Happy Friday, Bookworms!
I really, really enjoyed Katee Robert’s take on Greek Mythology, so when I realized that she’d also written a series that was basically smutty fan-fic of Disney villains, I thought it sounded like fun. So I binge read them all. AS ONE DOES. Now, before I get into details, y’all should know these books are firmly in erotica territory. They aren’t like the type of romance novel where if you’re not comfortable with steamy scenes you can just sort of skip over them. Taking out the steamy scenes would eliminate like half the books. ALSO these books more or less revolve around the goings on of a polyamorous BDSM club, so you should, um, know that going in. And you know what? If any of those things are deal breakers for you, it’s totally fine to NOPE out. Like. I have a very high tolerance for book related bedroom shenanigans and these were sometimes pushing my boundaries. So. Regular erotica readers? Have at it. Romance readers who merely tolerate the love scenes? Probably not going to be your jam. We good? OK. Let’s discuss.
Desperate Measures– Have you ever imagined what would happen if Jasmine and Jafar hooked up? No? Well, Katee Robert has! Jasmine’s dad was a sadistic crime boss and Aladdin (or Ali) is a scary sleazeball, so Jafar ruthlessly unseats Jasmine’s father (because murder) and takes over the territory. The spoils of said territory apparently include Jasmine. Despite being a literal murderer and super dangerous, Jafar is hot and Jasmine has always had a thing for him. So they hook up. Naturally. Here’s where we get to what I didn’t love. The consent is decidedly fuzzy at the outset of this book. Things get clarified a bit further along, but the whole situation started off rocky for me. I’m a fan of clear and explicit boundaries, as it happens. Also, while I don’t want to yuck anyone’s yum, I have a knee jerk cringe reaction to any “Baby Girl” or “Daddy” stuff. It is extremely not my jam. I did, however, dig the world building, and I wanted to see where Katee Robert was going to go with Carver City, so I kept reading. I mean, I felt similarly ambivalent about Ice Planet Barbarians (review) but gave the second book a shot and then was hooked. So I decided I’d do the same here. Solid strategy because book 2? Well. Let me tell you about it.
Learn My Lesson– Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? A book based on Hercules?! Which fully ties in to the Dark Olympus series that I so enjoyed? A+ world building, there, Ms. Robert. I was super into this crossover situation, even if I wanted to shriek secrets to certain characters. (WILL THESE PEOPLE EVER FIND OUT THINGS I CANNOT DISCUSS BECAUSE SPOILERS?!) In this book Hades is hot (because, honestly, why not?) and he runs a sex club called (wait for it) THE UNDERWORLD for the rich and powerful of Carver City. His partner in crime is Meg, who made a deal with Hades to save her former love interest who bounced immediately thereafter, but it’s cool because Meg and Hades actually make a great pair. There’s some trouble in the Underworld, though, and Hades and Meg’s communication is suffering. Hades, ever the multitasker, decides to get revenge on his old foe Zeus AND give Meg the gift of a hot young body, so he ropes Hercules into the situation. OK, OK, here’s where things go from good to great. I listened to all of these books via audio, and the dude reading for Hercules had a pronounced Canadian accent. Not a caricature or anything, just like the narrator really is Canadian and didn’t bother to try to American-ize the accent for Hercules. The result? Pure Canadian Himbo. Hercules is a gentle soul at heart which is good because he balanced Meg and Hades well in their little throuple. Something about that Canadian accent just made Herc seem extra guileless and sweet. This book? Probably my favorite in the series.
A Worthy Opponent- So, what if Tinkerbell and Captain Hook got it on and Peter Pan was the bad guy, actually? I can wholeheartedly get behind this scenario because Peter Pan just really freaking sucks. Luring kids away from their parents? Refusing to grow adult teeth? This kid is a creepfest in canon, so I’m not at all bothered by seeing him go dark. Tink has been working at the Underworld for several years in an attempt to escape her abusive ex, Peter. She’s steered clear of Hook despite his regular appearances at the club because of his association with Peter. even though Hook unseated Peter and took over the territory. You know, not everything has to be rational. Anyway. Tink finishes up her contract for Hades and is forced back into the wider world to fend for herself only to realize Peter is trying to get her. Hook manages to convince Tink that the only way she can be safe is if she marries him immediately. He claims it’ll just be a marriage of convenience until he can dispose of evil Peter, but he’s been in love with Tink since forever and wants to convince her to give him a real chance. He goes to rather impressive lengths to convince Tink that sticking with him will be a good idea. Ahem. There may or may not be a steamy group situation in this book that will fog your glasses. Fair warning. But honestly, if you made it through the first two books? It’s no big.
