*I received an ecopy of this via Enchanted Book Promotions. This has not influenced my review.*
A superhero-supervillain romance, mental illness, family, friendship, hot sex, emotion—there’s so much to love about this book!
I didn’t go a very good job of reading the blurb though because I thought this would be about the actual Greek gods masquerading as modern-day superheroes/villains. It turned out it was actually about normal people with powers in a kind of alternate universe whose super names were based on Greek mythology. Now, I’m generally not a big fan of superheroes, and I didn’t take to either of the main characters immediately, but clearly I should’ve had some faith in this author because I ended up loving this.
Danny had quite a dark side for a superhero, but that was what made him an interesting and complex character. The book was basically about his plan to get revenge by trying to make Mal fall in love with him so that he could then break Mal’s heart, but the author did a good job of making me sympathize with and understand Danny’s situation and mindset before he set off on that quest (and then deepening that understanding as the story went on), so he was still likeable. Now, obviously his plan was not ok or a healthy way of dealing with things, but that was exactly it—Danny wasn’t ok or healthy emotionally at that point; he had depression, he was angry, he was struggling, his friends and family were worried about him, and I think he was kind of worried about himself but just couldn’t figure out how to fix things. I felt for him, even though I knew what he was doing was wrong, especially since it was clear that what he was doing wasn’t just about revenge, regardless of what Danny kept trying to tell himself. Danny was drowning, and Mal was the life-preserver he was desperately grabbing onto, his escape from everything. Plus, the only reason Danny felt so hurt and betrayed by Mal in the first place was because he already had some sort of trust or feelings for the guy even before everything that happened.
Mal was kind of the opposite—a villain with morals and a soft, caring side, plus emotional (and physical) scars of his own from his past. I felt for him too, knowing that he had panic attacks because of his past, that he felt like he didn’t deserve someone good because he was a villain, that he didn’t think anyone would ever just want him without getting something in return.
And oh my goodness, the sex between Danny and Mal was HOT. The chemistry between these two was palpable. There was also just a bit of dominance and submission between them, power play—one would take control, and the other would happily let them. That sort of thing has to be done right for me to be able to enjoy reading about it, and this book kind of toed that line for me at first because Danny was rather pushy before knowing if Mal would be ok with it, but then it was clear that both characters were enjoying it.
They were also just so damn cute together with great romantic chemistry as well. I couldn’t help but smile at their sweet moments when they let a bit of actual care and feelings slip even though their relationship was supposed to be just sex.
As for the mental illnesses, I can’t speak with certainty about the accuracy or quality of the rep, but I can tell you they seemed to be portrayed really well. Danny’s behaviors and coping mechanism weren’t all healthy, but they weren’t promoted as such. Things like medication, talking, how there’s no instant cure, and how anyone can be struggling or depressed regardless of how good their life may seem were all addressed. And Danny had amazing friends and family who were there for him and wanted to help. If everyone had friends and family like that, the world would be a better place.
“There are no rulebooks out there that say only people who look miserable and have a tough life deserve to be depressed. It doesn’t work that way. Just because you have a good job, and a crazy night job, and friends and family who seriously, seriously, man, love you . . . that doesn’t mean you can’t be unhappy.”
Last but not least, this isn’t a complaint from me, but I will note that this was kind of only part of a story since the main threads weren’t resolved. I didn’t mind though because it still had a climax and was plenty long and felt complete enough to work split up like this.
So yeah, between these two guys, their individual inner struggles, and their cuteness together, I couldn’t help but feel things while I was reading and get sucked into the book. And the heaviness of the characters’ struggles was balanced well with the sweet moments and the supportive relationship/friendship/family. I can’t wait to read more about Danny and Mal!
Anyone who likes superheroes and villains, sweet M/M romance, scorching hot sex, mental illness, and supportive friends and family.