The Persephone Code – Julia Golding

The Persephone Code by Julia Golding is fast and furious with some likable characters. The characters were the novel’s highlight, although they made one or two strange decisions. I liked how adventurous the plot was, but it could have been more intricate and mysterious. I felt that the supposed center of the plot was almost a side note to the rest of the book. Overall, I give The Persephone Code three out of five stars. 

What I liked most about this book was the characters. Dr. Sandys was tough, knowledgable, dedicated, and respected Dora for her spunkiness. This understanding was portrayed more as a meeting of minds rather than an inherent respect for women, but I think it’s safe to assume that Dr. Sandys would always take a woman seriously. Dora was tough, dedicated, resourceful, and smart enough to know when she was beaten, which I think is a factor that some ambitious heroines lack. She had a logical mind which paired well with Dr. Sandys’. 

There were a couple of exceptions to their logical minds; Sandys made an assumption about Dora that seemed really off-base and also made a very strange decision about a consumable. It was a stressful situation, but one where it would have made way more sense to keep a clear head, and he knew that. I think that particular scenario was written specifically to make Dora shine, but it could have been cleaner. Dora was given no choice in a certain situation but refused to communicate with Dr. Sandys about it, and I thought that was weird. 

While the characters shone, I thought the plot could have had more finesse. The idea of the Illuminati trying to take down the Hellfire Club and using valuable information for their own personal gain? Fantastic. Layers of clues that remind readers of National Treasure? Also fantastic. However, the ways they were introduced to the story were clumsy and made reading a little disjointed. 

For instance, the Illuminati is a secret society, so how did the doctor figure out that was who their pursuers were? Why, they had the eye of Horus stitched into their cloaks! First of all, that is not very secret. Second, if the cloaks were meant to be secret, why are they wearing them out marauding? I felt that the instant conclusion of Illuminati was grasping, at best, and that there were a lot of other reasons that symbol could have been on a cloak. Probably few innocent reasons, but still.

There were a few more instances/introductions of ideas like the above that just didn’t flow very well, and that distracted me from the story. I would honestly say that it might have been beneficial for Golding to make the book a little longer and expand on some of the ideas. The Hellfire Club and the Illuminati floating around in one book already require a lot, and then you add in murder, national security, and a National Treasure-style hunt. Golding’s writing is certainly good enough to keep me engaged for a little longer to fully round out some ideas, or at least provide some smoother transitions. It read a little like a YA novel to me, but I have nothing to back up that instinct as it’s been many years since I’ve read that genre. 

All in all, characters were great, writing was engaging, and plot was okay but could have been smoother. If you’re looking for an interesting read, you might want to think about The Persephone Code. I give it three out of five stars. 

I received a copy of this book and am giving all opinions voluntarily.

Published by SamIAmReading

I am an avid reader and lover of historical mysteries and romances, but happy to take review requests and expand my horizons! All opinions in this blog are my own and have been given freely.

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