The Beast- Alright alright, so imagine this one. Belle simply cannot choose between Gaston and Beast which causes a lot of hurt feelings. Then her crime boss dad dies and Gaeton (name changed because I doubt Disney is thrilled with these books) and Beast are all “we have the grief and ennui” and peace out of the territory despite being the enforcers, abandoning Isabelle and her sisters in the process. When the other territory leaders smell weakness, they start moving in, so Isabelle needs to get Beast and Gaeton back on her side. But, you know, there’s all this bad blood. So Beast proposes THE MOST LOGICAL THING. A sex pact. Duh. Isabelle is to be dominated by Beast and Gaeton for a while, then choose her favorite, and then they’ll go back to work. Needless to say, part of Gaeton and Beast’s enmity has been thwarted lust for each other, so things get complicated REAL QUICK. And then Beast starts catching feelings and decides he needs to make this throuple official. It’s worth noting that in this book, Isabelle is a relative innocent, at least when it comes to the BDSM type stuff. I actually prefer her introduction to things over Jasmine’s. Anywho. This book also ties in to a different Katee Robert series, the first book of which I have waiting for me on my kindle because I’m apparently just a trollop for this weird dark sexy universe.
The Sea Witch- Picture this. “Ursa” is trying to get revenge on her old foe Triton (who resides in Olympus, naturally) so she sends her boy toy “Alaric” to seduce Triton’s daughter “Zuriel” and lure her away to Carver City. The names have been changed, obviously, but your Little Mermaid fix has arrived, friends. Zuriel is manipulated into… wait for it… auctioning off her virginity at the Underworld in exchange for Alaric to be free of his deal with Hades. Alaric has been in Hades’s debt since he, like, stole a bunch of stuff from Triton in an attempt to help his family in Sabine Valley (you know, the other series I’m going to read next.) So Alaric hates Triton. Ursa hates Triton. And Zuriel also kind of hates Triton because he keeps her too sheltered and she’s never been allowed to dye her hair unnatural colors. So she goes along with it all, only to be blindsided by Ursa purchasing her at auction and then finding out about the whole plot. Including the part where Alaric is not at all her Prince Charming, but a co-conspirator with the Sea Witch. Never fear, friends, a happy ending is not far behind, but before that there are… Tentacles.
Queen Takes Rose- We have arrived at our final installment! This one, Sleeping Beauty. What if Aurora and Maleficent were a thing? Aurora is everyone’s favorite submissive at the Underworld. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to you by now that she has a deal with Hades, because everyone at this club seems to. But Aurora’s motivation has been that she needed money to pay to keep her comatose mother on life support. (There’s your Sleeping Beauty.) Aurora is another kind, gentle soul but she’s managed to nurture a grudge for Malone (our Maleficent stand-in) because Malone is the one who put Aurora’s mom in a coma. I mean, that’s a good motive for being pissed. But Malone doesn’t know that Aurora is in any way connected to the territory leader she deposed so many years ago and she’s always wanted Aurora, so she decides to ask Hades for a couple of weeks of private time with Aurora so she can scratch that itch. Hades gives Aurora a choice because he’s REALLY GOOD ABOUT CONSENT but Aurora agrees to go because she’s like “well, now I can straight up murder the bitch who essentially killed my mom.” (Not that she tells Hades that, of course.) But Aurora catches feelings and so does Malone, and also there is yet another crossover with Sabine Valley (good gracious I need to prioritize those books.) It’s quite a ride.
Throughout this entire series, there are constant tongue in cheek nods to the Disney movies. Safe words are almost always story related and there are little details sprinkled in that are amusing. But one of my favorites is that Aurora’s hair color is always shifting between shades of pink and blue. Flora and Merryweather would be COMPLETELY scandalized by these books. Or, IDK maybe not. Certainly not if they lived in this universe. I digress. If you’d like to read about your favorite Disney fairy tale characters super duper naked, Katee Robert’s Wicked Villains series is for you. What a weird, wonderful gift I never knew I wanted.
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