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Elisa S. Amore, Kiera Legend, Demigods Academy (Series, Book 3): Year Three, Amore Publishing, 2020, 232 pp.
We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.
Author of the Entry:
Ayelet Peer, Bar Ilan University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Lisa Maurice, Bar Ilan University, email@example.com
Susan Deacy, University of Roehampton, firstname.lastname@example.org
Elisa S. Amore
, b. 1984
Elisa S. Amore is an Italian best-selling novelist of young adult fantasy who resides in Switzerland. She is the author of the internationally successful supernatural saga Touched. In 2016 her books were translated to English.
She was named by the American online Fantasy Magazine as "the undisputed queen of romantic fantasy." In 2016 Amore’s books were translated to English.
Source: https://elisasamore.com/about-elisa/ (accessed: November 23, 2020).
Bio prepared by Ayelet Peer, Bar-Ilan University, email@example.com
Kiera Legend (Author)
Kiera Legend writes urban fantasy and paranormal novels. Among her books are "The Citadel" series.
Source: https://www.kieralegend.com/about/ (accessed: November 23, 2020).
Bio prepared by Ayelet Peer, Bar-Ilan University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Melany Richmond is an 18-year old orphan girl from Pecunia. As narrated in the first book of the series, Melany had entered the Gods' academy in order to train as a soldier for the Gods' Army. In the previous book, Melany was brought to Hades's Hall to be trained there by Hades and the Furies so she could become a fierce warrior. During a battle against the monstrous Chimera, Melany's love interest, Lucian, was killed. However, this book opens with Hades' revival of Lucian, who also tells him that a part of him (Hades) will always be in Lucian, a statement Lucian does not fully comprehend.
This book revolves around finding the truth behind the various incidents in which Titans were set loose on earth, causing havoc. From Melany's investigation, the Titans seem to be controlled by someone (Melany finds golden rope where an earthquake hit Pecunia, for example). Melany believes it is the fault of Ares and Aphrodite, yet Hades is convinced that Zeus is involved as well.
While the book follows Melany's growth and conflicting emotions towards Lucian and Hades, she consummates her love with both, and their lovemaking also reveals the different feelings she has for them. She is more passionate and out of control with Hades and is adored and loved tenderly by Lucian.
Melany discovers pats of her own identity. During a celebration at the academy after the defeat of the Chimera, Melany is poisoned. In her near-death experience, she arrives at Elysium and meets Persephone and also her birth parents. Persephone tells her that she shares her blood, being her descendant. Melany's parents confide in her that it is not her time to die yet and that they were also part of the academy once, but they were killed trying to protect her. She is apparently the one who can end the war between the gods. Persephone asks her to tell Hades she was taken from him unwillingly by Zeus. Melany is confused after learning all of this, and is not sure what her role is, and what war is she supposed to end.
Later it is revealed that Hades was right. Zeus is also part of Ares and Aphrodite's scheme to unleash chaos on earth in order to maintain their worship by mankind. They wish to control humanity through fear and thus emphasize the importance of the academy as the only saviour for humankind. As Zeus states regarding the mortals, "They'll be forever grateful once we save their lives from the Titans. War is necessary to keep the peace" [p. 131].
Yet, not all the gods agree to this ploy. Hades, Hephaestus, Demeter Dionysus join and Melany and decide to fight Zeus and his supporters. Lucian as well as Melany's friends from the academy join her side as well.
During the harsh battle, Zeus tries to kill Melany but Hades saves her and receives the full impact of Zeus' blow. Melany receives the elemental powers (earth, water, etc.) from her friends in order to channel them and defeat Zeus. He is weakened by Hades' attack and Melany succeeds in hitting him. However, Zeus is not the only one who dies; Hades does too, disappearing from the surface. Ares and Aphrodite are apprehended and led to Tartarus.
The academy is then rebuilt. Apparently, it was founded around 700 B.C. by Hesiod and Prometheus to encourage learning and exchange of knowledge between mortals and gods. Prometheus is now brought back as its headmaster and all seems to be quiet and peaceful, except for Melany's great loss.
