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The Dark Wife, by Sarah Diemer

Reviewed by Kaatryn MacMorgan-Douglas

[Snip] It is a retelling of the Persephone in the Underworld myth, where Hades is a woman, and Zeus is an asshole, and the relationship between Persephone and Hades is consensual and yes, totally same-sex…and before my fellow Hellenic polytheists get offended at that, none of Zeus’ behavior is outside of the body of myth, and the book manages to convey that even if Zeus is over the top as a bad guy, it might be because the stories you’ve heard about Zeus are biased in his favor, and this one is biased against him…since part of the story does revolve around manipulating people with the myths you get them to tell, the back of your mind does remind you that anything that seems too perfect, or too evil, might be because Persephone is telling the tale with her own need for a little propaganda.

The underworld, Zeus, and the rest are not tainted by Christianity. Often in such “lesbian revisionist retellings,” the author fails to resist the temptation to poke at Christianity, and a lesser author than Sarah Diemer would’ve made a Zeus that looked like Christianity’s deity, and an Underworld that looks like Hell. Again, Zeus’ behavior is right in-line with the mythos, and the underworld, where a lot of the dead just sort of hang there, with nothing to do but remember, is a completely Hellenic view, not a Christian one.

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