Tracing the borders of fear and attraction, Eliza Robertson’s Demi-Gods is a daring novel that explores sexual attraction, fear and a bond that seems to be unbreakable. When I started reading the book, I had very high hopes for it, thinking that this a really a daring new novel after the world phenomenon of Fifty Shades of Grey. But as I got lost in the story, I realized that Demi-Gods had potential to be a brilliant book, but couldn’t live up to it.
It is the year 1950, and Willa’s mother has a new beau. The eccentric and handsome Eugene also brings along his sons, Kenneth and Patrick. From the outside, the family looks normal with beach days and drinks flowing. On the inside, while Willa’s sister Joan pairs of with Kenneth, the nine-year-old Willa is drawn to his strange and lonesome brother Patrick. At one side, you witness Willa’s mother breaking down at times, fighting with Eugene and showing interest in boys Joan’s age. On the other side, Willa and Patrick start a dangerous teenage game. As they grow up, Willa is swept up in Patrick’s cold and wicked games, including sexual encounters and scary instances.
Willa tries to understand and make her relationship with Patrick a little less messy, but nothing seems to work. His disappearances (Willa and Patrick have met only 6 times), his eccentric sexual behavior leaves Willa excited, stumped and heartbroken too. But she is unable to decipher the meaning of her relationship with him, and that’s the base of the story. Finally, a day comes when Willa tries to change the trajectory of their relationship, but will she succeed? Given that her own feelings for Patrick have always been cloudy?
Overall, I liked this book. It started off really well with the whole beachy background and happy childhood with misfit parents. This book had the potential to be a lot more than a story about two young people exploring their sexuality and individuality.
However, it turned into a combination of weird Fifty Shades of Grey & Emma Cline’s The Girls. I absolutely loved the scary chemistry that Willa and Patrick have. What I didn’t like was everything else apart from it. The story of Demi-Gods is splattered on pages and doesn’t make any sense by the end of it. It started trudging towards disappointment and an utter disaster by the end of it.