I just binge read the first two installments of Katee Robert’s Dark Olympus series and I’m only disappointed because I have to wait for more books to be published. These are romances set in an alternate universe Olympus. We’ve got the whole pantheon of Greek gods and demigods, but nobody is actually immortal (which is important for dramatic purposes.) They all live in the remote city of Olympus (it’s hard to get there, nobody explains why exactly, but WHATEVER) and are battling for power and influence, etc. The funny thing about Greek mythology is that it’s sort of got this respectable patina of marble statues and entire departments of study, but the stories themselves are SUCH a Soap Opera. I mean, the vast majority of the conflict comes from Gods being unable to keep it in their pants, AHEM ZEUS. The stories are so riddled with envy and lust and intrigue that they are absolutely perfect for romance/erotica adaptations. And who better to bring that vibe to life than Katee Robert? Nobody, that’s who. Look, if you prefer your Greek mythology to be a bit more lit-fic than romance, get thee to some Madeline Miller, post-haste (seriously, her work is FABULOUS.) But if you’re into, say, Greek Mythology smutty fan-fic style? This series is perfection. Just general note here- I realize that heat levels are very subjective, but to my romance reader’s palate, Katee Robert’s writing is nearing ghost pepper. If you prefer a milder salsa, these may not be for you.
Neon Gods– Hades and Persephone is one of the most famous Greek myths, like, ever. We all know it. Hades kidnaps Persephone and steals her away to the underworld and eventually her mother bargains to have her back, but since Persephone had eaten the food of the dead (pomegranate) she had to go back to the underworld to hang out with Hades for part of the year and that’s why we have winter. Yes? Well, in this version, Persephone is just biding her time until she can access her trust fund and get the heck out of Olympus when her mom Demeter is all like “Surprise! You’re gonna marry Zeus! He’s old and responsible for the deaths of his last three wives, but think of the political clout! Oh and I’m announcing this while we’re in public so you’ll have to agree so as not to make a scene and destroy our family!” And Persephone is all “I will run to the literal underworld to escape this union- or maybe just the Lower City (there’s a weird force field or something that makes it hard to leave and/or go to the Lower City, again, not explained but WHO CARES) to escape this union!” Then, of course, she runs smack into Hades, whom everyone has assumed is dead. Because reasons. Anyway. Hades and Persephone turn out to have similar tastes in hanky panky and she’s enamored of the Lower City and she and Hades are falling for each other and Demeter is just gonna have to DEAL WITH IT.
Electric Idol– OK, so, perhaps my favorite thing about the Eros and Psyche story is Eros’s mythos. Not in this book specifically, but Eros is better known by his Roman Pantheon moniker… Cupid. Only instead of a cute baby with an archery set (which, frankly, he never was in mythology, but, you know, Pop Culture) he’s a super hot assassin/fixer for his mom, Aphrodite (who may, in fact, be THE WORST after Zeus. She was big on starting wars to defend the title of fairest in the land, as it were.) Psyche is another of Demeter’s daughters (at least in this series, artistic license and all that), a plus size influencer just trying to wheel and deal her way through Olympus. She knows all about Eros’s reputation, so while she can appreciate his aesthetic appeal, she’s not about to go there. Until she sees the guy clearly injured arriving at a party and decides to help him out. Unfortunately, the paparazzi catch a snap of Psyche and Eros together which sets off a tabloid storm. Aphrodite and Demeter hate each other anyway, so Aphrodite decides to go full sociopath and order Eros to murder Psyche just to torment Demeter. Eros feels terrible about this, because even though he’s been manipulated into being a killer, he actually still has feelings. Plus, Psyche is hot. So he proposes the only solution he can think of: marriage. If Psyche and Eros marry, Aphrodite won’t be able to have her killed- the PR would be terrible. MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE, ANYONE? And, as always happens, they decide to just, you know, scratch the itch of their attraction to get it out of their system so they can concentrate on convincing the media of their love story. Definitely no feelings there.
I believe the next full length book in this series is going to focus on an Achilles/Patroclus/Helen of Troy situation, so, like I said, high heat levels in these books. Am I going to continue reading them? Yes, yes I am. But for now, my friends, I’m going to skedaddle for the week. Stay safe and warm and try not to piss off Zeus, OK?
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