Monday, February 13, 2017

Love Me Hard

"I am Athena. 
Before that I was Thea, singer and slave and lover of gladiators. 
Before that I was Leah, daughter of Benjamin and Rachael of Masada. 
I am as mortal as you, you common little man. 
And I fear no one."
--Kate Quinn, Mistress of Rome

Genre
: Adult Historical Fiction
Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 470
Publication Date: April 6th, 2010
Source: Borrowed
Previous Books in Series: First in series of 4 companion novels
Find on: Goodreads | Amazon

My Thoughts

The Belle
This book sat on my Goodreads TBR shelf for quite awhile. I had inspiration one day to purge my TBR there because it's so unused and I wanted to either read these books or delete them. I've been on a historical fiction binge and a lot of books on there were of that genre so Mistress of Rome immediately jumped out. And wow. This was one of those unexpected and wonderful experiences while reading that made me so happy I finally picked up this book.

Mistress of Rome takes place over about a 15 year period starting in AD 89. I didn't know it was going to be this far back in history so I was immediately intrigued and excited. Thea is the main character who is a slave to our villain Lepida. And holy hell is she a villain. Spoiled, vapid, self-absorbed with an ego to rival all Emperors of Rome combined. Thea is intelligent, strong, and fearless. A slave by terrible circumstances she survives by strength of will. In 89 AD Emperor Domitian is ruler and he loves the gladiator games. Lepida's father organizes the battles and Thea is forced to watch while accompanying Lepida. At the games she sees another slave...a man who forces people attention by the way he fights against the death that was ordered for him. He soon becomes a champion of the Games.

Thea and Arius--the gladiator--have a subtle yet intense romance. While it wasn't overstated or obvious in writing, it was these small intricacies and moments they shared that really had me believing in their deep devotion to one another. They are both victims of circumstance and the war that Rome has inflicted on so much of the land. I loved their dynamic and intensity so incredibly much. So, so much. I believed in it, I loved how it was forbidden, I was rooting for them so hard my heart hurt.

But all is not well in Ancient Rome as Lepida forces them apart out of jealousy and her hatred. From here the story fast forwards several years and without giving anything away plot wise, I can say I loved how the story evolved. It was emotionally painful while rooting for characters I wasn't sure would ever see each other again and crying with them during hard times and disappointments. I was so emotionally invested in this story and these characters that I couldn't stop turning the pages. The drama of Rome seemed like a soap opera at times but credible in that an Emperor can really do whatever he wants. I also really enjoyed that the story went over a number of years and we really got to see where the characters ended up.

Speaking of, the conclusion of this book was amazing. How everything panned out was almost perfect in my opinion. The only thing that made it lacking was a few characters didn't end up where I wanted them and I was super sad. But overall, such a fantastic book, I already want to re-read it, and I cannot wait to read the other books of the series!

VIP
If you love history, Ancient Rome, and a lot of drama...this book is for you.

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