dark olympus series review
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Thoughts on the Dark Olympus Series by Katee Robert

I recently wrote a list of books to read when you just need light, fun romance, and in it, I mentioned Electric Idol — the second book in the Dark Olympus series by Katee Robert. I read Electric Idol quite a while ago, but writing about it inspired me to give it another re-read. 

In my memory, it was a fun, light read perfect for lazy Saturdays when you don’t want to think too much about what you’re reading. And it held up — sure, the writing was a bit rougher than I remembered, but it was fun. 

This, in turn, inspired me to read a few more entries in the series. After a difficult few weeks, I needed more of that fun lightness, and since I liked Electric Idol, it seemed logical that I’d like the rest of Dark Olympus. 

But the more I read, the less I enjoyed them, the more glaring plot holes and repetitiveness became. And since these books are all quite similar, and reviewing each one of them would be tedious, I decided to round up my thoughts on the Dark Olympus series in one place. 

The Writing 

The prose in the Dark Olympus series is what you’d expect — simple, readable, without much nuance. And this is perfectly fine for a genre. No one goes into erotica novels expecting high literature. 

However, after reading a few of these novels one after another, I find that it could be better. 

There are pages and pages of inner monologue and it gets really repetitive because, well, the same thoughts and ideas get repeated over and over again. Whether it’s about Olympus, their looks or public image, their love interest, or their family, these characters keep thinking of the same things in pretty much the same ways. 

In addition to that, similar or same phrases keep appearing throughout the series. This wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but the books are written in the first POV, and each character should have a different voice. Instead, we have characters who have never interacted, let alone spent any significant amount of time together, thinking in the same patterns or using the same phrases. 

One example that jumped out to me is “in the extreme”. I’m not sure how many times it’s said, but I know both Psyche and Eros (from Electric Idol), as well as Apollo and Cassandra (from Radiant Sin) say it many times, or at least enough that I noticed. 

Another example is the idea that Persephone has a “beaming sunshine” persona for the public — which, fine, but how does every single person in this series think of it in that exact same phrasing? 

The World

I’ve said it many times and I’ll say it again — I don’t care about the world building in books where the main focus is romance. It could be the most nonsensical world ever, as long as the romance is done well, I won’t care. 

And true to form, I really didn’t mind that the world of Olympus stands on some rickety legs. At least, in parts one and two where it’s just a backdrop that creates drama to stand between our main characters. 

But then this changes in part three. There’s more politics, an overarching plot of these novels starts to appear, and all the flaws and plot holes get exacerbated and magnified. And you just can’t ignore it. 

Why is this city (area? country? — see what I mean?) cut off from the rest of the world? And how is it cut off in the first place? Is it magic, or technology or something else entirely? And if it’s magic, why do none of the characters have it? 

These people have technology, same as us, but how? Their world is pretty much the same as ours, but I’m not sure how if they’re cut off. 

They have social media which is the same as ours — this is mentioned in Electric Idol where Psyche says that she knows her father is alive because he posts on social media, but he’s been exiled (living in our world). So how does no one know anything about Olympus?

Then there’s this constant talk of how horrible Olympus is and how cruel the people are. But are there any normal people living there? Or are there just famous and rich families? There can’t be just rich and famous families because then who would do all the regular stuff like delivering post or working at the shops. But then where are all these other people? Are they all horrible too? Or are they just living their normal lives unbothered by the Thirteen?

Of course, you can’t talk about this book without talking about the “titles”. So, instead of being gods and goddesses, the people in this novel (or, well, some of them) get these titles (like Zeus, Hera, etc.) and they’re the rulers of Olympus. Each one of them is in charge of something. For example, Demeter is in charge of food, crops, etc., Apollo is an archivist of sorts, Ares is in charge of the military, and so on. They don’t have any magical powers.

All of this is fine if you don’t think about it too much. 

But, once these people take on these titles, they stop being referred to by their real names. In part two, we see Perseus take on the title of Zeus, and everyone starts calling him that. Even his sisters, and the people closest to him. Which is just ridiculous. 

