It is with great pleasure that I offer a book by a good online friend... months after I finished it. (Sorry, B)
This is a picaresque sword & sandal saga set in mythical Greece that follows the life and adventures of a man loosely based on Perseus. The story hits many of the bullet points of Perseus's legend but B.A. builds a life and world beyond the story.
The novel begins at an academy for demigods vaguely reminiscent of the Percy Jackson series, but quickly abandons this conceit to delve into the life of the protagonist. By the end of the book, Perseus is middle-aged so it's more Homer than J.K. Rowling in scope.
Magic and world building are both in full effect. While this world is modeled after ancient Greece, there is divine magic which is cool without ever being used as a "get out of jail free" card in sticky plot situations.
I would not say this is a romance, but the character arc that spans Perseus's life is subtle but interwoven throughout the tale. He is fated to wed Andromeda, and does, but his true romantic interest is Antolios, a son of Apollo. Their relationship has plenty of obstacles and quarrels over the years with partners alternating between being distant and longing for each other's company.
Brock takes us through the myth that made Perseus's career up to his marriage to Andromeda and beyond. Normally heterosexual sex is a matter of course, but given the sub-genre (M/M fiction) and publisher (Dreamspinner) this seems paradoxically bold to give full treatment to a bisexual main character.
There's a level of fearlessness to the depictions of sex which are integral to the concept of the book. Perseus is tormented by his father's (Zeus, if you forgot) philandering ways and is constantly driven to sex against his better judgment. While it might seem gratuitous to some readers' tastes, it is never glorified and the real repercussions are addressed in the text. It ranges from tender scenes,random hookups, prison rape, and every shade in between.
The novel goes on to describe Perseus's post-Kraken adventures. There's plenty pf action and Brock writes fast-paced, concise fight sequences using physical placement and description rather than abstractions like "fought valiantly". There's an almost perfect balance between action and character development scenes in this book.
I would have liked to see more development of the female characters, particularly Andromeda. The chapter from her POV was one of my favorites from the first part of the novel but she gradually faded into a minor character. I felt there was chemistry between her and the protagonist and more opportunity for agency, but to be completely fair Perseus and Andormeda had a ton of kids.
Not to spoil the ending but in the tradition of Greek drama this book is a comedy rather than a tragedy. We reach a point of closure with the main character that ties into the beginning.
Bottom line: If you're a fan of re-imagined Greek mythology or M/M fiction that isn't afraid of crossing genres, you should check out King of Storms.[B.A. Brock is both an author and a well-known reviewer in this genre and you can check out his website here. He's even reviewed one of my books. Circle of life etc.]