REVIEWED BY J.S. FIELDS
Genre: fantasy (romance fantasy)
Pairings: m/m, m/f, f/f
Queer Representation: cis gay male, cis lesbian, bisexual male, pansexual
Rating: four stars
A reimagining of the Perseus myth from Greek literature, with all the demigod action and adventure one expects, with a lot of teen angst and penis-on-penis action thrown in for flavor.
Full disclaimer: I’m a lesbian. I don’t, as a rule, read M/M. I wouldn’t know what to do with a penis under any scenario, including but not limited to every single one presented in this book. As such, I’m not going to comment on the sex scenes, because other than clinical curiosity (Really? You can do that? Huh.), I don’t have too many thoughts on them. Well, I HAVE thoughts, but they’re probably not pertinent and they’re definitely juvenile.
KING OF THE STORM (hereafter KotS) isn’t so much a coming of age tale as it is a road trip tale, told over the course of a single lifetime. We get to follow mythological Perseus from his boyhood at school and his first crush, to seeing his grandchildren being born. We get to live through some of his most famous exploits (killing Medusa, etc.) while getting a deep look at his familial relationships, desire for a ‘normal’ life, and romantic entanglements.
If you look at the plot as more of a soul mate trope journey, instead of a hero’s journey, the book stands on its own a lot better. I was frustrated at first because the battle scenes seemed skimmed over, especially the more well known ones, in favor of romantic relationships and sex scenes, but I think the author might have been working off the assumption that we already know Perseus the hero, now it’s time to know Perseus the complex human. I can get behind that.
Is it romance or is it fantasy?
This is the question I kept asking myself. The book sets itself up as romance during the first few chapters, but once Perseus leaves school we’re treated to much more of a hero journey. Perseus makes friends, dodges prophecy, and gets trailed by gods wherever he goes. He gets assigned a wife. He has kids. His kids have kids. He has adventures. A lot more gets packed into the middle and end of this story than I’d anticipated, and I think it made the book a much richer read because of that. Yes, there is romance, and yes, they’re soul mates, and yes, it’s HEA, but Perseus has to really struggle, people are lost along the way, and the author use a neat blend of Greek mythology and Greek history to get us there.
Sexy time, sexy time
For those reading for this part, while Perseus is canonically bisexual, only the sex scenes with men are described. His relationship with his wife is fade to black throughout the book, which I was kind of grumpy about. After half a book of penis I was looking forward to a little muff action (even if there was a penis involved), but alas, twas not to be. We do get lesbians towards the end, but only innuendo action (though we do get a f/f wedding!). This book will do well with the m/m community of readers, especially those looking to get out of standard contemporary and into different worlds.
As a final note, I appreciate seeing more m/m books written by male authors. There isn’t anything wrong, of course, with m/m being written by women, but I know gay male readers have been clamoring for more ownvoices m/m work. The sex in this book is not fetishized in any way, and I didn’t feel voyeristic reading it. There wasn’t an ‘alpha’ or any type of structured power play, and the sex scenes read, between the two main characters, very much like two people in love.