A review by canderson
Neon Gods, by Katee Robert


Again, I was sold on this novel by the cover, and the fact that it popped up on the "Recommended for You" kind of screen on NetGalley, so I downloaded. I didn't even read the description or check out the genre, because honestly, who needs to with a cover like that, right? Plus the title? Sold. Greek retellings are super in right now.
The first two chapters had me HOOKED. I loved the set up, although I did feel like the storyline was a bit forced - like the world-building wasn't done as effectively as it could have been. Quick summary, this is a retelling of Hades and Persephone in the modern age. The gods, depending on which one you are, either inherit the position of said god, are bestowed a gift to be the god, or are voted into the position by the people of Olympus. The gods (minus Hades) are known as the 13; essentially the world's powerful socialite class. Sounds great, right?
But it falls into typical mythology very quickly, and misses some major points—so the world building itself was very clunky. As a retelling, the author stuck with the true names so it kind of gives away the story. However, in true mythology Zeus is Persephone's father; which, once you read the novel, I guess is probably a good piece of the myth to leave out of this story; but again, world building and use of names had me kinda "meh" about the story.
On the other hand, again me being the blind reader I am and just diving into a story because the cover is pretty, the erotic romance was a surprise. A pleasant surprise, but still a surprise. My only issue with this was that I wish I was reading it myself, not listening to the audiobook because honestly, the voices aren't that greatest selections to portray the characters in my opinion.
Audio review: Persephone's narrator is great. She sounds young, slightly timid, but still fiery. When she does Hades' voice; it sounds ancient and creepy -- not in a sexy way. I could almost live with it; but than we get to Hades' narrator ... I'm torn on his interpretation of Hades. I love the voice, but when he's using erotic language it sounds like he's uncomfortable saying the words, when in fact he should be the total opposite. I actually find myself giggling when he says pussy, cock, etc. because it sounds like it pains the narrator to say them. And then, when he does Persephone's voice; I can't help but laugh because it's just so different from her narrator's voice... This is probably me being nit-picky, but I would have preferred to read this myself than the audiobook version. I think it would be a bit sexier if my brain was doing the voices inside my head.
Okay, so back to the story itself. It was a quick, steamy read, that I wish the author would have explored a bit further. Writing a character like Hades, having these "wicked kinks" — they weren't that wicked. There was nothing too forbidden about them, other than he liked to perform in front of crowds. Otherwise, it was a bit vanilla
Clearly Book 1 in a series, so perhaps we will see the author delve a little deeper into those fantasies we kept alluding to during the novel. Lots of potential here, I'd like to see where this goes, so I'll probably stick around for Book 2. There was a decent transition out of the first book plot-wise so I am intrigued and hopeful that the world-building will become a bit more succinct in the next installment.
Happy Reading!