿and what¿she really is.Review: Radiant Darkness is such a great debut novel! Emily Whitman takes you into another world, and I found myself having a hard time putting it down. It only took me one night to read Radiant Darkness and I thought it was amazing! Although I thought that the relationship between Persephone and Hades wasn¿t developed enough. But if you over look that minor problem I would recommend you read this. Persephone is such a strong, kind heroine and I really think if she was a real person we would be good friends. I have always loved Greek Mythology and Radiant Darkness was a great Greek Mythology novel! I really hope Emily Whitman writes another Greek myth novel.I recommend this book if you like Greek mythology, romance, and YA novels.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so well written!! A great read for teens!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A short enjoyable read with linear plot, though the rest of the characters lack depth or growth other than Persephone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hello! It is me, persephone. I just want to thank emily for creating this book. Thank you! Hades also wanted to say thank you but he wont't do it in person so i am saying thanks for him. Good bye!
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Megan53 More than 1 year ago
I have to say, I had higher hopes for this book. I keeped waiting for something really interesting to happen, but it really didn't. Oveall I like this book because it includes it's own vesion of the greek mythology mith. It's a very simple read, so buy it if you like a book that doesn't have a lot going on, which makes it very easy to follow.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a really good book, it was just a kinda quick, cute, simple read. I would recommend this book in between finding another series.
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I reviewed this book after 100 pages and said it was aweful. After finishing the book i thought it was only fair to say i really enjoyed the last part of the book. I guess its one of those books you just need to keep reading to get to the good part. Hope this review was helpful.
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