A review by sidhewitch
Neon Gods, by Katee Robert

  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No


Audiobook Review. 

 TL;DR: An enjoyable read that is a lot lighter on the smut than BookTok would have you believe, but not something that will likely stick with you. A good popcorn book. 

As a Hades and Persephone retelling, I thought this was interesting. The way the book essentially makes mob bosses out of the Greek gods was a unique take, though it sort of falls apart if you think too deeply about it (they have old myths about the God Hades but not about the very famous things Hades did in those myths? etc). The disappointing part, for me, was honestly the smut. Don't go in expecting erotica, or even particularly good BDSM or much exhibitionism. It's really more a romance with some explicit scenes. Which is fine! Just not what I expected, so don't make my mistake. 

This wouldn't have been such a disappointment to me if the romance itself had been a little better fleshed out. I like both the characters, but the relationship between Hades and Persephone develops seemingly because she sees how nice he is to other people and what a good ruler he is, while he gets surprised by how sassy and headstrong she is. It's cute, but it's not that deep. 

All that said, there are some truly delicious bits (the dresser scene, holy crap) and I really did like not only Hades and Persephone, but several of the side characters were also really interesting. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in this series - especially after the excerpt from it at the end of this one - and learning more about them. 

As a final note, I did appreciate the author did her best to confront the issue of consent. She made it as explicit as possible that not only was Persephone a happily willing participant, but Hades was actually concerned about that. You can argue how capable Persephone really was of saying No given her circumstances, but this is far from dubcon. So if that's not your thing, or just not what you're looking for here, no worries.

Audiobook Narration: It was fine. Not my favorite, but definitely not of the sort that drives me to DNF. I continue to wish the narration space was such that, if you already have two narrators, each could record all the dialogue lines for their character no matter who the POV is. Moorcock's Hades was good and his Persephone was absolutely cringeworthy, and Hampton-Brown was excellent as Persephone and made some very strange choices for Hades. Their posh British accents also made the use of slang or profanity by the characters at times sound really strange (like the constant jarring "Yeah" instead of "Yes"). I know Hampton-Brown's narration got a little memeified on TikTok for the naughty bits, but honestly that's just more proof to me what delicate flowers BookTok consists of, or maybe what a jaded hussy I am, because I found nothing scandalous about it. 

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