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I love a retelling of Hades and Persephone. I’ve read quite a few, and I wasn’t quite ready to return to YA Fantasy or NA Fantasy books quite yet. So, I decided to read Neon Gods by Katee Robert. This book tells the tale of Hades and Persephone with a modern lens where they are not gods or goddesses, but rather the name is a title. This book is the first book in the Dark Olympus universe. Each book focuses on different characters in the world with the next book focusing on Psyche and Eros.
He was supposed to be a myth.
But from the moment I crossed the River Styx and fell under his dark spell…he was, quite simply, mine.
*A scorchingly hot modern retelling of Hades and Persephone that’s as sinful as it is sweet.*
Society darling Persephone Dimitriou plans to flee the ultra-modern city of Olympus and start over far from the backstabbing politics of the Thirteen Houses. But all that’s ripped away when her mother ambushes her with an engagement to Zeus, the dangerous power behind their glittering city’s dark facade.
With no options left, Persephone flees to the forbidden undercity and makes a devil’s bargain with a man she once believed a myth…a man who awakens her to a world she never knew existed.
Hades has spent his life in the shadows, and he has no intention of stepping into the light. But when he finds that Persephone can offer a little slice of the revenge he’s spent years craving, it’s all the excuse he needs to help her—for a price. Yet every breathless night spent tangled together has given Hades a taste for Persephone, and he’ll go to war with Olympus itself to keep her close…
- Published: June 1, 2021
- Page Count: 386 pages
- Genre: Fantasy Erotica
My Thoughts on Neon Gods
As I mentioned in the intro, Neon Gods is a modern retelling. Instead of their being gods and goddesses, the characters are human. The names Demeter, Hades, Zeus, Hera, Ares, Hermes, etc. of the big thirteen gods that rule Olympus are titles. They have similar roles to Greek mythology but ultimately they are just jobs/positions. The only legacy roles that go from father to son are those of Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades. The rest of the characters and their family relationships are quite different. In this version, Persephone has three sisters: Psyche, Callisto, and Eurydice (who is dating Orpheus for the majority of the book like in Greek mythology). Though they are not sisters in real Greek Mythology.
The book starts out with Demeter selling off Persephone to marriage with Zeus without informing her daughter of this previously. However, Persephone runs away after being forced to say yes. She runs across the River Styx and ends up running into Hades. He saves her once she reaches him on her own accord, as he is forbidden to help due to a treaty he has with the rest of the Thirteen. Though his position is all but a myth at this point thanks to Zeus. Persephone strikes a bargain with him the following morning that she will stay with Hades and he’ll ruin her reputation so Zeus will no longer want her. This means public sex at private parties that Hades throws. He is reluctant to agree at first. Though he’s attracted to her, he doesn’t see it as consent. Something he’s very strongly for in all aspects. Eventually, he agrees to it, and the two set ground rules for their relationship. Even establishing her safe word of pomegranate and limits of what acts of BDSM she’s ok with or interested in. Granted other than sex in public, there really isn’t any in the book performed by them though there is mention of bondage performed by others during one of the parties.
The book flips back and forth between their two perspectives over the course of five or six weeks. There are trips to Winter Markets, Rooftop Gardens, and even to a pet store where Hades adopts three dogs. One of which is named Cerberus. We also meet other characters like Charon, who is the head of Hades’s security, rather than the ferryman that brings souls to the underworld. Minthe, another member of Hades’s security team, rather than an individual Persephone turns into a plant. And Hades is friends with Hermes and Dionysus, who are two of the thirteen. Though it’s more because the two refuse not to be his friend.
In terms of spice, Neon Gods has some steamy scenes but it’s more romance than erotica. Like they are described in some detail, but they are still on more of the tamer side in my opinion. Most of the spice in those scenes is in the build-up to them rather than the acts themselves. Once it gets to the actual sex most of the descriptions go out the window. It’s kept pretty basic and tame. Nothing wrong with that, but if you’re looking for something more descriptive this isn’t the book for you. And considering this book is about sex since that’s a major plot point, it seems almost odd for those things not to be described in detail. Not to mention there aren’t many sex scenes. Maybe I’m more used to Ruby Dixon’s works now that have a lot more sex scenes in them. But it’s just a thing to note going into this book.
The rest of the plot was rather simple. For all the myths about Hades, he was pretty chill. His people don’t fear him, which is the case in almost every Hades retelling. He might be dominant but he’s a softie that looks after his people. And without sharing spoilers, the ending was a little anticlimactic. A note that is called out by Hades. Since it’s told him his perspective, and he notes that it doesn’t resolve much for all the turmoil he’s gone through in his life. Not that it ultimately would. It wasn’t bad, but it was a simple solution. One that makes pretty much everyone but Zeus (the bastard who killed his last three wives and has unspeakable things done to other individuals) happy.
Overall, I would give Neon Gods by Katee Robert a 3 out of 5-star rating. It was good, but I wouldn’t say it was the best book I’ve read in ages. There were elements that I liked, mostly the mentions and calls to Greek mythology, and others that didn’t quite hit the mark. Even with that being said I couldn’t put this book down while I was reading it, and finished reading it in one day. I might read Electric Idol (Psyche and Eros retelling) that is releasing in January 2022, but I’m not sure at the moment. Though Lore Olympus does have me wanting to see another version of their story. I have a feeling it’s going to be interesting. But my exceptions are not that high at this time.
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