Title: Neon Gods (Dark Olympus 1)
Author: Katee Robert
Published: June 2021
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Content Warnings: Graphic sex, violence, powerful men using powerful women
I received a copy of Neon Gods from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
He was supposed to be a myth.
But from the moment I crossed the River Styx and fell under his dark spell…he was, quite simply, mine.
*A scorchingly hot modern retelling of Hades and Persephone that’s as sinful as it is sweet.*
Society darling Persephone Dimitriou plans to flee the ultra-modern city of Olympus and start over far from the backstabbing politics of the Thirteen Houses. But all that’s ripped away when her mother ambushes her with an engagement to Zeus, the dangerous power behind their glittering city’s dark facade.
With no options left, Persephone flees to the forbidden undercity and makes a devil’s bargain with a man she once believed a myth…a man who awakens her to a world she never knew existed.
Hades has spent his life in the shadows, and he has no intention of stepping into the light. But when he finds that Persephone can offer a little slice of the revenge he’s spent years craving, it’s all the excuse he needs to help her—for a price. Yet every breathless night spent tangled together has given Hades a taste for Persephone, and he’ll go to war with Olympus itself to keep her close…
It’s no secret that Katee Robert is one of my auto-buy/auto-read authors and has been for the last 12 months. As an author she is incredible at crafting stories and characters in such a short period of time. Neon Gods is a book she’s been talking about online for ages and so to have a copy of it to read early just blew my mind and I was so excited to read it.
And the good news? It didn’t disappoint.
Persephone Dimitriou is one of Olympus’ darling socialites – but little do they know that she has plans to escape the city once and for all to escape the ruling council of the city, the Thirteen. That is until her mother surprises her with an announcement that Persephone will marry Zeus, the ruthless leader of the thirteen who’s already been through three previous wives. Persephone flees to the city, across the river, to discover that the man that she’s believed a myth her whole life is alive and thriving, and that if they work together, they can both achieve their end goals.
I love a good Hades and Persephone retelling and to say that I’ve been waiting for this retelling is putting it mildly. While the story does take place in the wider book universe of Katee Robert’s independently published series of Sabine Valley and Wicked Villains, you don’t have to have read either of those to read Neon Gods. (But it does have fun little mentions if you have.)
Persephone is a woman with a plan that she’s ready to enact as soon as her birthday arrives and she inherits money from her grandmother. She hates that her own mother has risen through the ranks to the Thirteen and dragged her and her sisters up into a spotlight none of them asked for. She’s pragmatic and logical and when thrown curve balls in the story begins to look for alternatives that will benefit more people than just herself.
The Hades of Neon Gods may not be what you expect. Is he the leader of the ‘Underworld’ (or in this case, the ‘Lower City’)? Yes, but he’s a lot more than that. He initially helps Persephone because he sees that she’s in distress and needs help, and then sticks around because he’s intrigued by her strength and her willingness to help him bring down his adversaries. Their relationship is very steamy, with plenty of banter and open discussion about boundaries and consent. And while both are very alpha characters, as they begin to know one another, their dynamic shifts and becomes one of mutual respect.
I also loved finally seeing the world of ‘Olympus’ which has been hinted at in other books by Robert. While we don’t spend as much time in the shiny, modern city, Persephone gets to experience the Lower City with Hades and there’s so much charm that comes from those scenes that they’re some of my favourites. And, alongside that, getting to know some of the side-characters – especially Hermes, who is just a fabulous, in-your-face kind of character who somehow manages to wind her way into Hades and Persephone’s world with ease despite being someone of potentially dubious alliances.
There’s something wonderful about an anticipated book that lives up to what you want it to be. I’ve already pre-ordered a physical copy of the book for when it’s released in June and I cannot wait to reread it.