Review: Belinda McBride – The Tenth Muse

29627227Author: Belinda McBride
Reviewer: Vivian
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Genre: M/M Fantasy
ISBN: 9781786514165

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Summary:
In a wicked game, the God of Love falls to his own arrow, and a gentle scholar learns how dangerous knowledge can be.

Aphrodite has had it.

It was bad enough that her son Eros walked a fashion show in drag, but did he really have to show the entire world his wings? Desperate to rein in the impulsive young god, she recruits the scholarly muse Rees to lure him back to Olympus until the scandal dies down.

After hundreds of years, Eros has finally located the reincarnation of his former love, Psyche. The only way to her heart is through fame, so the God of Love plans a daring campaign to win her back. Yet the closer he gets to Psyche, the more he’s drawn to a geeky young professor who came crashing into his life.

Eros drags Rees into his wicked world of high fashion and risqué parties, only to expose him to danger from an unexpected source. When Rees’ secrets come out, they threaten to destroy Eros’ love for him. Yet when Rees is kidnapped, Eros is forced to turn to the woman who set this catastrophe in motion—his mother, Aphrodite.
Review:
This is a sexy modern version of Greek mythology.

I am so glad that I bypassed my fashion catwalk aversion to pick this up. I’m not enamored with the industry and get no thrills from gossip or social media tantrums, but the idea of a mashup with Greek mythology and previous good experiences with McBride convinced me.

AND… it was beyond, totally exceeded expectations. Like outta the ballpark, not just a homerun.

First, hands down the best modern representations of Greek gods I’ve read. They’re still in character, not rewritten as humans, and they rocked. McBride took all those traits and interpreted them correctly giving them relevance. Not just one or two characters, but a nice chunk of the pantheon.

So, you have immortals, some hidden, some hidden in plain sight, existing and carrying on. Grudges, prior experiences, and allegiances and disgruntlements are still in play. This is political because Mt. Olympus was political; there was always something going down and someone not happy about it. The drama is built into the pantheon, they reflect humanity and that hasn’t been forgotten here.

Eros, a fertility god and the personification of lust set loose, well, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that there’s parting going on, people hooking up, and some bruised feelings here and there. And watch out if he brings out the bow. Needless to say, it is imperative to keep one’s cover when canoodling with the mortals. Therefore, bringing undue attention is frowned upon and the gods are not known for their rational responses.

BAM! Excitement, frolicking and all around frivolity is present. But, after lifetimes some things get boring and others are just as obsession inducing as they always were. Cue the heartbreak. *sigh*

 

In all, he was still on the topside instead of pushing up daisies in Tartarus, so loneliness aside, he was doing pretty well.

 

There were so many ways this could slide into easy tropes and blah, blah, blah until the end. It didn’t. A whole bunch of twists and turns, and don’t worry a mastery of Greek mythology isn’t necessary because there are plenty of explanations. What ends up happening is a rather sophisticated hurt/comfort theme under a glossy veneer. The histories surrounding the characters are dramatic and how McBride navigates it is both honest, tender, and at times humorous. It’s ingenious, a breath of fresh air into the world of gods.

Overall, a gifted interpretation that goes beyond the superficial to unveil the humanity in Greek deities.

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