Audiobook, Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Novel, Queer, Romance, Urban Fantasy

Neon Gods by Katee Robert is an urban fantasy romance loosely based on Greek mythology (4/5 stars)

Neon Gods by Katee Robert
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Neon Gods by Katee Robert is an urban fantasy romance loosely based on Greek mythology. It’s the first entry in her Dark Olympus series. I listened to the audiobook, which clocks in at ten and a half hours and is narrated by Zara Hampton-Brown and Alex Moorcock. We follow our two main characters with alternating first-person points-of-view.

On the surface, Persephone Dimitriou is the society darling of Olympus, but she can’t wait until her 25th birthday when she can access her trust fund and leave the city. Her plans are dashed when her mother, Demeter, surprises her with her engagement to Zeus, the most powerful of the Thirteen who rule Olympus. The only way she can get out of the betrothal is to cross the River Styx to the Undercity.

Hades has spent his life in the Lower City and doesn’t mind that most folks the Undercity think of him as a myth. Once Persephone limps into his kingdom, he realizes she can help him with his long-planned revenge on Zeus.

This is mostly character-driven and doesn’t have a huge amount of plot. Both Hades and Persephone have a good deal of personal growth throughout the book. Hades must learn how to trust someone and let them in, and Persephone must learn how to let other people take care of her as she seems to be the “crisis friend” who takes care of everyone else–especially her three sisters.

I was really pleased to see how important consent was throughout this book. It’s one of the more accurate representations I’ve seen about power play, uplifting trust within the partnership and open communication. There’s also lovely representations of aftercare. Another thing that was nice was the fact that both Hades and Persephone nonchalantly mention that they have had same-sex partners in the past. It’s nice to see being queer as the norm.

The side characters here are quite detailed and feel lived-in. I especially loved Hermes and Dionysus; Robert gender-flips Hermes and she and Dionysus have a lovely relationship dynamic that I’m interesting in exploring further. I’m glad that Zeus is painted as a big jerk, because he really was in most of the myths.

I do wish there was a bit more world-building, but we may get more of this in future installments to the series. The titles are a bit confusing, as some are inherited (Zeus and Hades for instance) and others are elected. I’m curious if Poseidon is another title that is inherited rather than appointed, but we didn’t really get that information here.

Tropes in this book include: damsel in distress, fake abduction, fake dating, kink (D/s, public sex), scarred “duke,” bisexual main characters

CW: violence, firearms, emotional abuse, mention of fire (scars)

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