Now that I've finally read the book, I have a lot of THOUGHTS. Thoughts that are conflicted and numerous, so I have decided to bullet point my likes and dislikes for my convenience and yours.
👍 Making Zeus a sinister Bluebeard kind of figure. Zeus is a jerk, okay? Disney's Hercules has made a lot of people picture him as some sort of benevolent Santa figure, but he was a real jerk. It's way too easily to imagine a twisted Bizarro universe where Zeus kills off all his consorts. He's just a major creep.
👍 Hermes and Dionysus. They were great. Loved the idea to gender-flip Hermes and her bromance (girlmance?) with Dionysus. The two of them were great and I wish them nothing but the best.
👍 The emphasis on consent. I like consent in books. Which is weird because I also like books that have dub-con. But fantasy is fantasy and for those who like consent, I am very happy that there are an increasing number of options trying to put the "sensual" in consensual. Especially in books that are more kink-forward.
👍 Persephone unapologetically owning her sexuality. Just this.
👎 The world building. What even is this? Is Olympus in the U.S.? Is it in its own dimension? Is this fantasy? It feels like it is kind of its own thing, but then there's all these weird references, like Persephone wanting to go to Berkeley, or Hades having a Princess Leia fetish, or Hermes stuffing her mouth with Cheetos. And then it's mentioned that some of the gods have social media accounts, and they're kind of a cross between society folk and a mafia, so who gave them all this power and how were the thirteen created and DO THEY HAVE MAGIC? Are they gods? Because at one point they're described as human, but they seem to have these preternatural talents that mark them as gods, and some of them are born to the role but others are elected and others inherit AND I AM JUST SO CONFUSED.
👎 This is not a dark romance. Which I would not have a problem with if it weren't being packaged as a dark romance. It's like ordering a dark chocolate cake and cutting it open and having all these rainbow sprinkles and gumballs come flying out. Like, yes this is a nice cake you made here ma'am BUT I DID NOT ORDER THIS FROM YOUR MENU. From a story that is supposed to be so dark, I would like some real stakes. But apart from a sinister beginning, it was just mostly, well, fluff.
👎 There's no real conflict. Persephone and Hades lust after one another at first sight. She's not at all weirded out by his exhibitionism kink and they're just magically in tune with one another in all ways. The Zeus thing and the treaty had some promise but everything gets tied off so neatly at the end that it felt like all build up and no pay-off. It was very anticlimactic, especially given all the hype.
👎 EVERYONE IN THIS BOOK IS SO STUPID. People literally think Hades is a myth because they never bothered to cross the river. Hades has public sex parties and social media is a thing. Did nobody ever find Hades's OnlyFans or something? That's like me assuming my neighbors don't exist because they don't cross the street. ESPECIALLY since one of the ways Zeus gets revenge is by cutting off the supply chain to Hades's territory. There's obviously accounting and paperwork going on and this was never addressed to my nitpicky satisfaction.
👎 It's basically porn with plot. This book wears what little plot it has like a see-through nightie. If you're picking it up for the fantasy, you're going to be disappointed. I went into this expecting something like Ilona Andrew's Hidden Legacy series and ended up with something more like FIFTY SHADES OF HADES meets A COURT OF GODS AND SMUT. Which is fine if that's what you're into, but that's not really what I'm into.
👎 Calling this grumpy vs. sunshine is an overstatement. Persephone is pretty angsty and not really a sunshiney character and Hades is just a little bit brooding but he's clearly a good guy. There's no hard or icy shell to crack away at. He is basically a chocolate-coated marshmallow. Which ties into my fluff complaint. DON'T SELL ME BROODY AND GIVE ME A MARSHMALLOW. Marshmallows don't brood. They fluff. Unless you put them in a microwave and then they explode (which I guess technically happened at the end of this book but we're not sailing on the S.S. Spoilers here).
So in short, this book wasn't what I expected but it could have been worse. There were some really great quotes and spicy scenes and I didn't hate it but I also really don't understand the hype.
2.5 out of 5 stars