Unconventional Love Story

Publisher: Top Cow/Image
Creator: Linda Sejic

I’ve been familiar with the tale of Hades and Persephone since childhood. Punderworld, however, is a really neat twist on a tale that traditionally gets reduced to pomegranates.

This isn’t that classic boy meets girl and tricks her eating fruit. It’s more a of boy meets girl, is too shy to do anything, ends up at a party hosted by Zeus, and drinks a bit too much, whilst girl who has met boy argues with her mother about not getting to go to the party and eventually boy and girl (who are also gods) end up spending time with each other, but also having to overcome some problems. That sounds convoluted but the story is very easy to follow. Hades has a crush on Persephone but is too shy to do anything about it. Persephone has a crush on Hades but has an overprotective mother.

Originally a series on WEBTOONS the first volume has been brought to print, and digital print, by Top Cow Productions and Image. I didn’t really know what to expect. I was not familiar with the series prior to reading the press release. It’s nice to have so much all together in one volume as it makes it a satisfying read and I really appreciated having the chance to catch up on so much material. I am sure those that have been following it since the start will also appreciate the chance to have it in this more collected format.

The scene is set by following Hades and Persephone on separate storylines so we can get a sense of their character and their background. Hades is painted as the serious god of the underworld who just wants to do a good job, even though at times his job is not easy. There’s not really any of the resentment toward Zeus that plays a part in a lot of media that draws upon Greek myth. Although there is a hint that Hades is not fond of Zeus’s fondness for partying. In fact Zeus seems pretty sympathetic to Hades and wants to hep set him up with Persephone. It’s an almost a ‘popular elder bother/awkward serious younger brother’ dynamic.

Meanwhile Persephone’s first part of the story focusses on her relationship with her mother. Understandable, as that’s the a key part of their story in Greek mythology. Here it’s given a more modern twist of an overprotective mother who genuinely worries about her daughter’s future and wants to protect her but eventually does seem willing to listen to her point of view, although it takes her awhile and comes a little late. She’s not an out and out villain and although we may disagree with her point of view we at least understand it.

Of course eventually our two characters must meet and they do. It’s nice that the lead up doesn’t feel too drawn out. However, the course of love does not always run smooth and nor does the river Styx as Persephone ends up in the Underworld due to a series of unfortunate god related events. Although it’s a great chance for her to get to know Hades she has to go back upstairs. That seems to be leaving us with the main plot of the next volume.

I assume the story has advanced in it’s original WEBTOONS format and part of me is curious to want to check it out. A the same time I very much enjoyed reading the story in this format so would perhaps prefer to read it this way again. I will say I am invested in these characters and their relationship.

The art style really fits with the story. For some it might be on the cute side but to me that is perfectly in keeping with the story being told. The characters of Hades and Persephone I thought were really nicely designed. Hades we’ve seen before in several different mediums but here his character design balances his job and his seriousness with the sweeter side that we see too. Persephone very much embodies that goddess in charge of eternal summer. Life just seems to spring from her.

The other gods too are familiar with their design but with a nice look that is individual to this book. The settings are well realised too. The underworld has an atmosphere with twists and turns, nooks and crannies. Olympus has that party atmosphere and Persephone’s home is full of life.

Don’t think this is a purely fluffy book. Sure it’s a romance and there are humorous and fluffy moments but we also get more than that. We have a realistic mother/daughter relationship, some social awkwardness that I think a lot of people could relate to and just quite realistic characters even though they are well, gods.

If you like star crossed romance, have a passing interest Greek mythology, or just fancy a solid read, Punderworld might be the book for you.

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