Neon Gods by Katee Robert Book Review

Here I am, back again to read some more Hades and Persephone retellings. This time we have an extra spicy and kinky book from Katee Robert that pits Zeus and Hades against one another in a modern battle over power, pride, and Persephone’s hand in marriage. I had a lot of fun reading this one, noticing the differences between all the different retellings I’ve read before and their similarities. It’s a shame this is basically a one-off book, because I’d love to see more of this kinky couple.

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.

I love seeing how each author re-imagines the character of Hades, and I loved Robert’s version of him here. He’s sexy, moody, and knows what he wants, but he’s also protective, caring, and has a strong moral compass. I like the fact that she made all of the Olympians mortal, with their title passing down instead of them living forever. It makes everything more interesting as we see how this Hades was affected and still affected by the death of the last Hades, and his subsequent need for control.

Persephone was a great character here as well. Raised in an environment where she couldn’t be herself and wore a mask of the prim and proper perfect daughter, with Hades she gets the chance to let that mask slip and be her kinky self. Seeing her take charge of her sexuality and explore her kinks was amazingly satisfying. Especially after Demeter tries to sell her to Zeus in an arranged-marriage power grab. After having so little control over her own decisions, being with Hades is an intoxicating freedom.

“I’m not exactly lying. Yes, I don’t have much in the way of options right now, but the idea of sleeping with Hades to ruin any chances of Zeus’s ring on my finger… It appeals to a very dark, very secret part of me. I want to twist the knife, to punish Zeus for acting like I’m a piece of art up for auction instead of a person with thoughts and feelings and plans. I want him to writhe in pain around a blade of my crafting, to undermine his authority by slipping through his fingers to take up with his enemy.”

– Katee Robert, Neon Gods

I’m thankful that Katee Robert didn’t make Demeter into too much of a villain in this. She’s certainly conniving and on a quest for power, but she does seem to genuinely care about Persephone. She just maybe lacks the ability to express that well enough or tell her the full extent of her plans to overthrow Zeus. I like seeing her as a more nuanced character than just pure motherly over-protectiveness.

What sets this retelling apart from the rest is it’s focus on kink and consent. Hades basically owns a sex dungeon where he hosts exhibitionist sex parties for a select clientele. In order to get under Zeus’s skin, Persephone decides to participate, exploring her newfound kinks with Hades. I loved seeing how the author handled BDSM, kink, and consent in a very open and honest way. Consent was always at the forefront, every step of the way, and nothing was forced on Persephone in any way. There was even a very honest conversation about condom use. I love seeing sex positive plots and conversations in romance. It’s such a needed addition to every romance story.

There are so many fun and unique things about this book and it’s retelling of this Greek myth. Katee Robert has crafted a great romance that explores both the myths and modern sex, agency, and consent that I can’t recommend this enough to anyone looking for some steamy romance. She also has two other books in the universe, but I’m still undecided on whether I want to read the next one which is Eros and Psyche. Let me know in the comments if you’ve had a chance to read this one and what you thought!

~~Thanks for Reading!~~

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