‘Wicked Beauty’ by Katee Robert: The story Helen deserved all along

Our Wicked Beauty book review explores the beautiful relationship Helen, Achilles, and Patroclus developed in Dark Olympus Book 3.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been this obsessed with a book series, but Katee Robert’s Dark Olympus stories have dug their fingers into me and refused to let go. And I’m certainly not complaining.

It started out innocent enough with Neon Gods, which I was sure I would like simply because I have a lifelong fascination with Greek Mythology. I’ve always loved stories about Hades and Persephone, but I wasn’t expecting to be so enraptured by the Dark Olympus world. I wanted to watch the plot unfold as much as I wanted to devour all those spicy scenes.

By the time I jumped into Electric Idol, I knew I would read every single book in this series as soon as it came out. These were instabuys, for sure. The covers are stunning, the characters are complex, and the overarching plot continues to hold my attention.

I loved both of these books because I could relate to Persephone and Psyche on a personal level. Psyche, especially, was someone whose shoes I could easily slip into. Who hasn’t thought about meeting a dangerous rogue with a reputation for ruthlessness who suddenly can’t pull the trigger because you’re simply everything he’s ever dreamed of and more?

I know it’s not just me. Come on.

If you want to read my thoughts on the first two Dark Olympus books, you can hop on over to my Neon Gods book review and my Electric Idol book review. This Wicked Beauty book review will be waiting for you when you return.

I don’t read a lot of books about polyamorous couples for somewhat personal reasons, but I trust Katee Robert with my heart, and she did not disappoint. I can’t say I relate to Helen as much as I do with Persephone and Psyche, but I’d be lying if I said I don’t want to be like her when I grow up.

Helen is a beauty—we know this from Greek mythology and because, well, all of Olympus is aware of her striking features. When Zeus offers her hand in marriage to the next person who wins the tournament to become Ares, Helen proves she’s so much more than her good looks.

This is where Helen came alive for me. Instead of sitting back and letting the events of this book happen to her, she took her fate in her own hands by entering herself into the tournament. She would have a chance to win the title of Ares, as well as the ability to choose her own partner.

Helen has trained for this, and with a background in gymnastics, she’s strong and capable. I loved that she still struggled with some of the trials, though. It’s realistic considering most of her competitors are lifelong warriors. And when she does outlast her opponents, it’s supremely satisfying to see.

You are, of course, rooting for Helen to win the tournament for the entirety of the book, but the situation is made more complex by Achilles and Patroclus’ involvement. The former has wanted to become Ares since gods-know-when, and the latter wants nothing more than to see his boyfriend achieve this goal.

It’s easy to fall in love with Patroclus. He’s quiet, unassuming, brilliant, and a total overthinker. He is soft and gentle where Achilles is hard and bold. Patroclus knows how to make a good bet, but what happens when both Helen and Achilles have equal rights to the title (and his heart)?

Achilles is the very definition of asshole with a heart, and lucikly for me, that’s exactly my type. Achilles has a strong personality, but Patroclus softens him, humanizes him, gets him to slow down and think. These two are a perfect match for each other, even if they both think the other is too good for them.

Enter: Helen. In another book, this would’ve been a love triangle, but Katee Robert knows what we want—more threesomes. What I found so interesting about this triad is that each person stayed true to themselves, complementing each other in a way you wouldn’t expect. Helen truly was the missing puzzle piece in this relationship, and all three are stronger as individuals and as a unit because they found her.

Despite there being jealousy and miscommunication and even some outright betrayal, these three worked through their problems by both talking it through and fucking it out of their systems (the best way to solve problems, tbh). Mistakes are made, but never does one person become the bad guy. Never is there not light at the end of the tunnel. This is polyamory at its finest, and if all threesomes were like this one, I would certainly read more of them.

Like all Katee Robert books, this one is sexy as hell, but I also found this one to be the most plot-heavy. And please believe me when I say that’s a compliment. I don’t always need plot to enjoy a book, but Wicked Beauty perfectly balances the spicy with the story. I was as interested in seeing the culmination of the tournament as I was seeing Helen, Achilles, and Patroclus fall in love.

It even moved the overarching story forward by leaps and bounds. I don’t want to write too much about it because I want to keep this Wicked Beauty book review spoiler-free, but there are a few newcomers that are certainly cause for concern. It’s strange for me to say, but I’m as interested in Radiant Sin for Apollo and Cassandra’s story as I am for their spy shenanigans (spynanigans?).

Before we wrap this up, I want to mention two standout characters in this book. I’ll start with my least favorite first—Paris. He is your typical narcisstic abusive ex-boyfriend, and he is literally the worst in every possible way. He’s arrogant and cruel and slimy and disgusting. He’s definitely a character you love to hate.

On the other hand, there’s Atalanta. I swear, I would do anything for her. I love her playful attitude, that cockiness that rivals Achilles, and the way she’s treated like a capable warrior on equal footing (unlike the way everyone else treats Helen). In the Katee Robert interview I posted yesterday, she hinted that Atalanta might end up with her own novella, and I am literally on my knees begging for it. PLEASE. The world needs this, Katee.

In my Electric Idol book review, I said it rivaled Neon Gods in every way, and Wicked Beauty proves it wasn’t a fluke. This series is consistently sexy and interesting, full of nuanced characters and bold political machinations. You’ll fall in love with every relationship and find yourself champing at the bit to find out what happens in Olympus next.

Radiant Sin‘s February release date can’t come soon enough.

‘Wicked Beauty’ published on June 7, 2022

Buy Wicked Beauty by Katee Robert from Sourcebooks, Bookshop.org, Book Depository, or Amazon. You can also add it to your Goodreads list.

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