MtSnow reviews ‘Tartarus’ by Eric Andrews-Katz, paperback released December 13, 2016. Ebook/Kindle editions released December 20th, 2016. Published by Bold Stroke Books, 277 pages.
Why MtSnow Read this Story – I have read the author’s tongue-in-cheek gay 007 series – Agent Buck 98 Adventures. At first I thought it was a continuation of that series. But, after the first few pages, I realized Tartarus is a completely different universe. More of an urban fantasy. Saying that, it helps that I have always had a fascination for Greek mythology, and this gave me an excuse to immerse myself in something a bit different.
Note: a copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Long ago, the Olympian Gods conquered and nearly destroyed an earlier race known as the Titans. Echidna, Mother of Monsters, was imprisoned in Tartarus. Centuries later, she has escaped. Entering the modern world, Echidna finds the old Gods are gone, and vows to destroy every descendant of the Olympians.
In the contemporary Pacific Northwest, Adrian and Annelise have lived comfortably—unaware of their Olympian birthright and its significance. When Adrian is introduced to Zack, sparks fly and their initial contact slowly turns to romance.
Echidna unleashes a brutal attack and Zack reveals his Divine lineage. Now he must teach the twins about their own heritage, and how to wield their unique powers for the battle to come. The final battle between Titans and Olympians will be held in the Underworld. Modern weapons have no place and only magic can prevail.
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The first impression I got of this story was that it was a fantasy, because it begins with a vivid passage of mythology right from the start. But then, after that, I found myself introduced to our main character Adrian in modern-day Seattle. And engrossed in his squabbling with his slightly jaded sister Annelise. Neither of them seems to have found ‘the one’ (nor are they really looking), but they are really good at throwing insults at each other, as siblings do *grins*. So, basically, they are just making their way through life. As I read, I began to realize Adrian is actually an uninspired artist whose inspiration returned after some homoerotic dreams.
After meeting the wood carving artist Zack, the story becomes even more interesting, and the reader is given a glimpse that this person is going to be a pivotal character, but not quite sure what role he is supposed to play, as he at first seems quite a bit older than Adrian. It was surprising to me that Adrian and his twin are 48 and Zach is 60, because many characters in the books I read are much younger. This might not appeal to every reader, but it was actually refreshing to me. And 12 years really isn’t that much age difference!
Annelise, Adrian’s twin sister, happens to own a successful art gallery, and Adrian tends to fool around with art, until out of the blue he seems to get inspired by some visions and dreams full of Greek mythology, which vividly describe the war between the Olympians and the Titans. (I did wonder as to whether much of his inspiration came from toking on his marijuana vape as often as he does. Lol)
Adrian and Annelise are both interesting characters. Adrian more so, as Annelise doesn’t seem to be chosen to get in touch with her Greek roots as much as Adrian.
I also liked the friendship shown with the supporting characters throughout the story, as it helped move events along believably without it dragging out and seeming like it was all about Adrian.
There is a bIt of blood and gore in the story, but it all ties in with the events rather well. The location of Seattle as well as the Island of Bainbridge make for a good dark, dreary, gloomy and wet atmosphere that only adds to the story
The author must at the very least have the heart of an artist, that is, if he isn’t actually one, because, as an artist myself, much of his description vividly inspired me, and became so real I could see the various drawings and paintings in my mind’s eye very easily.
This story is well paced, seems to be well researched and features a more mature couple than typical in most of today’s gay romance. This story, to me, was not exactly a romance, but more of an adventure/quest for our hero of the hour, Adrian. I could see it becoming the start of a series very easily, as it’s not your typical HEA, but more of an HFN for the characters.
Great story! I definitely recommend the book for those that enjoy urban fantasy, want something a bit different, and especially if interested in Greek mythology.
8/10 pots of gold = 80% recommended and converts to 4 of 5 stars
Eric Andrews-Katz lives in Seattle. His first story, “Mr. Grimm’s Faery Tale”—a 2008 Spectrum Short Fiction Award nominee—was published in So Fey: Queer Fairy Fiction. Other works are included in: The Best Date Ever, Charmed Lives, Gay City Vols. 2, 3 & 4 (co-editor of Vol 4), Best Gay Romance 2015, The Advocate, Chelsea Station, and the Seattle Gay News, where he was a contributing writer. His first novel, The Jesus Injection, and its sequel, Balls & Chain (Agent Buck 98 Adventures) are from Bold Strokes Books.