Oh, these two. When they got together to write this book, they completely did something completely awesome. Beauty’s War blew me right the fuck away and left me gasping. Before we get started, let me just say I love this title. It means different things, depending on where you put the emphasis and what way you are thinking of. I love those kinds of titles, you know. Word play is so awesome, and I appreciate it so much.
Claire and Anna are taking on Roman mythology and modernizing it. I really like the way that they are doing it and spin that they are putting on it. Basically, you have two sides of the eternal war between good and evil. On one side, Jupiter and his sons, Mars, Apollo, and Hercules. On the side of evil, Pluto and his minions. Only these minions aren’t cute and yellow and probably don’t like bananas. The way that it works is gods and goddesses still walk among us, but not all of them know who they are. The goal, of both sides, is to find the gods and goddesses before the other side does. Pluto wants to either kill them or turn them evil, while Jupiter wants to save them and bring them back to their glory. If the deity in disguise dies, then they are reincarnated, but each time it happens, they add on the trauma of that death and their memories slip a little bit further into their deepest unconscious.
And to add to all that, Jupiter and his sons own and run one law practice in Rome while Pluto runs another, and they are frequently legal adversaries as well, as what opens this book shows. Pluto has been trying to get off a truly vile man while Mars has been trying to get him put behind bars. Sadly, Pluto prevails at this point. (Boooooo, hissssss)
While this is going on in one part of Rome, outside the Coliseum, very British Vicky and her best friend Susan are having a girls’ vacation. Vicky loves to draw, sketch, paint, and create art, Susan tolerates her doing it, but get bored watching her do it. So, when Susan asks if Vicky is done drawing the Coliseum, Vicky says sure, and they go off to get pizza. One of my favorite kinds too, margherita. Across the crowded restaurant, Mars and Vicky catch each other’s eyes and the connection is sizzling.
Mars immediately disappears off to tell his dad that he thinks he found another goddess, and Jupiter tells him to become her friend. I love Mars’ interior dialogue at this point where he is saying that he’s the God of War, not the God of Making Friends. That was hilarious, if you ask me. But, Mars pops into where he senses Vicky and manages to save Susan from a couple of lechs by saying he was there for their 3some. Again, I laughed. Spoiler, there wasn’t a 3some.
There are a lot of really terrible things that go on in this book. This isn’t really a nice, light, and fluffy romance. This is gritty and dark and occasionally tortured romance. Poor Vicky has a seriously shitty time of it. Seriously shitty. OTOH, I think Vicky is pretty damn fierce from the very beginning, just to deal with everything, and only gets more so. I think that she’s definitely Mars’ match. I like Mars too. I think that he’s a little arrogant sometimes, but, you know, god. What are you supposed to do? I think he sometimes gets blinded by what he wants versus what needs to be done, but I can see why he got that way when he did. I can’t wait to see what these two talented ladies come up with next in the series.
OMFG, what they do to poor Vicky. And not just once. I think Claire and Anna must’ve really hated her. Maybe they knew a Vicky who really pissed them off at some point because, damn. I mean, just damn.
I feel sorry for Bellona. I don’t excuse her actions, but I would probably have done the same thing in her place, but I still feel sorry for her. She was put in such a difficult place and loving someone more than they love you is always painful.
OK, that’s all for this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!