13 Hades and Persephone books that are dark, spicy retellings

13 spicy Hades and Persephone books retelling the Greek myth

In Reading Lists by Emma Contreras

13 Hades and Persephone books that are dark, spicy retellings

While it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where the most popular romance tropes come from, I suspect that Greek mythology played a huge role in their development. Tales of tortured gods and goddesses, brooding antiheroes, and lots of, ahem, interesting couplings are the perfect fodder for dark romance writers looking for inspiration.

You want to know which Greek myth has elements of captive romance, opposites attract, and forbidden love? That’s right: Hades and Persephone; the King and Queen of the Underworld; the Lord of the Dead himself and his kidnapped queen, the goddess of spring.

Hades and Persephone retellings have been around for a long time, with modern renditions rocketing in popularity thanks to SpicyTok and Bookstagram (see everything written by Sarah J. Maas, including A Court of Mist and Fury, for proof.)

From loosely inspired retellings (A Rogue By Any Other Name) to well-researched, faithfully adapted odes to the OG grump and sunshine (Seeds), the following Hades and Persephone retellings each offer their own unique spin on a classic tale of dark love.

1. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

Chokshi weaves Indian mythology into the captivating tale of Maya, a young princess born with a curse that promises a future filled with death and destruction. After she marries Prince Amar and becomes the queen of Akaran, she must navigate a world of lies and betrayal to unlock her true identity and save the world. 

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2. A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair

In this Greek mythology fanfiction, all the Greek gods live on Earth and are treated as lavish celebrities. Persephone hopes she can hide her failures as the Goddess of Spring by leading a normal life of a mortal, but instead gets sucked into a bet with Hades, the God of the Dead. 

She doubles down when they develop romantic feelings, but all bets are off on how it’ll turn out. St. Clair’s Star Touched series turns up the steam from the very first installment, making it a fan favorite amongst BookTokers. 

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3. Neon Gods by Katee Robert

The first in Robert’s Dark Olympus series, this Hades and Persephone retelling was one of the most hyped romance novels of 2021. It uniquely imagines a contemporary world where well-known Greek characters like Zeus, Hades, and Demeter are power-hungry political figures rather than gods. 

Demeter’s daughter, Persephone, flees into the arms of Hades after an unwanted engagement to Zeus. But what starts as revenge turns into a romance that is equally erotic and emotional.

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4. King’s Capture by Vivian Wood

Spicy, spicy, spicy. 

That about sums up Wood’s Hades and Perseophone dark romance book that’s loosely based on our favorite Underworld couple. On the run from her ex, Constantine, Persephone is thrust into an even more dangerous situation when Hades kidnaps her — the very same Hades who happens to be sworn enemies with Constantine. 

Their explosive enemies-to-lovers romance is set against an action-packed, edgy backdrop that involves a global game of cat-and-mouse, brutal arms dealers, and plenty of twists and turns. 

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5. Seeds by M.M. Kin

If you’re seeking a book about Hades mythology that takes a deep dive into the backgrounds of all the main players, Kin’s meticulously researched retelling is a must-read. The sheer attention to detail paid to the setting, character development, and Hades and Persephone’s romance will plunge you straight into the pits of the Underworld. 


6. For the Love of Hades by Sasha Summers

Full of light and laughter, Persephone is spring incarnate. So it makes zero sense that she’s drawn to Hades, a cold and unforgiving god who just wants to be left alone. A chance meeting between the two culminates in a passionate romance rife with forbidden love, yearning, and heartbreak. 

What sets Summers’ Hades and Persephone retelling apart from others is how well she humanizes all the gods and goddesses, especially Hades. Normally portrayed as a bully and a jerk, Summers’ envisions the lord of the dead as a humble, tortured soul in need of love. Swoon. 


7. A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean

The first installment of the The Rules of the Scoundrel historical romance series puts a regency spin on Hades and Persephone’s love story. In a unique twist, Maclean imagines the pair, the Marquess of Bourne and Penelope, as childhood friends getting a second chance at romance. 

In Macleans version of Persephone, she’s less of a damsel in distress and more a woman seeking excitement, danger, and adventure. What starts as a transactional marriage between her and the Marquess quickly turns into a passionate affair that transforms him from a brooding jerk into a man in love. 

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8. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury is the second installment in Maas’ wildly popular A Court of Thorns and Roses series, which tells of the trials and tribulations of Feyre Archeron, a human who finds herself in the land of the fae.

While the first in the series is heavily inspired by Beauty and the Beast, the second installment is a retelling of Hades and Persephone. Begrudgingly forced to spend one week a month in the Night Court, the last thing Feyre expects is to fall for the dark and gorgeous High Lord Rhysand. Read it to find out what all the hype is about and see why Feyre and Rhys’ love story is one of the best romantasies

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9. A Deal with the Elf King by Elisa Kova

Speaking of Feyre and Rhys, Kova’s steamy romance gives off major ACOTAR vibes that will appeal to readers who like the slow-burn aspect of Maas’ fantasy. Kova’s dark tale about a young human girl forced into marriage to the brutal (but very handsome) Elf King also takes cues from Beauty and the Beast, in addition to Greek mythology

Luella’s life is turned upside down when Eldas chooses her to be his wife. Plucked from her village and forced to rule over an unfamiliar land and people, Luella discovers that she not only has magical abilities of her own, but also the power to save the elves. 

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10. Captive in the Underworld by Lianyu Tan

A sapphic retelling with a female Hades who kidnaps a helpless goddess in need? Yes, ma’am.

Tan’s lush worldbuilding and gorgeous prose are added bonuses to a dark fantasy novel that, despite the gender-swapped Lord of the Underworld, sticks pretty close to the original myth. 

Fair warning: Scenes of dubious consent and parental abuse rank this book a bit higher on the spectrum of dark romance than others listed here.

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11. Ivy & Bone by R.L. Perez

A spooky spin on the myth of Persephone and Hades sees an earth witch strike a deal with the devil to bring back her dead twin. 

Cyrus, King of the Underworld, gets forcibly bound to Prue through marriage — which is unfortunate, because he abhors witches as a general rule. Sparks fly from the moment of their first encounter, and they’re not the good kind. Despite this, the two must work together to save Prue’s sister’s soul and defend Cyrus’ realm from his scheming father and brother. 

This is a sexy and enticing start to a paranormal romance series.

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12. Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

With gorgeous prose that matches its cover, Jae-Jones pulls readers in with a spellbinding tale of dark magic, brooding goblin kings, and utter heartbreak. 

After her sister, Kathe, is kidnapped, Elisabeth bargains with the Goblin King to take Kathe’s place as the next Queen of the Underworld. Plunged into a land of winter, Elisabeth must navigate this new world and confusing feelings for her captor. 

Described as plain on the outside, Elisabeth is a unique heroine whose inner beauty truly shines in a coming-of-age tale that focuses on themes of sacrifice, loss, self-confidence, and love. 

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13. River of Shadows by Karina Halle

Here’s one last dark, spicy fantasy take on the Persephone and Hades relationship dynamic, this time flavored with Finnish mythology.

Hanna travels to Tuonela, the Realm of the Dead, to rescue her father, who’s being held captive by the God of Death himself. The Lord of the Underworld says perfect pickup lines like, “You can call me Death. And I will call you mine,” which captivate both Hanna and readers. 

Despite its myriad inspirations, River of Shadows creates a wholly original story and atmosphere that are seasoned with off-the-charts spiciness.

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About the Author: Emma Contreras

Emma is an Everand booklist curator and a freelance content marketing writer covering finance, business leadership, and B2B SaaS communications.