Seven Seeds of Summer

Seven Seeds of Summer

This review is brought to you as part of the Virtual Book Tour for Seven Seeds of Summer, hosted by Bewitching Book Tours.

Seven Seeds of Summer was first published in 2014 and is the debut novel of Chantal Gadoury. It is a paranormal romance about an ordinary girl who finds herself drawn to an ancient god. The story draws its inspiration from Greek Mythology, particularly the legend of Hades and Persephone.

Nineteen year old Summer has been brought up loving Greek Mythology but while her parents favour tales about the more socially acceptable gods, Summer has always been drawn to stories about Hades, Lord of the Underworld. Her obsession manifests itself through her art and she finds herself painting portrait after portrait of her dark god.

However, it is not long before a mysterious stranger appears in her life. Claiming to be Hades, he stalks her relentlessly, telling her that she must come with him voluntarily or after a month she will have no choice. Although Summer is frightened by the man, she also finds herself oddly captivated by him.

When her family is forced to relocate to Greece, Summer finds herself torn. Although Hades is intense, she is not sure that she wants him out of her life. Yet soon after she arrives in Athens tragedy strikes and she is forced into her dark lord’s care. Being with Hades is not without its appeal for Summer but it carries a price that she is not certain she wants to pay. Can she really stand to be the god’s lover when it means spending a lifetime in his domain?

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Seven Seeds of Summer is a unique paranormal romance that certainly stands out amongst the sea of Twilight clones that still seem to choke this genre. I have always been a fan of Greek Mythology and it was interesting to read a novel with such an unconventional love interest. Despite knowing the legend of Persephone, I had never really considered Hades to be an especially romantic character and this story certainly caused me to consider him in a new light.

However, this story does not really feel as though it was written with people unfamiliar with Greek Mythology in mind. For a full appreciation of this work, you might want to first do a little background reading – particularly concerning Hades, Persephone, Hecate, Demeter, Charon and Thanatos. All of these character appear within the story with little explanation offered as to who they are and so if you don’t already know the myths concerning them you made quickly find yourself a little lost.

The story itself is quite slow moving in places but is generally well written and contains very few grammatical errors. The plot is actually fairly intriguing, combining in elements of a mystery story with regards to what exactly happened to Persephone to remove her from Hades’s side. The solution to this is satisfying and leads to a rather tense climax which I will not spoil for you here. The story also incorporates elements of a Greek Tragedy through themes of loss, sacrifice and confrontation with the personification of death, combining to make the story rather engrossing (I read the entire story in only two sittings).

My primary problem with the novel lies purely within its characters. For a large part of the book, the story only focuses on two players – Summer and Hades – as the begin to get to know each other. While Summer’s attraction to the God is almost instant, it came across as being creepy rather than sweet. Sure, Hades’s was fully capable of doing nice things for her but, at the end of the day, she was still his prisoner. Remember, he told her that she was his. He never asked her if that was that she wanted; he just treated her as an object. Even at times when it seemed as though Summer had a choice in the matter, she usually went along with what Hades wanted because the alternatives were even less desirable. This is not love. This is Stockholm Syndrome.

No matter how Summer tried to justify it, I just could not see any appeal in their relationship. The way that her Hades fixation persisted was unsettling and it is just made her come across as a weak lead. Throughout the story, she did very little for herself and whenever she was in any kind of danger she would be rescued by Hades. While I appreciate that she is just a human while he is an all-powerful god, it would still have been nice if she had had the courage to stand up to him in the story, rather than endlessly obsessing over him.

Hades, as he was portrayed in this novel, was also a fairly inconsistent character and often seemed to do one thing before suddenly changing his mind. The Hades that I know from legends always came across to me as being somewhat cold, calculating and highly intelligent – a man that was not a villain and could be reasoned with but would still usually want something back in return. The Hades of this story did not have much of a personality beyond his love for Persephone, which made him seem nowhere near as powerful or threatening as he deserved to be.

Beyond these two characters, most of the others were largely unimportant. Although Summer’s mother had some character to her, she is absent for most of the story. The other characters that Summer meets while she is Hades’s domain – Thanatos, Hecate, Hermes – also don’t really feature enough in the story for the reader to get a good feel for their personality. I have never reviewed a book with such a small character list and it made the novel feel rather light. I suppose that it might have worked better if Summer and Hades formed a stronger pair of leads but in the absence of this base the supporting cast felt as though they were somewhat lacking in depth.

The novel is a difficult one to sum up. Although the theme of the book is fresh and the story was well written, it fell down for me in terms of characterisation and the creepy connotations of Summer’s situation. If you are a fan of Greek Mythology, or are looking for a paranormal romance that’s a little different, this book is probably worth a look but I feel that it’s unlikely to appeal to many readers outside of this demographic.

Seven Seeds of Summer can be purchased as a Paperback and eBook on Amazon.co.uk

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© Kim Dyer and Arkham Reviews, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kim Dyer and Arkham Reviews with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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