Dead Beautiful by Melanie Dugan: Review

dead beautifulPersephone is on her way to becoming a Level-1 goddess just like her mom Demeter, but is that what she really wants? A steady job? A reliable but boring boyfriend like Darryl, demi-god of home repairs? Persephone always felt out of place, living on Earth with her Mom, the nymphs, and humans while her Dad Zeus lived upstairs. An ordinary life doesn’t feel like enough for her, even though that’s what her Mom wants for her.

Her Mom has always had a lot on her mind, making sure things on Earth run smoothly and now with all the departments downsizing she’s busier than ever. Persephone doesn’t want to add to her problems but she just can’t seem to stay away from Hades. He’s not all that bad and, in fact, she might be falling in love with the guy.

Dead Beautiful by Melanie Dugan is an entertaining modern retelling of the Abduction of Persephone, only it’s not so much an abduction. Persephone is a teenager tired of hanging out with silly girls and not interested in boys her own age. Hades, the original bad boy, is sensitive and intriguing. He seems to be the answer to her restlessness and when he invites her into his realm she impulsively agrees. She doesn’t quite consider how her mother will take it. It isn’t pretty. Seriously, she should have left a note or something.

While Persephone exerts her own autonomy, she also misses her mother and the world above. She wants to have her cake and eat it too. I thought Dugan did a good job representing that struggle between mother and daughter. Persephone wants to be free of her mother’s expectations, yet she wants her approval. Demeter can’t let go of her own dreams for Persephone. She doesn’t approve of Hades as a husband for her daughter either.

Dead Beautiful is written as if it’s an interview of all the parties involved in Persephone’s disappearance: Persephone, Hades, Zeus, Demeter, and Persephone’s bff Cyane. They all give their own take on events, sometimes revealing things the others don’t know. Zeus is all, “Hey don’t blame me!” while Cyane isn’t quite the loyal friend she appears to be. The writing is quirky and funny. There are modern references here and there, which shows that the gods can see beyond the present time. The gods don’t play by our rules.

Dead Beautiful was a fun, quick read. You don’t need to know much about Greek gods and there’s always Google if you really need to know who is who.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for the review copy. To find more reviews of this book check out the schedule.


  1. I love books about Persephone, but I'm not sure of the format of this one. I don't really want to read a bunch of interviews, and the only characters I care about are Persephone and Hades.

  2. Mythology seems to be popular right now. I'm not sure this book is for me.

  3. This: "Darryl, demi-god of home repairs" ... is hilarious. Just sayin'.

    I think this would be a fun romp of a read, perfect for quick escape from reality. Thanks for being on the tour! I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.


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