by Aimee Carter
Rating: I really liked it
For millennia we've caught only glimpses of the lives and loves of the gods and goddesses on Olympus. Now Aime e Carter pulls back the curtain on how they became the powerful, petty, loving and dangerous immortals that Kate Winters knows.
Calliope/Hera represented constancy and yet had a husband who never matched her faithfulness....
Ava/Aphrodite was the goddess of love and yet commitment was a totally different deal....
Persephone was urged to marry one man, yet longed for another....
James/Hermes loved to make trouble for others-but never knew true loss before....
Henry/Hades's solitary existence had grown too wearisome to continue. But meeting Kate Winters gave him a new hope....
Five original novellas of love, loss and longing and the will to survive throughout the ages.
I was actually rather surprised I like this book as much as I did. Reading these novellas gave me a new appreciation for the characters and helped me reach a greater understanding of why they are like they are. It was raw and beautiful and heartbreaking. I always loved mythology and while I knew about the drama surrounding the gods, this takes it to a whole new level. This doesn't sugar coat the heartbreak or damage these characters went through. There wasn't always that "happy ending" they were hoping for. While I may not have always agreed with their actions, at least I could understand "why".
It's not surprising that I despised Hera in the first two books. She was mean, vindictive and jealous. But after reading this book, I can't help but feel so incredibly sad for her. In the previous books, we always see her as the villain, when in reality she is also the victim. While I don't agree with many of her decisions and I do believe her own pride, jealousy and love for power helped shape her, the actions of many others, especially Zeus, made her who she is. All she wanted was to trust in him and he threw it back in her face. While I feel bad for her, I do believe she could have made better choices. However, reading her story helped me come to a better understanding of how she came to be.
Aphrodite's story is of how she really came to be Hephesteus' husband and Ares lover. While most of the other gods/goddesses don't get a happy ending, Aphrodite gets everything she wants. I enjoyed her story and how she comes to learn about the different types of love, but ultimately, she's spoiled rotten and I believe Hephaestus deserved someone so much better.
I have a feeling this novella was supposed to make me feel bad for her, and while on one hand I do feel bad for her arranged marriage, ultimately I found her selfish. She could have easily made better choices, yet every single one was out of pure selfishness. I understand that she wanted to be happy, but she never even gave Henry or the Underworld a chance. One day doesn't count. After that first day she just gave up which wasn't fair to him. Then, every decision after that was so that she could be happy, and while I wanted her to be happy, it shouldn't have been at the expense of everyone else. She would constantly feel guilty and say how good Henry was, yet never gave him a chance. Ultimately, I think I came to hate her more.
In James' story, you get to meet new characters and I found them refreshing. I felt bad for him because he became the scapegoat for the Persephone fiasco and all he wanted was his family to care about him again. I liked learning more about his affair with Persephone and how that affected his relationships with his family, especially Henry. And I love how he ultimately becomes the hero.
Other than Hera's story, Henry's was the most heartbreaking. I did like him in the previous books but I've come to love him in this one. He's such a great guy, probably the best of all the gods/goddesses, and he deserves a happy ending. He not constantly trying to one up the others or manipulate them or hurt them in any way like the rest do to each other. He's the kindest one with the best heart and to be honest, I wanted to jump in there and give him a hug. We get to learn about his decision to fade and how it affects him. After his story, I can only hope that he finally get the happy ending he deserves in the third and final book.
What I ultimately loved about this book was how all the little details tied together between these stories and the previous books. I love that I got a better understanding of them and their actions, even if I didn't agree with all their decisions. Carter is a great writer and each person and voice was distinctly different and well-written. I think, even if you didn't absolutely love the previous books, you'll still definitely enjoy this.
All the best ♥