Author ~ B. A. Brock
Publisher ~ DSP Publications
Published ~ 24 November 2015
Genre ~ M/M Fantasy
No one can outrun destiny or the gods.
In Epiro, a kingdom in Greece, Perseus is prophesied to be a great demigod hero and king, with a legacy that will shape the world of Gaia. When he was born, his grandfather exiled him, and his mother brought them to Seriphos, where she created an academy for demigod youth. Perseus trains there and waits for the day when he will be able to take the throne of Argos.
Despite potential future glory, Perseus’s fellow students think he is weak. By the time he reaches manhood, he has given up the hope of having any real friends, until Antolios, a son of Apollo, takes an unexpected interest in him. Perseus and Antolios fall in love, but Antolios knows it cannot last and leaves Seriphos.
Perseus, grief-stricken and lonely, rebels against the Fates, thinking he can avoid the prophecy and live his own life. But when the gods find him, he is thrust into an epic adventure. With his divine powers, he fights gorgons and sea serpents, and battles against his darker nature. Perseus strives to be his own man… but the gods have other plans.
The Greek myths - a great sprawling incestuous soap opera where pretty much anything goes and immensely powerful entities behave like stroppy toddlers who need a nap - have been hugely influential on Western fiction. The myths set up tropes we all recognise today . Mysterious orphans almost always have royal parents/special powers or both, the all time loser comes out on top, girls cooperate and smile nicely or they end up being turned into spiders or trees or what have you, princesses in danger are invariably gorgeous. Although the events can be disturbing, the world is familiar and the reader knows where they are in it.
Unless you’re reading The King of Storms, of course, where familiarity goes out the window. To enjoy this book it really helps if you either don’t know or make the effort to forget everything you know about the denizens of Olympus and their numerous and tortured progeny. It also helps not to have any preconceptions about the geography, history and culture of Greece. Several times in the first couple of chapters I experienced the mental equivalent of miscounting the steps on a ladder as I came across mundane things that were completely unexpected. Once I’d managed to detach my reading experience from my preconceptions and accept that I was reading a fantasy with a few familiar names, situations and terms scattered through it I was able to settle down and enjoy the ride.
The hero is Perseus, son of Zeus, and we join him mid battle in a Percy Jacksonesque training camp for the semi-divine. Brock writes decent action scenes and this was huge fun and filled with incident, setting the scene and establishing Perseus’s strengths and his antagonists. The little godlings have various types of magic and I very much enjoyed this aspect of the author’s writing. However, while the gods give they also take away, so for every enhanced sense or magical competency their children are also cursed with some kind of handicap. Perseus’s special skill is the ability to manipulate the weather to create storms, vortices and tornadoes, as befits the son of thunderbolt-slinging Zeus. His handicap takes a lot longer to become obvious. No spoilers but, bearing in mind who his dad is, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to the reader though it sparks off a bout of teenaged rebellion in Perseus that causes him to make some stupid, but plot dynamite, decisions.
I found it quite hard to warm to Perseus. This may have been because, while he was a hero in the Greek myth sense of the word, he was self-indulgent, selfish and sometimes unkind. I watched his adventures without any real tension and his successes, while welcome in a plot context, didn’t fill me with any pride in his achievements. But that might just have been my competence kink making itself felt.
Another thing I really liked about the story is that there’s a nod towards the ancient Greek attitude that sex was more about what you happened to be feeling like doing that day than the modern insistence on labelling everyone and putting them in boxes forever. The story follows Perseus from his teens to his forties and a man’s attitudes, needs and desires can fluctuate a lot – Perseus’ more than most. His great love is Antolios, a son of Apollo, but he has a keen appreciation for all sexes, shapes, sizes, even species. Readers who insist on fidelity or absolutely no lady bits, might find this uncomfortable, however most of the sex scenes are quite short. This isn’t an erotic novel but one that explores Perseus’ growth from stroppy teen to responsible adult.
As a first novel and the first of a series it was well written. I’ll probably pick up the second in the series when it’s available but I probably wouldn’t camp on the author’s lawn until it’s written.