This book covers two main themes which seem to correspond with Melany's inner conflict: light and darkness. There is a war on the surface between the gods, between Zeus, the king of the sky, and Hades king of the underworld. Yet, during the war of the gods, the roles seem to be reversed. It is Zeus who is in fact the darker one while Hades truly cares for humankind. This scene fits in within the current trend of inverting the traditional in YA novels.
There is also a similar conflict within Melany's heart between her love for Lucian and Hades. While Lucian was chosen as Zeus' disciple, he does not hesitate to fight against him. Lucian represents the ultimate light in this story; he is loving, caring and just. Melany is torn between them "Lucian was calm and comfort for me, the exact opposite of what Hades represented. Light to his dark. And I hated myself for it, but I wanted, no needed, both in my life" [pp. 60-61].
The author makes Melany a strong woman, who can sleep with whomever she pleases. She is not described as evil but confused. She is not the pure and innocent heroine, but a sexual young woman. Hence, the author implies it is OK for young women to be sexual and discover their own sexual happiness. Melany is not ashamed of her desire for both men. Melany's emotions are strong hence she follows them by sleeping with both of her lovers, each one completes her in a different way, physically as well as mentally. The difference in their love-making is also part of Lucian and Hades' portrayals. Lucian adores Melany and loves her gently, adoring her body slowly. While Hades is more experienced and passionate.
Melany confides to her friend, Gina, about her emotions, "'I'm aware.' I laid on the bed. 'It's just he makes me feel things that I don't feel with anyone else.' 'Like what?' 'Strong. Fierce. Powerful. Like I could pick a fight with the world and win.' 'Lucian doesn't make you feel those things.' I rolled onto my side and looked at her. 'No, but he makes me feel strong in other ways. Like I'm important. Does that make sense?'" [p. 85]. She needs both the light and the darkness in order to truly be complete and when Hades dies she feels broken and empty. Melany's feelings can mirror teenage angst and the longing to belong and find one's place but they also intensify the romantic triangle which is crucial for the development of this story as a romantic tale as well.
The story offers a tragic retelling of the love between Persephone and Hades. It is Zeus who killed her, not saved her and Hades loved her dearly. Aphrodite tries to set Melany against Hades, by claiming her maltreated Persephone, "she went crazy, tried to leave the underworld, but Hades wouldn't let her. Zeus had to intervene to save her life" [p. 14]. Yet, Melany learns it was not true. The story of Persephone and Melany's resemblance to her are used as a threat to Melany - she might become crazy like Persephone. Yet, we do not learn the whole story yet, it is still shrouded in mystery. The author is giving an idealized version of the ancient myths of Persephone's kidnapping which also quite common in YA novels.
Demeter's presence is hardly felt in their tragic love story. Hades mourns the loss of Persephone. He finds some solace in Melany, but he keeps telling her their relations are wrong, that he is her mentor. Melany does not have any dependable adult in her life with whom she can confide. Hence, she might mistake a desire for a parent with her sexual desire for Hades (an influence of Electra complex perhaps?). There is no maternal presence who can guide this young adolescent into true womanhood. Being a mature woman does not simply refer to having sexual relations but also controlling your emotions.
Melany bitterly believes that all the gods do not really care about human lives, "we were instruments to them, to be used for their purposes, playthings and pets, at best, to be coddled and prettied up when trotted out to the public. Just like Hades had done to me" [p. 5]. She is angry at Hades for now showing any affection to her at first. Later Demeter advises her not to trust the gods "'none of the Gods are completely truthful.' 'Not even you?' She rubbed at her face. 'Nope, not even me. We have thousands of years of practice of twisting the truth. It becomes as natural as breathing'" [p. 88]. Such description of the gods, as well as the story of the war between them, is also the theme of another YA series, the Mythverse series, and in other fiction titles as well. The Greek gods are not represented as benevolent beings, but as treacherous and manipulative, who care not for the lives of humans. The gods are angry at the mortals for forsaking them and try to forcibly regain their worship, as Melany understands, "when the Gods fell out of favor with the mortals and their temples were replaced with other places of worship, they started to lose their powers and that made them angry" [p. 150].
Regarding the academy, Prometheus and Hesiod combine and complement each other. The one was the mythological guardian of humankind while the other was the poet who told of the gods and in a way, advertise their existence and made them immortal in his poems.