They talk constantly about their public images and how they have to keep up appearances and how it’s exhausting, but then they’re called by their titles even by their loved ones. This gets especially annoying and cringe during the sex scenes. It’s not so noticeable in parts one or two, but in Radiant Sin, Cassandra calls her love interest Apollo even during sex — and this is not his real name, he got the title. Why wouldn’t they just call each other by their real names and then be referred to by their titles while doing business? 

It makes no sense. 

Also, Aphrodite is meant to be in charge of marriages, but what does that mean? Does she arrange marriages for all of Olympus (like, even the postmen and salespeople) or does she just do it for the Thirteen and rich people? Even then, most of the time no one takes her opinion into account when choosing a partner — so what is her purpose? 

The Romance

For the most part, the romance in these novels is decent — again, if you don’t think about it too much. For example, in Electric Idol, which I liked, Eros offers to marry Psyche to save her life, but how that would save her life is unclear (and it doesn’t, in the end). 

But anyway, it’s fine because we just want angst and yearning, and yes, smut. 

And yet, most of the time all you get is steamy scenes. There’s great potential here in each book, but the characters get together quickly and fall in love within days. Again, using the example of Electric Idol, Psyche, and Eros go from not ever speaking (or noticing each other much) to being in love and discussing kids within six days. Yes, the whole plot of Electric Idol happens in six days. 

Something similar happens in Radiant Sin and Wicked Beauty too. 

And while I get that we just want to skip to the good parts, a solid emotional connection needs time to develop. The kind of trust these people display in sexual scenes also takes time to build. It can’t just happen overnight.

Especially because this author explores kink, polyamory, exhibitionism, and more, the characters participating should and need to have a solid foundation based on trust. I don’t see how Helen, Achilles, and Patroclus can go from not knowing each other to determining that they’re a throuple forever and ever within a few days? weeks? 

It takes serious work and we just don’t see that happen in these books. 

So, both emotional and sexual development happens too quickly and without any hard work, it just doesn’t feel earned. 

The Mythology

I’m no expert on Greek Mythology, but even for me, none of these books are actual retellings. Fine, it starts sort of okay with Persephone and Hades, in a way every single Persephone and Hades book happens. But then it goes a bit off with Psyche and Eros where she doesn’t have to go through any trials, and he’s not invisible at all. While I enjoyed that book, I do think that following the myth more closely would have been fun. 

And then it goes really off the rails with Helen, Patroclus and Achilles. So, these three meet at the trials set up to determine the new Ares. All of them are competing. And it just doesn’t have any relation to the myth at all. Helen had nothing to do with Achilles and Patroclus in the original, but now they become a throuple? 

In my opinion, it would have been better if they met Briseis instead — Briseis who is actually close to them in the myth. And Helen could have had her own book with Paris and Menelaus. 

Then there’s Cassandra and Apollo which are literally nothing like the myth. Apollo, in the myth, is horrible — in Radiant Sin, he’s a sweetheart.

And I get artistic freedom, I get that myths can’t be literally translated into a dark romance world. I also get why the author used Greek mythology instead of just having original characters — it’s quite popular now, so it makes sense for marketing. 

But I think it would have been a lot more interesting if she followed the myths more closely and set the world a bit better. 

Also, it could have been great if Zeus, Hades, etc were just nicknames for mafia heads (because this book is going for mafia vibes) — it could have been set in our world, New York or some imagined city. And then all of these stories could have had original characters but with storylines that followed the myths. 

Final Thoughts

None of this is to say that the Dark Olympus series is not worth reading — if you’re into erotica, and kink especially, or if you just need something fun and smutty to read, it’s a perfect choice. I’d advise you to space them out so you wouldn’t get fatigued of the style or world inconsistencies, though. 

Will I continue reading the sequels? Well, yes and no. I’m interested in the Zeus and Hera (or, well, Perseus and Calisto) book because the little bits of them I saw in other parts were enough to buy me in. But I’m in no rush — and I’m probably not going to read them all or care much about the world and the overarching plot. 

If you’re interested, start with Neon Gods. It’s a Hades and Persephone retelling with exhibitionism kink. I wasn’t a huge fan but many people love it and say it’s the best book in the series. 

For me, personally, that title goes to Electric Idol — it’s exactly what I want it to be (light, low-stakes, fun, smutty) and it became a bit of a comfort read when I don’t have brain space to read anything else.

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