Book Review: A Veil of Gods and Kings by Nicole Bailey

About the Book:

Title: A Veil of Gods and Kings

Author: Nicole Bailey

Series: Apollo Ascending #1

Page Length: 347

Publication Date: April 27, 2022

Synopsis: A god fighting his fate. A prince burdened with secrets. And a romance that could end in flames.

Apollo is a deity… almost. Half mortal and refusing to take his position as god of the sun, he spends his nights drowning out haunting memories and his days avoiding responsibilities.

Until his father forces him into an ultimatum:

Ascend immediately.

Or spend the year mentoring under the obnoxious Prince Hyacinth.

Forced together, Apollo and Hyacinth grapple with their mutual disdain for each other.

But what starts as a kindling of irritation begins to burn into something new. A spark that, if it turns to flame, could incinerate everything they’ve always protected.

A reimagining of the Greek myth of Apollo and Prince Hyacinth, this NA, enemies-to-lovers fantasy series is a whirlwind journey full of romance, intrigue, and enthralling characters. 

LINKS:   Goodreads   |    Amazon   |  

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My Review:

A Veil of Gods and Kings is a fantastic start to Nicole Bailey’s Apollo Ascending duology. A retelling of Apollo and Hyacinth’s romance, the story is told from multiple perspectives, which I really liked.  Each character has a strong voice, and it’s great to see the story from each of their points of view.  I also like how vividly the author brings well-known characters to life so that they are familiar but also feel totally new and fresh.  Apollo, Temi, Ares, and others are exactly what I expected, and yet there are layers to them that I found surprising and delightful.  

This is the most layered characterization of Apollo that I’ve read, and I really loved his character.  He’s charismatic and funny and self-deprecating, and underneath it all, he’s so sensitive and sweet.  He is desperate to be free of his all-powerful father and to maintain his autonomy, which is what propels him through much of the story.  There are so many sides to Apollo, and I became really invested in his story. Hyacinth is also dynamically crafted, and though he has the support of his father, he faces tremendous pressure as the future leader of his kingdom.  He has a lot to prove to others and himself.  I like how both of these men grow throughout the book and learn what is most important to them. 

As in her previous series, the author is so skilled at creating vivid and immersive worlds. Her use of sensory language, metaphors, and imagery create a setting and characters that are so easy to visualize.  It’s the kind of story you become so engrossed in that you struggle to put it down. I also really like the symbolism throughout the story and the examination of many different relationships from friendships to family bonds to romantic connections.  

The sibling relationships are one of my favorite parts of the story.  Apollo and Temi are so close, and their devotion to each other is lovely.  The way they tease and have fun together is wonderful, and I love that they are so close.  They can be totally honest with each other, and they always have each other’s backs.  This is so different from the other relationships in Apollo’s life, and it stands out as the most important and true.  Hyacinth and Epiphany have a similar relationship, though they have more secrets between them than Apollo and Temi.  

I also really like the growing friendship between Temi and Epiphany.  These young women are kindred spirits, and I like how they encourage each other to take chances, fulfill their dreams, and find happiness.  They develop such a great bond, and relate to each other in many different ways although they are quite different. It’s interesting – all of these characters – Apollo, Hyacinth, Temi, and Epiphany – are trapped in their own way, and it’s fascinating to see how they each deal with their situations.  

There are two romances in the story, and I adored both of them! The enemies-to-lovers romance between Apollo and hyacinth is slow-building and has tons of chemistry. I like how Apollo and Hyacinth slowly begin to see each other for who they really are.  They learn a lot about each other and from each other, and to see them go from despising each other to begrudgingly respecting each other to becoming attracted to each other is wonderful. Plus, they have the best banter.  Their conversations are never dull, and they’re both so sharp and acerbic.  It makes for many witty scenes filled with sexual tension and tons of swoon-worthy moments!  

The other romance in the story is more of a forbidden, brother’s best friend love story, and I’m so eager to see this couple together!  They have known each other since childhood, and they both seem to have carried more than friends feelings for years.  However, their social status and familial expectations very much keep them from acting on their feelings.  There is so much yearning between the couple, and I’m hoping we’ll get more of their story in the next book. 

Political intrigue, familial expectations, forbidden romance, the fear of punishment from the gods, and more make for an engrossing and exciting read, and after that ending, I can’t wait to see what happens next!  Apollo’s journey is not over, and I have a feeling the stakes will only get higher and more dangerous! 

Special thanks to Nicole Bailey for providing me with a copy of the book.  All views are my own.


Favorite Parts:

  • The romances!
  • The character development.
  • The sibling relationships.

Favorite Line:

We have similar perspectives; we’ve just landed on different conclusions.


I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy Greek mythology retellings, fantasy, or romantasy!

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