BRIDE OF DEATH by Celina Summers
Bride of Death by Celina Summers
Mythos Series, Book 1
Aspen Mountain Press
Reviewed by Patrice F.
Hades, god of death and the underworld is pierced by Eros’s arrow and falls in love with the young goddess of springtime, Persephone, daughter of Demeter. He decides he must have her for his bride yet is reluctant to approach her. So he addresses the matter to Zeus who suggests that Hades seize the maiden and woos her in his realm. If Persephone agrees to marry him then Zeus will acknowledge the union.
Although the young goddess comes to love her dark husband and his world, her mother is inconsolable. Demeter demands the return of her child, promising that nothing will grow on the earth and that all mortals will perish until Persephone is brought back to her.
The King and Queen of the Underworld are placed on trial in a fight to keep their marriage. Will their love survive? Or will Demeter and the judgment of Zeus tear them apart forever?
Although Bride of Death features the god of death, Hades, Celina Summers breathes new life into an ancient classic by ridding it of all the old clichés, dusty outdated concepts and moldy predictability. The retelling of this tale offers a different perspective suited to our time that is refreshing and invigorating. Symbolism and metaphor are greatly at work here, as well as a load of social commentary. There’s the concept of the young bride bringing love, hope and joy to the older established and world-weary groom. The resentment, possessiveness and contempt for men displayed by Demeter represent the independent career mother who’s raised a child alone without a father figure, and her oppressive desire to regain control and keep the status quo.
Zeus’ interference is unwelcome but he asserts his parental position when his daughter challenges his authority. He deals her a mild yet effective blow to teach her an important lesson. Persephone’s growth from her marriage to Hades is illuminating despite the ‘dark prison’ of her surroundings. Indeed, she flourishes and blossoms under Hades’ love, guidance and desire to please and accept her as an equal. In becoming a woman and mistress of her own domain, she surpasses her mother in maturity through self-discovery and assertion.
Hades is often been painted the villain and rapist, yet Ms. Summers demonstrates the union between the god of death and the goddess of springtime as mutual connection. I was enthralled by how he carefully wins Persephone and his consideration of her feelings. He seduces her, of course, yet allows her free rein to choose him, by going as far to reveal he will release if that is her wish no matter how painful it is to him. The loss would be detrimental to him on so many levels, and Persephone understands the joy she brings him and her feminine power. She is not his victim and takes an active role in her new position. I applaud Ms. Summers for empowering the maiden goddess through her transformation to womanhood; it resonates with hope in our reality.
I’m more than satisfied with the author’s delivery of this work. It was a pleasure and joy to revisit a myth told with the mastery of a scholar who knows what she’s about while also displaying love, knowledge and enthusiasm for her subject. The writing was picturesque, elegant and original with the right balance of historical detail and visual beauty. Persephone and Hades’ sexual tension builds and explodes into full on passion that’s exuberant and erotic. This mythological series shakes the mildew off pages and more than deserves to be recommended to an audience eager for Ms. Summers’ efforts. Bride of Death is a blast from the past that’s found a solid place in our timeline through the heart and imagination of an author with the skills to share it.