Cover of Lore Olympus, featuring Hades in a city above Persephone riding a horse

About the Book

Title: Lore Olympus: Volume One (Lore Olympus Volumes #1)
Published: 2021

Cover Story: As Above, So Below
BFF Charm: Mixed Bag
Talky Talk: Modern Mythology
Arty Art: Dreamy
Bonus Factor: Gods and Goddesses
Anti-Bonus Factor: Sexual Assault
Relationship Status: Intrigued

Content Warning: This volume of Lore Olympus depicts sexual assault, gaslighting, sexism, and toxic relationships.

Cover Story: As Above, So Below

This image nicely depicts the differences between the Underworld and the Mortal Realm, and makes it very apparent that—at least in this volume—Hades and Persephone are miles apart. Perhaps not physically, but certainly in their respective “life situations.”

The Deal: 

The Greek gods are just as messy as you might expect: Hades is a lonely king, beset by traumatic nightmares of his youth. His brothers, Zeus and Poseidon, are a bossy man-child and a dumb frat boy, respectively. Artemis is in constant competition with her brother, Apollo, who is a narcissistic abuser. Aphrodite can’t stand that someone might be more beautiful than her, and she blackmails her son Eros into doing her dirty work.

And then there’s Persephone, who’s only recently moved to Mount Olympus from the Mortal Realm. She’s a naive young woman, thanks to the helicopter parenting of her mother Demeter, and far too trusting of people who would use her naivety for their own personal gain or for ill. But she knows there’s something different about Hades. Or, at least, she thinks there might be.

BFF Charm: Mixed Bag

Brown paper bag filled with various BFF charms

Persephone needs a Big Sister to watch out for her—in a far less obtuse way than Artemis does. Hades needs a BFF to confide in who will also be the voice of reason (and give him the occasional hug). Eros needs a friend who will tell him he’s being a shitty boyfriend, regardless of how well-meaning he might be, and also to tell him his mother is awful. Apollo deserves a Hell No, and also needs to die in a fire.

Swoonworthy Scale: 7

As soon as Hades sets his eyes on Persephone, it’s obvious that he’s drawn to her. When Persephone spends a bit of time with him (and his dogs), she begins to see that there’s something more to him than anyone really knows. This is just the beginning of what promises to be a beautiful relationship, but it’s certainly going to have its fair share of bumps along the way.

Talky Talk: Modern Mythology

In Lore Olympus, Smythe imagines a world in which the Greek gods and goddesses live in the Underworld and a Mount Olympus that are modern—think cars, cell phones, etc.—while the Mortal Realm is appropriately primitive to match with the time period in which these gods and goddesses experienced their heyday. The dialogue is therefore equally modern, with characters talking about things like you or I would. The voices are all distinctive, too; even if you didn’t have the art to tell you who was speaking, you’d figure out pretty quickly who says what.

Arty Art: Dreamy

Smythe’s art is wholly unique; it looks like nothing I’ve seen before. It’s at times dreamy—invoking watercolors—and extremely detailed, at others goofy and simplistic. It doesn’t sound like these two disparate ideas would work together, but they do, to great effect. Her art isn’t going to be for everyone, but I really love it.

Bonus Factor: Gods and Goddesses

A group of Greek gods from the Percy Jackson movies sit on their thrones on Mount Olympus

As much as some of them are truly awful individuals, I can’t deny my forever infatuation with the Greek gods and goddesses, and I love this fresh spin on their stories.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Sexual Assault

Sticker on a pole that reads "however I dress, wherever I go, yes means yes and no means no"

Apollo coerces Persephone into sleeping with him, even though she’s not sure if she wants to, and certainly doesn’t feel good about it after the fact. He also takes pictures of them, assuring her that all is well, then checks out as soon as they’re done. He’s fucking terrible. (And, TBH, only gets worse in future episodes of the comic. But he also eventually gets what he deserves, thank Hades.)

Relationship Status: Intrigued

You had me hooked from the very beginning, Book, even though our time together wasn’t all sunshine and Cerberus kisses. But we’ve got a ways to go before I call it love. 

Literary Matchmaking

Zeus: King of the Gods (Olympians #1)
Athena: Grey-Eyed Goddess (Olympians #2)
Hera: The Goddess and Her Glory (Olympians #3)
Hades: Lord of the Dead (Olympians #4)
Poseidon: Earth Shaker (Olympians #5)
Aphrodite: Goddess of Love (Olympians #6)

George O’Connor’s Olympians graphic novels delve into the lives of six of the heavy-hitter gods, including Hades.

The Lightning Thief (Camp Half-Blood Chronicles #1; Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1)

For a completely different take on the modern lives of gods, check out Rick Riordan’s Camp Half-Blood Chronicles.

Abandon (Abandon #1)

And if you want a complete retelling of the Hades and Persephone myth, read Meg Cabot’s Abandon series.

FTC Full Disclosure: I bought a copy of this book with my own money and got neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. Lore Olympus: Volume One is available now.

Mandy (she/her) is a manager at a tech company who lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, son, and dogs. She loves superheroes and pretty much any show or movie with “Star” in the name.