A Beautiful Evil by Kelly Keaton: Essay & project ideas

Books like Kelly Keaton’s A Beautiful Evil (and Darkness Becomes Her, the first book in the series) are gold mines for us at Novel Novice. We totally dork out at all the history, lore and real-life tie-ins. The possibilities for using this series as a springboard are practically endless.

Below, you’ll find some ideas to kickstart your projects.


  • Voodoo is mentioned several times in the Darkess Becomes Her series. Do some research and write an essay discussing the way it’s portrayed in popular culture versus the way practitioners view it. How does it compare to other religions?
  • Read up on the myth of Medusa and the Gorgons, comparing how it is portrayed in Darkness Becomes Her and A Beautiful Evil, to more traditional versions. In particular, compare the versions that say Medusa seduced Poseidon, and those that say she was raped.
  • Research Athena in classic Greek mythology and compare traditional stories to her portrayal in Darkness Becomes Her and A Beautiful Evil. Examine how the persona of Athena is similar/different.
  • Examine the figures from Greek mythology featured in Darkness Becomes Her and A Beautiful Evil, and compare & contrast their portrayals in the novels to how they are depicted in classic Greek mythology.
  • These days, you hear about “Pandora’s Box” — but traditionally, it’s referred to as a “jar.” Explore how language and translation lead to the change, and look at other examples of where this has happened historically.
“Pandora” by John William Waterhouse


  • The Darkness Becomes Her series features a ravaged New Orleans, but many of the structures remain. Pick one that interests you and research its history. What is its history in real life? What is it used for now? How is it used in the books? Go really crazy by building a scale model or drawing an elevation.
  • Create a family tree of all the Greek gods and goddesses in Darkness Becomes Her and A Beautiful Evil. How do their “births” compare to other creation myths?
  • Greek figures and myths are often depicted by artists. Pick a favorite and discuss its representation. Better yet, create a work of your own.
  • Create your own version of “Pandora’s box” (or “jar,” to be more accurate). According to Greek mythology, it contained all of the world’s evils. Using magazine and newspaper clippings, fill a box or jar with what you perceive to be today’s “evils” of the world.

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