On the Back of the Book
Passion. Treachery. Murder.
Orphaned by Rome's savage legions, Thea, a slave girl from Judaea, has learned what it takes to survive. She knows only violence until a chance meeting with gladiator Arius offers a shred of tenderness. But their bond is severed when Thea is sold again, condemned to rot in squalor.
Years later, a singer known as Athena betrays no hint of her troubled past. Catching the eye of the Emperor himself, she is swept into a world of decadence and depravity. But although Domitian fears betrayal from every side, he is unaware that the greatest threat lies next to him - a slave girl who has come to be called the Mistress of Rome...
Pre Read Thoughts
This is the third book that I've read because of a favourites challenge on Goodreads. This book came to my attention first of all because my mate Rea was showing off its pretty cover. She then said actually it's one of her favourite books so I thought I'd give it a go if I ever saw it because we have similar taste in books. So when I saw it sitting on a shelf in my local second hand book shop, I picked it up. It cost me either £1.90 or £2.50, I can't remember. The cover of the book is even more stunning when it's really in front of you. I love everything about it, the pictures, the fonts, even the texture. The synopsis just adds to my interest and makes me want to read this all the more. So far it's ticking all the right boxes and I can only hope that the writing lives up to my expectations.
Post Read Thoughts
This book just blew me away. It's so different to what I normally read but the book just hurled me into the action. The book is brutal in that sense, it has no qualms about chucking you into a really violent scene. The writing was incredible, everything was described so beautifully and none of the story felt like filler. I also enjoyed the alternate POVs but I don't get why when the author was changing charater it would sometimes say the name of the narrator and other times it didn't. I'm not picking faults, I just think I'd like an answer to that. The pace was also pretty darn good, I never felt bored and could've spent forever reading the book.
There are so many characters that I want to mention so I'm just going to give them all a sentence or two each. Some of them are fictional and some are based on Roman figures, I'm gonna let you guess who's real and who isn't. I'll start with Thea/Athena, I liked her, she was strong and vulnerable at the same time. She'd had to deal with so much in her life and she was still struggling with the repercussions of some of it but she never let it defeat her. Arius was another character that I enjoyed reading about. I adored him, I spent my time hoping that his next fight wouldn't be the one that killed him. Lepida was an interesting one, she was selfish, vain, rude, a slapper and many other things but I couldn't bring myself to dislike her. She added something to the story and I liked her for it. Lepida's husband, Marcus and their daughter, Sabina were both incredibly wise and deserved way more than what they got off Lepida. They were likable characters and Sabina made me giggle a couple of times. Marcus' son Paulius is one of my least favourite characters. He was a wimp, no seriously, he really needed to grow a pair. Finally I'm going to mention the Emperor himself, Domitian, he was evil, I didn't like him at all and I'd have hated having to serve him in any way.
Overall I think I've fallen in love with Kate Quinn's writing ability. This book was amazing, I don't think there was one thing that I disliked about this. It did everything I want a book to do... and more. The ending didn't disappoint like so many do and I find myself happy with the way things turned out in the end. I can't wait for Vix and Sabina's story to be published, I'll be at the front of the queue buying it.
A Final Note
Sex, violence, swearing this book has it all. It's an adult book and under no circumstances do I recommend giving this to anyone under 16. Some of the violence is incredibly graphic so also not one for the faint hearted. If you're neither of those things though you need to read this.