Author: Rachel Smythe
First Published: March 4, 2018 - present
Genres: Fantasy Romance, Low Fantasy
Format: Mobile App
Witness what the gods do…after dark. The friendships and the lies, the gossip and the wild parties, and of course, forbidden love. Because it turns out, the gods aren’t so different from us after all, especially when it comes to their problems. Stylish and immersive, this is one of mythology’s greatest stories -- The Taking of Persephone -- as it’s never been told before.
It had been a while since I have picked up a Webtoons series, but after seeing this series advertised literally everywhere and always finding the art style to be attractive I finally gave in and decided to give Lore Olympus a read. Boy what a fool I had been to wait so long as I literally just binged all 76 chapters currently out in one sitting. This series was more than just a retelling of Greek mythology, but a complete reinterpretation of some of the classics.
The main story revolves around the Rape of Persephone, in which the young Goddess of Spring is abducted by Hades and brought to the underworld, eventually becoming his queen. After the abduction is discovered she is returned to her mother, the Goddess of Harvest Demeter, but is bound to return to the Underworld each year. It is a classical origin myth that explains the seasons that have been retold over centuries.
“Don’t get me wrong, I love her very much. And living away from her is terrifying. But I’m also excited to be my own person. I don’t want to be known as Demeter’s daughter. I want to be Persephone.”
Lore Olympus takes the mythology of the Greek pantheon and updates Olympus to a modern upper-class urban cityscape while the mortal realm remains the same Greece of antiquity. I was hesitant about the modern setting initially but ended up loving the creativity, having a setting, and characters that are both familiar but also new. While some of the details of the stories have naturally been changed, there were a lot of lesser-known details that were faithfully adapted.
The clumsy romance between Hades and Persephone is also something to be admired as a love story between opposites. The real Hades and Persephone, by mythology standards, actually had a relatively wholesome relationship, with both partners remaining faithful to the other. They were perfect subjects for a romance story and I’ve really enjoyed the way that the two have been re-imagined. There were definitely a lot of ‘aww’ moments and the love story feels organic.
Despite the fact that the story is told through very modern-day relational drama in both serious and funny ways, it still manages to be true to the capricious nature of the Gods. The Greek and Roman Gods are famous for the many affairs, celebrations, and over the top drama that the new setting feels natural. The comic also takes a sensitive approach to some of the heavier themes of classic mythology, such as extramarital affairs, rape, and violence. I appreciated the way that the more difficult themes were handled in a way that does not feel entirely untrue, despite some major changes in an attempt tone down on the brutality of the original myths.
The art style naturally is one of the highlights of this series, with bold uses of color for each God that is representative of their natures. The contrast between colors is so striking and beautifully illustrated, it is really eye-catching. The characters are extremely expressive, and the panels can go from beautiful to cute and funny quickly, which made the style of the series very charming and memorable.
All in all, I’ve become obsessed with this series literally overnight. It is a true gem and I’m not surprised that it is currently the most popular series on Webtoon, and the best part is that the platform is mostly free! It is certainly worth checking out and I think that it can be appreciated by a wide audience, it is a great romance series that deserves more attention.
Warnings: sex, rape, domestic abuse