A Sammy Review: Unbound, Unbroken (In His Arena #2) by Nasia Maksima

Standard

Rating: 2.75 rounded up to 3 stars out of 5

Unbound UnbrokenDawn had broken hot over the Empress’s Grand Amphitheatre, and despite cooler winds coming in from the northern countries, the theatre itself held the day’s heat as though it meant to drive its occupants mad with fever. Still, the masses crowded the stands, drawn by fantastical Spectacles, each more gruesome and gory.

Titian is part of a bonded pair, a pair in which he is forced to be the submissive. But submissiveness is not Titian’s nature. Every bone in his body screams for dominance, but each gladiator has a role to play in the Arena, and that is his.

His opposite, Galadros is also one part of a pair. He, the stronger, desires to be dominated. But a gladiator of his stature and with his goals can not afford to bend for anyone.

That is until Alession works his magic to bind them together in an effort to create a tragic puppet show for the beautiful and feared empress. He’s failed once before. If he fails again, he will be met with no mercy.

“Do not regret. Every man makes his choices in the theatre. Some are right; some are wrong. Fewer can be taken back.”

In all honesty, I am slightly irritated with this book. For much of it, I felt like I was reading the first book over again. Situations were tweaked slightly, but the story of Galadros and Titian very much mirrored that of Lucan and Hektor. I was hoping for something different within the same world, as I think most people would with a sequel, but I didn’t get it. This aspect had the biggest impact on the rating, but that’s not to say that there weren’t good parts of the book.

Hidden in the background behind the mirrored story is a bit more of the plot. Alession is again the ultimate villain, but I really enjoyed getting to see him. There’s more to him than meets the page, and I appreciate that. He’s depraved and completely amoral, but I’d expect nothing less of him. I also want to know what is going on with the empress, and for this little hidden plot I will likely continue to read the series.

The author also does a really nice job of describing battle and some of the darker aspects of the story. House Menelaus and the Grotesqueries were incredibly alluring and sickening (though I kept picturing a giant squid for the last one, which didn’t really frighten me). And the sex, for the most part, is pretty hot and heavy, though some of the dirty talk borders on eye roll-worthy for me. I think the author would be benefited from cutting down on some parts of the stories and focusing on the point of the book.

Still, I will read the next book, if only to know more about Alession and the empress.

The cover art by Fiona Jayde Media is fitting for the story and how I’d picture Titian. My own quibble is that I swear the book says that Titian never wore his helm. Hm.

Sales Links:  Loose Id LLC |All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 309 pages
Published April 21st 2015 by Loose Id
ISBN139781623009212
edition languageEnglish

Series: In His Arena

A Sammy Review: Slave Eternal (In His Arena #1) by Nasia Maksima

Standard

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.

Slave EternalLucan 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.

Sales Links:   Loose-id LLC             All Romance (ARe)                  amazon               buy it here

Book Details:

ebook, 266 pages
Published November 11th 2014 by Loose Id, LLC
ISBN139781623006174
edition languageEnglish
seriesIn His Arena #1