Katee Robert is clearly a master of writing sexy sex times, but reading this novel after reading Neon Gods makes me realize that it’s not (always) enough to have PWP–you also need to have characters and stakes that you can get behind.
While I get the outlines of the loose retelling of The Little Mermaid featuring Ursa (Ursula), Alaric (Eric), and Zurielle (Ariel) in a FFM D/s/s, I’m not quite sure that this fully fits into the Thirteen Gods of Olympus universe that Neon Gods takes place in, even though a lot of the setting is borrowed (Hades rules the Underworld, the other Greek gods rule the city of Olympus). I get the sense that Robert wiped a bit of the slate clean to give herself a bit more room to breathe–Hercules and Meg, both of whom are connected to Hades, don’t appear in the new one that I remember.
I know a lot of people disliked this one because of how Alaric and Ursa scheme to trick Zuri into running away to enact their revenge on her father, but my bigger issue was that Zuri never struck me as a character worth the lengths to which either of those two go. She’s only there for a week, so they have to fall in love with her by day two or three, by which point I was still in the “…her?” type mindset.
Sure, there’s lots of imaginative inclusive acrobatics that everyone gets up to, but I definitely felt myself wishing that I felt more of the emotional resonance that Alaric and Ursa were forever inner monologuing that they felt!