Title: Neon Gods
Author: Katee Robert
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Published: 1 June 2021
Okay, so I’m going to try to write all of this as magnanimous as possible. I’m going to start off with what I thought was good before going to what I didn’t like.
Greek gods as high society people is such a *chef’s kiss.* All of the Greek Gods are part of the 13 in Olympus. In this world, they’re not the real Greek Gods but either come from passing down from father/mother to son/daughter or is elected. This setup makes it easy to bring in other myths to the world as well, which is done through Demeter’s daughters. There is, of course, Persephone from the original myth as Demeter’s daughter, but she has 3 other daughters (all with different fathers): Callisto, Psyche, and Eurydice. I absolutely loved, loved, loved the relationships between the sisters, they are so adorable and lovely to read about sisters who get along.
Once Persephone flees the upper city, the rest of the book takes place in Hades domain (minus a few scenes at the end). I liked Hades characterization, he was kind and caring to Persephone. The major plus to this book was the consent. There’s actually a scene where Persephone and Hades sit down and go through an entire list of kinks, fetishes, and scenes that are okay or not okay with Persephone because consent is sexy!!
Now, on to the parts that I didn’t like. Was I the only one who wondered what Persephone was studying in university? Because I still want to know. Even though she’s staying in Olympus, can she not get her PhD there or what. I don’t want to disparage the author by any means, but once I finished reading the book, it mostly felt that Persephone getting a master’s degree and planning to go to get a PhD was dropped in for shits and giggles.
What is this world? Yes, having the gods be high society people was perfect, but it didn’t feel fleshed out. The real names of the person go away when they become one of the 13, which feels strangely icky to me, I don’t know why. Zeus, Posidon, and Hades titles are all inherited and Demeter’s title is an elected position. Are the other titles inherited or elected? I understand there’s going to be more books in this series and they may expand on this, but I was still confused. Speaking of confusion, is Olympus a parallel universe? In the real world? In a galaxy far, far away? Again, the concept was great, the execution left me with many questions.
Hades is apparently a myth in the upper city. (Insert gif of John Oliver saying “cool.”) Then we find out that not only is he real, but he’s having orgy sex parties in his dungeon/lair/playroom. And yes, I did read the part that Zeus wants him to be “not exist” to strengthen his powers. But your going to try to tell me that no paparazzi, god, Hermes, nor Eros said NOTHING!! I guess there’s the fact that Persephone and her family have only been in the upper city for ten years, but that’s still ten years. In all that time, all the gods and paparazzi managed to keep their trap shut about this? Sureeeee (she says unconvinced).
The summary of the book warns that Hades will have to go to war to keep Persephone. Cool, yeah, like that kinda follows the myth. But when the time comes for it, it’s all wrapped up so quickly, with no real tension. It just felt anticlimactic to me.
You may be thinking, what does this all matter, this is an erotica novel. Yes, I hear you. But I’d like to say that I’ve been reading fanfiction since I was around 11/12 years old (back when you never spoke about fanfiction or fanart or anything related to fandom. I like your shoelaces. To anyone who gets the previous sentence, we are now best friends and I will legitimately buy you a book of your choice). I’ve read tons of fanfiction, including fanfiction that was rated for 17+ that I probably shouldn’t have read (yeah those age restriction questions on websites, I just subtracted the current year from 18; the ones where you just had to say yes, you were over the age, I clicked). I learned more from fanfiction regarding sex education than from school, but considering I live in Texas that’s not saying much. Anyway, I know smut and I know good smut. I just don’t think this was it. At the end of the day, maybe my preference just differs from others. I’ve never really liked romances or fics where people have this instant connection (I truly think it’s crap). I’m all about the slow burn. I guess that’s what happens when you read Pride and Prejudice as a teen and the first marriage proposal from the man is rejected and you cheer.
I don’t think Neon Gods is the worst, but I wouldn’t say its the best either. It was enjoyable to read, so there’s that. One thing I did forget to mention, and to leave this on a positive note, I absolutely loved Hermes and Dionysus’s relationship. Their relationship was so pure and lovely, plus I’m all for a gender-bent Hermes.
Happy Reading Darlings!