Seduced by the Gladiator - Lauren Hawkeye
Full Review to be posted soon at The Book Pushers. This is more like one and half stars - Quick thoughts and mini review. If I could sum one word to describe what this book was like for me - then it would be disappointing. It held so much promise, one it was set during Roman times and two it features a hero and heroine who were gladiators. Now you would think this would be a great combination and a great premise. But nope this was a huge and utter complete fail for me, and this is because it had the heroine, Lilia who was suppose to be the best gladiator in Rome. She's worked hard for the title of Lilia the Fierce but I really didn't see much of this - it was a lot of telling that she was strong and skilled and was able to handle guys much bigger and stronger than she was. But her status as the leading gladiator is threatened when another, Christus arrives from a competing Ludus and Lilia is afraid that she would soon become relegated and join the ranks of the other gladiators who sexually abused and bullied her when she first arrived. But Christus finds her very attractive and Lilia soon shares and responds in kind but their forbidden romance may threaten their position and lives. What I found really disappointing and kind of ranty because it is my hot buttons, was the fact, that Lilia is suppose to be this strong heroine, but throughout the entire book, we rarely see this. Yes, she states she's worked hard to get on top of the hierarchy of gladiators as well as surviving the abuse by the others. But this factor was diminished when there were hardly any scenes of her fighting or even training. When she was confronted by one of her tormentors unaware a few times, even though she was a warrior who should have been alert. Lilia is consternated that Christus becomes her protector which weakens her position, but there is a scene towards the end of the book which involves a big epic gladiator game for the death. There was a chance for her to get her vengeance and regain her agency and control of the past towards her tormentor but she decides not because he didn't deserve it. I was pretty miffed off because this wasn't not believable especially in a game for the fight for their lives. I did like the fact Christus stepped back and gave the chance to kill him, but Lilia's decision to decline and let Christus to do it was a huge disappointment. I also did not like the subtext and the message this had to the reader and it also fell into the pitfalls of strong heroines gone wrong. I think readers who enjoy this setting, but who wont care about the issues I highlighted may enjoy the book. And while I know this is an erotic romance - the sex could not carry the premise and it felt Spartacus lite, but without any real thought to the detail of the setting and period as well characterisation which was pretty weak for me.I really wanted to like this book, because I love different settings and periods but it was definitely not for me and I hate books that make me feel like going on a rantage.