Release Date: March 7, 2019
Received From: Signal Boost Promotions
Gifted power over life and death, Lysandros has spent millennia in the underworld, listless and alone. The youngest child of Hades and Persephone, he’s been sheltered from the threats in the world above.
Theo Ward hasn’t been so lucky. After watching his mother wither away, he’d do almost anything to have her back. When a messenger appears at the Banneker College of Magic and offers the young professor a chance to save her, Theo can’t pass it up, even if it means going straight into the underworld and dragging her home. But Theo gets more than he bargained for when he crosses paths with the prince of Hades.
Set against the king of Olympus, they must shed their past burdens and learn to trust in each other, so they can face down a storm that threatens to wipe the nation’s capital off the map.
SEXUALITY: homosexual, bisexual
ROMANTIC ORIENTATION: homoromantic, biromantic
TROPES: magical abilities, immortal x human, age gap, instalust, instalove, immortal for you
TAGS: adult, contemporary, paranormal, fantasy, urban fantasy, mythology, romance, queer romance, queer characters
WARNINGS: parental death, parental illness, mental illness (PTSD, anxiety, panic attack), alcohol, death, physical injury, torture, binary language, enby exclusionary language, slurs, gendered slurs, rape mention, anti-ace language, ableism, cheating mention
As a big fan of Hades and Persephone, and mythology in general, I was immediately intrigued by this book featuring their son as on of the main characters, along with a mortal professor of magic! And while I had some issues with the overall plot, this book was quite enjoyable and lived up to what the blurb promised!
First, the things I enjoyed!
The modern take on the Greek pantheon was really fun and fitting with the stories that are told about them. I really enjoyed the way Burns and Fawkes contemporized the gods and goddesses, placing them in Washington D.C. and situations where they were still able to achieve the worship that sustains them–for example, a nightclub for Dionysus and a college campus for Athena and Hebe. The authors did a great job of creating such interesting circumstances for all the gods and goddesses within the story. Also, I really enjoyed the family life they created with Persephone, Hades, and their children! It was so lovely to see them as caring parents who would do anything for their children, as well as partners who are absolutely devoted to each other and work as a team in all things.
Also, I enjoyed both the main characters. Theo is a bookish, introverted, professor of magic still mourning the loss of his mother a year after her death, and he stumbles onto the discovery of the Underworld when poked and prodded in the right direction by mysterious forces. His feisty, strong spirit attracts the attention of Lysandros, and his sisters, and thus begins an adventure in which the fate of the two are intertwined. There’s the standard misunderstandings that come with romance novels, but it happens early on in this story, so once they get past that, Lysandros and Theo are able to get to know each other and connect on a personal level, but they’re also able to work together to storm the magical storm that threatens to destroy Washington D.C.
Unfortunately, that’s also where my issues came into play.
While a slight foundation was laid for why this magical storm was happening, it was never fully fleshed out and fell by the wayside of other aspects of the story. The motivations behind those who were responsible (no spoilers, promise!) were lackluster and pretty eye roll worthy in the end. However, it was just the kind of actions one would anticipate from such capricious gods that it wasn’t entirely unbelievable, just not well developed.
Also, I did struggle a little bit with the romance aspect of the novel, from Lysandros’ end. A good portion of the novel, especially the first half, repeatedly iterates that Lysandros refuses to get involved with mortals in any way after the way his relationship with one ended centuries before. Yet, he jumps into a relationship with Theo almost immediately and is throwing around “forever” and “I love you,” even though the novel takes place over the course of a month at most. It seemed incredibly out of character based on the previous characterization, and like a queer version of the “magic dick cures all” trope that’s often used in M/F romance.
Overall, though, I really did enjoy this novel, and I look forward to reading more in this series and from the two authors!
3.5 stars rounded up to 4 stars
Sam wrote her first fantasy epic with her best friend when she was ten. Like almost any epic fiction written by a ten year old, it was awful. She likes to think she’s improved since then, if only because she has better handwriting now.
If she’s not writing, she’s almost certainly either reading or lost down a Wikipedia rabbit hole while pretending to research for a novel.
W.M. Fawkes is an author of LGBTQ+ urban fantasy and paranormal romance. With coauthor Sam Burns, she writes feisty Greek gods, men, and monsters in the Lords of the Underworld series. She lives with her partner in a house owned by three halloween-hued felines that dabble regularly in shadow walking.