Friday, May 25, 2012

[Blog Tour Review]: "My Wicked Gladiators"

My Wicked Gladiators by Lauren Hawkeye
Publisher: Avon Red (June 5, 2012)
Genre: Historical Erotica

Alba has spent her entire life pleasing others.

As an upper-class plebeian woman in Ancient Rome, that is her place in life. But when her husband Lucius, the owner of aprestigious gladiatorial school, uses her body as a bargaining tool to increase his fortunes, she is faced with doing as he demands, or finding herself on the street.

Forced to lay with masked gladiators chosen by Lucius, Alba is surprised to discover pleasure in being powerless. Only in the forbidden arms of Caius and Marcus does she find comfort, however temporary it may be.

But with Lucius’ demands looming and the threat of death for her gladiators ever-present, will Alba’s fleeting pleasures be enough? Or will Alba finally grab hold of her happily ever after, no matter the consequences?

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My Review:

Sex. Lies. Power. Blood. Orgies. Gladiators. Ah, the fun times of Ancient Rome! :)

My Wicked Gladiators is definitely not the book for the faint of heart. The sex is very explicit, involves some rough play, menage action, as well as some m/m scenes. To be honest, it's not usually the sort of book that I go for. But I was intrigued by the setting (Ancient Rome) and the cover is simply to die for. So I took a leap, stepped out of my comfort zone. And I'm glad I did. Because even though, yes, I had a few small problems with the book, over all I really enjoyed Lauren Hawkeye's newest release, and I will be looking for her other books!

This book is a bit unusual because instead of being told from the third person POV, it's from the first person—the heroine, Alba. And while I think having it told purely from her POV was needed to show how much she changed over the course of the book, how she was fighting to get her own freedom and desires fulfilled---I do wish that we had at least seen a few scenes from the “heroes” POV. Instead, Marcus and Caius came across as very flat and seemed more like the sex-toys for Alba that the rest of society saw them as. I didn't like this, as I wanted to like Marcus and Caius, and I wanted to know a bit more about their relationship with each other, their past lives and their characters. Instead, we see only the little bit that Alba learns about them.

Obviously the time period that My Wicked Gladiators is set in wasn't the best time for romance and free will. Slavery was rampant, screwing everyone around you purely because you could was common place, and the class levels in the society were very strict. Sticking true to the time and the way that things we run creates a slight problem for many readers today. How can we read about such blatant abuse and slurs—in a romance novel, no less? But I think, even though I don't approve of the way things went back then, Hawkeye did a wonderful job at bringing it to life.

The mistress of the house does not run away with her slaves, her gladiators, nor does she treat her slave girl like a best friend. And yet Alba did both of these things. At the beginning of the book, Alba was like any other well-off Roman wife; she listened to her husband without complaining, lay about letting everyone take care of her, and let others control her life, especially what was expected of her. But as the story continued, she quickly starts to change. She doesn't love her husband, hates what he's become. She'll do anything to leave him, to run away and live her own life, where it's not expected that she treat her own friend like a slave. I was glad to see her change, and happy to watch her finally get control over her own life. She showed a lot of courage and strength by doing this, and I can well imagine how hard that would be, especially during this time when women had no real power and were expected to answer to their husband and master.

4 STARS! Extremely sexy and honest to the point of being a bit rough to read, My Wicked Gladiators is a great historical read, and one that is unlike most of the others on the market. If you don't mind erotica, including some m/m sex scenes, and want something new to read, I highly suggest picking up this one! I know I wouldn't want to live in this time period, but reading about it is really quite interesting, and since it's not a common setting for romance/erotic novels, I enjoyed reading something new. I will be looking for more books by this author, as well as more books similar to this one—though I would prefer that it be in the usual 3rd person POV so I can feel more of a connection to all of the characters, not just the one. :)

I received an e-ARC of this book while participating in this blog tour, delivered via Edelweiss, in exchange for my honest opinion.


Until Next Time,
*TBQ's Book Palace is a member of both the Amazon and Barnes and Nobles affiliates program. By using the links provided to buy products from either website, I receive a very small percentage of the order. To read my full disclosure on the matter, please see this post!

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