The writing and world building:
Perfect, absolutely faultless prose and dialogue. I can only sit back and admire the execution of this novel.
It is ever so easy to immerse yourself in this era with the poetic descriptions setting the scenes of historical Rome. The phrasing and dialog is in harmony with the era, and although it is authentic , it had me confused, stuttering over the meanings and rushing off to Google search certain phrases.
I am oblivious to ancient Roman culture, so this was a great education. The authors research and knowledge of Roman history, ancient languages carried out to pull this off boggles my mind. I applaud the authors in their brilliance.The Plot
Engaging to a point, filled with treacherous back stabbing, murderous plotting and debauchery. The Romans where a rather indecent lot who tend to seek their own gains regardless of others, especially ones they own. It is with a heavy heart that you learn the true depth of evil disregard these rulers had over their …assets.
The plot is evolving but rather transparent, so not too many shock horror OMG moments. I also found it unwieldy and confusing with emphasis being placed on the secondary characters a lot of the time, when it should have been developing the Felix Anazar relationship.
Do not fear my romance junkies, It’s all wrapped up and presented quite nicely with a tidy little bow just for those who love a HEA. I could have done without the sickly sweet epilogue to be honest *gags*The Characters
Marianus: Despite his so called patience and dignity, Marianus is a pig and a rapist. There is absolutely nothing arousing about his relationship with Anazar, nothing! His character is very one dimensional and flat, without substance or consequence. He could have and should have been more developed, he is a nothing character, a weak wraith.
Alea: The Domina, totally transparent in her motivations. Yep, saw that one coming from the beginning.
The Gladiatrix: secondary characters who feature dominantly. I struggled to figure who was who with their overly complicated mythological names - necessary I know, but not easy to follow. Each with their own story of horror and abuse, it unsettled me but it also gives credence to Anazars relationship and kinship with these woman.
Felix: Did not win me over at all. He is nothing but a snivelling little snot with a sadistic craving for scandal. No-just- NO!
Anazar deserves so much more than this promiscuous little twerp and his box of USED dildos.
Anazar: A revered gladiator who has had his spirit and fire beaten out of him. He submits willingly to EVERYTHING without a fight because he has no choice. It’s not easy reading, his treatment is often violent and despicable. There is no choice for the reader not to sympathise with this man.
To sum it up, I liked the book for the writing and graphic imagery. All the characters lacked for something, some more than others. The romance between Anazar and Felix is fickle and unbelievable; I just do not see the attraction between these two at all. Toward the end I just didn’t care what that relationship was developing into.
There just didn't seem to be a fixed focus in this unwieldy plot.
If this had been set in modern times without the perfect prose, this would have been a total bust for me.