Despite the problems of the earlier books, I still enjoyed them somewhat. I can't really say the same for this.
This book starts 9 months after the end of the last one with Kate a pregnant hostage of Cronus and Calliope/Hera. The Olympians face a war against Cronus that will most likely end in their deaths, as well as all of humanity's. Except Kate is given a chance to save her child and humanity if she just chooses to be with Cronus. Of course, her entire family will still die. But Kate is hoping to find a way to save everyone.
I still cannot get past how creepy Kate's relationship with Henry/Hades is. The only reason she was born was to be his wife so he wouldn't die. She was born to replace her older sister, Persephone. And Kate was tricked into choosing that path by thinking her mother was dying of cancer and that passing would allow her to save her mother. She was not told the truth about her mother, her family, or even the reason she was born. We're told that her mother, Henry, and her family were giving her a choice in the matter, but was she really? The only one I really remember giving her real opportunities to choose her fate without any form of manipulation present was James/Hermes. Kate claims that she loves Henry, but it seems more like an interesting case of Stockholm syndrome. She's told this guy will die if she doesn't choose him. That knowledge definitely wouldn't affect anyone's decision. Nope, not at all. They also are horrible at communication. Both come up with plans, but refuse to tell each other about them.
And then there's Kate's mother, Diana/Demeter. The woman who gave birth to Kate to replace her daughter so her brother/friend wouldn't die. Who raised her to be his husband without telling Kate the truth, which she claims was done because she learned her lesson with Persephone and didn't want to force Kate into it. Also so that Kate would have the best chance at survival. Because not telling her the truth so she knows what she is getting into and giving birth to someone who is not immortal is really the best way to prepare someone for a test that has killed every person before her. Yet, somehow, Kate thinks Diana is a wonderful mother and doesn't blame her for anything. Heck, Kate says she doesn't think she could be as good of a mother as Diana. If she can't even be better than Diana, I fear for the child.
Walter/Zeus is also horrible here. We get the reveal that
. Oh and he also had Ava/Aphrodite pretend to help Calliope so that he could get information. Most of the crap that happens in this story can be traced back to him. And yet, he doesn't get nearly enough blame at the end. Kate yells at him and is angry at the end, but we're told that she's going to work on forgiving him. So it didn't really feel like he learned anything.
Ava was vilified by Kate for joining with Calliope to save her husband's life. I'm not saying that what Ava did was absolutely right, but it's very understandable. Her husband was going to die, and she was given a chance to save him. The complete hatred that Kate feels for her was ridiculous. And then
The difference in treatment between Calliope and Cronus is also interesting. Calliope is completely and totally hated, called a bitch repeatedly, and is never forgiven
. Cronus is also hated, but no one seems to speak as horribly about him. I think he was called a bastard once, but it's nowhere close to how many times Calliope gets called out. Kate also keeps sympathizing with him and trying to strike a truce between the gods and him. Calliope would still be punished, but he should really get a chance to be free. I mean, he only killed millions of people, kidnapped Kate, and held her hostage.(show spoiler)
The use of pregnancy here was also annoying. It was a plot device to give her something else she instantly loves that she wants to protect. Her labor is magically sped up, although it is still painful. She then is returned immediately to her pre-pregnancy body. The baby is immortal, so it really only needs love, which luckily Ava can provide. Because we skipped the entire pregnancy, we never see Kate come to terms with a pregnancy that she did not want or plan. We go from finding out about the pregnancy to Kate about to give birth and loving it so completely. And one more thing to conveniently force Kate to stay with this marriage.
The character of Rhea was also very convenient. We were led to believe last book that she would be so difficult to find, which is why no one thought it was weird that Kate was gone for 9 months looking for her. But this book we discover that James can locate her instantly. Rhea refuses to help fight against Cronus, even though she claims to want peace.
There were just too many problems with the book for me to like it. The female characters were treated terribly, the relationships were horrible (both romantic and familial), and the deus ex machina used to solve the conflict was annoying.