Her Dark Wings / Melinda Salisbury / Book Review


Corey has always felt at home in her island life. Sure, some of the islanders put a bit too much belief in ancient gods, gods of myth and legend that the outside world doesn't care much for. And sure, the community has always been rather insular, but Corey has never minded. The myths are just a quirk of growing up. And her father, her best friend Bree, her boyfriend Ali: that's always been enough for her. Until Bree steals Ali from her, and Corey's world comes crashing down.

Suddenly an outsider watching her best friend and her boyfriend fall more and more in love, Corey doesn't feel quite as at home on the island that has always been hers. Seeing Bree and Ali together at the annual masquerade is too much. Corey can't help, for the briefest flash, wishing her former best friend dead. She didn't mean it, not really. Or at least that's what she tells herself when Bree's body is dragged from the sea hours later.

Navigating grief is difficult when Corey is still so angry. Especially when she's seeing things she shouldn't, things that are part of her island's mythology and nothing more. Corey can't trust her own senses when she watches Bree's spirit pass into the afterlife on the arm of a handsome stranger, a stranger that Corey recognizes. A stranger who could be none other than Hades himself, lord of the dead. A stranger who definitely didn't want to be seen.



Well, this was a book, I guess. If you're wanting a dark Hades and Persephone romance, this isn't it. If you're wanting much of anything, this isn't it. There have been few reads so bland for me in this, the year 2023. But bland is about the best I can offer here.


Plant Magic Who doesn't love a bit of plant magic? In an underworld as dreary, monotonous, and gray as the one Melinda Salisbury builds, having a touch of plant magic to liven it up is nice. And though Corey discovers her plant magic in this setting, there are hints at it all along. She's an avid gardener, after all, with a flourishing garden in the mortal world even as the winter is descending. And her mother was renowned for her ability to grow any- and everything--so this magic is hereditary. It's got a history.

Not-So-Furious Furies The furies get a bad rap. It's not really their fault that they've got a job to do, right? And while Salisbury doesn't paint these monstrous mythological beings in an altogether rosy light, there is definitely the benefit of the doubt thrown their way. They're humanized (as ironic as that might be for monsters who aren't human), and I appreciated that twist on the mythos.

Vibrancy The underworld setting is particularly drab (as I will go into more below), but Corey and her plant magic really do liven it up, as I've said. Not only is the plant magic a touch of brightness in this dreary setting, but it is absolutely magical, too. The setting feels so drab that it is easy to forget what a truly otherworldly place Corey has landed herself in... until she's summoning dripping, golden pomegranates from the black soil itself. Her garden is glittering and golden, flashy and exhilarating.


This girl comes from an island that wholeheartedly believes in mythology. They don't just know it. They live and breathe it. They are quite devout. But for a girl who grew up on the mythos... why doesn't she have questions about Persephone? I have questions about Persephone, a lot of them. Hades and Persephone is, after all, one of the best known of the Greek myths. But Persephone just doesn't exist in this world? I get the fact that the mythology and the reality might not necessarily match up, but I would expect the question to come up, anyway. But this girl, raised to be devout when it comes to the old gods, doesn't seem to know anything about Persephone. And that just doesn't make sense to me. Persephone

I've called it "dreary" and "gray" above, and that description holds true. That's about the only description that holds true. Because if you're looking for a sense of the underworld itself, you're not getting it here. There's a cave where Corey and the furies spend most of their time, and that's about it. There's no real sense of what anything looks like, how anything is laid out. Even the cave itself doesn't quite feel real. It's like living in a Plato-style allegory--you've got the shadows of a setting but not an actual setting. It's hard to get invested in invigorating a landscape when you didn't even get the sense of a landscape in the first place. It's all so wavery and unreal. It's hard to care.Wavery Setting

This world doesn't make sense. As I've pointed out above, the actual underworld descriptions are both nondescript and nonexistent. And the mortal world doesn't make a lot of sense, either. Even if we put aside Corey's glaring gap in knowledge, why does this island actually believe in this stuff? Where is this island actually located? It felt kind of British in general, but why are the gods situated here instead of, I don't know, the Aegean Sea? It just makes no sense to me. There were choices made for no obvious reason, and no unconventional reason was given in the book, either. We were just expected to buy it, and I really didn't. Nonsensical Worldbuilding



Fans of the splashy contemporary update to Greek mythology that Rick Riordan provides in The Lightning Thief will like this modern take on underworld living. Fans of Melissa Landers's Lumara will like the delicate magical balance to this island living.


Publisher: Delacorte Press
Date: December 12, 2023
Series: N/A
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Note: I was provided with an ARC by the publisher through Netgalley and Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own.


  1. Its a shame the worldbuilding in this one wasn't as strong as it could have been, especially given the promise of the magic!

  2. I'm a big fan of mythology-based books but based on your review I'll be giving this one a miss!

  3. Oh wow that's quite the premise! And that cover! But sorry to hear about the worldbuilding. I think a Hades and Persephone story can be tough because- how do you make a underworld setting compelling? It seems so dreary. And the fact that Persephone is not here... yeah that's a bummer.

  4. A bit too many questions, I need solid worldbuilding

  5. A dark Hades and Persephone romance sounds so good, and I do love he cover, but I'm sorry to hear the worldbuilding is nonsensical and it's just a bland read.

  6. based on reading your well written review, I believe that the story is good and interesting.... wish to read it....

    Thank you for sharing


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