Katee Robert’s Wicked Beauty, the third installment in her extremely popular Dark Olympus series, is a modern feminist reimagining of the Iliad‘s Helen, Achilles and Patroclus.
In the previous two novels, Robert introduced readers to her version of Olympus, a glamorous city where the names of the 13 major Greek gods are titles that are either won or inherited. While the first two books in the series portrayed iconic mythological couples like Hades and Persephone, Wicked Beauty breaks with tradition to pair Helen of Troy with Achilles and Patroclus as all three characters compete to become the new Ares, the commander of Olympus’ army.
As second in command in Athena’s elite band of warriors, Achilles is a top contender to win the role of Ares. Patroclus, his best friend and lover, doesn’t have any desire to take the title, but he’s all too happy to join the games for the sole purpose of helping Achilles win. They’re self-assured and just the right amount of smarmy, which makes it doubly satisfying to watch their confidence falter when Helen enters the competition.
Helen has been a pawn in Olympus’ power struggles for her entire life, and she is over it. She’s struggled to get out from under the thumb of her manipulative ex, Paris, and is on the verge of being married off for political gain by her brother, who recently became the new Zeus. If she wins the title of Ares, she’ll finally be free to make her own mark on the world. Everyone doubts her, thinking she’s nothing more than a pretty face, and there are plenty of fist-pumping moments as she uses that doubt to gain the upper hand.
Wicked Beauty is an absolutely scorching, off-the-charts steamy romance. The combination of cutthroat action and sexual tension makes this book a fast-paced, unrelenting page turner. As the contest grows deadlier, it becomes clear that someone is out to permanently eliminate Helen. When Achilles’ and Patroclus’ protective instincts kick in, they add rocket fuel to both their relationship with Helen and the increasingly adrenaline-pumping competition.
Readers should prepare for a luxurious, sinfully delightful experience that they’ll try but fail to savor—because it’s all but impossible to put Wicked Beauty down.