Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
Fight or fuck, that was the decree of the Empress, and the way of life for her gladiators.
Lucan is an Unnamed – a slave with little skill, belonging to a house that is falling more by the day, until it finally crumbles. It is then that he becomes property of House Vulpinius, the Slaver-Priests. He is literally marked and claimed, bound by an Ebon that is rumored to only be broken by the truest of loves.
Little does he know that he’s part of a bigger plan, one in which he will become a puppet. Ignorant, he relishes being trained by Hektor Actaeon, primus palus and most favored by even the empress herself. Between blood, gore, battle, and love, their story winds together in an inseparable way.
But Lucan is simply a pawn in this game, and even his survival is not guaranteed.
“Pain is temporary,” Hektor’s words rang in the back of his mind. “Glory will resound through the ages.”
I simply cannot hide the fact that I have a thing for historical stories that involve warriors, particularly gladiators. There’s something so enchanting about the grotesque nature of their fights and the sheer violence that dictates their culture. So, of course, I was pumped for Slave Eternal.
The story is far from historically accurate, and the author acknowledges that in the beginning, mentioning that she takes liberties. With the basis of a gladiators life she creates a culture that is quite intriguing – and hot. Even the most evil of characters drew me in and made me engaged in their stories.
Unfortunately, it had some downfalls. For one, the editor missed a few things. For example, at one point during a Claim, the name of the one to be claimed is incorrect – it switches to a past character instead of the one it should be. Granted, it switches right back, but at the moment it takes you out of the story. Also, there were some typos peppered in, but nothing I couldn’t overlook. I think the thing that will lead most people to roll their eyes is the choice of words, most often during sex. I wish I could just tell authors that they do not need to crack open the thesaurus to find more words for cock or dick. Those are just fine, thank you. Furthermore, you do not have to embellish every description. It didn’t annoy me as much as I know it will annoy others, but sometimes I just wanted to say “for the love of God, you can just call it a cock. It doesn’t have to be a pole or man flesh.”
I’m also not a big fan of the blurb because it gives away some really great parts of the plot, and some of my favorite elements. Lover pinned against lover in a battle to the death? Talk about tension. If she had kept it a surprise, it would’ve had so much more impact. It’s still a very interesting plot line, especially when you throw in just a dash of dark magic to make everything all that more interesting. It wasn’t enough that I felt like it dominated the book, but it had a backdrop as to what made certain characters act the way they did at times. It just would’ve been better served, again, if the author didn’t make everything come out in the blurb.
Still, did this story quench my gladiator thirst? That it did! I would certainly read more of this series, and I hope we get to see Alession, the evil bastard that he is, get a taste of his own medicine. Or love. I’m cool with either.
The cover art by Fiona Jayde Media speaks to the story. With a coliseum in the background, it sets the stage for much of the story. My only point of contention is that the hairstyle is borderline mullet, but beyond that, it’s a nice cover for a pretty good story.
ebook, 266 pages
Published November 11th 2014 by Loose Id, LLC
seriesIn His Arena #1