Fae Sutherland, Marguerite Labbe; Kindle Edition
Published September 19th 2011 by Carina PressWhen Roman politician Caelius inherits a stable of gladiators, there is one who captures his attention above the others…one whose eyes gleam with hate, pride and desire.
Forced into slavery by Roman greed, Gaidres can barely conceal his contempt toward his new Dominus. Gaidres has a plan: kill Caelius and end the lineage of the Roman family that enslaved him. For his plan to succeed, he must make a show of respect and obedience—even when called on to service his master’s desires.
Gaidres is shocked to learn that in the confines of his quarters, Caelius doesn’t want to dominate his slave, but to be taken by him. The sex is explosive as they break society’s taboos and, to Gaidres’s dismay, they form a tenuous relationship. Even when Caelius learns of Gaidres’s plans for revenge, he knows he can’t live without his perfect lover. Is he willing to risk it all to tame his gladiator’s heart?
– Goodreads on The Gladiator’s Master
Uhm, let me rephrase that. Hot stuff alert! Really hot stuff alert. Yummy hot stuff alert.
*Snaps out of it*
Ok, so, the book. As the blurb tells you already, we’re playing in the roman arena, so to speak. And on this I will immediately comment, the writers did a lot of research, and gave us a really roman experience. We’re talking roman down to the subligar, way of life, family structure, all the good stuff. Of course, you can’t have romans without plotting, scheming, and smex. They were big on smex, hell, they were big on everything. So the book actually builds a tamer atmosphere then it could have, in all historical honesty. It’s a hot story, for various reasons I will elaborate on later on, but it could have been a whole lotta more where that came from.
Now, my feelings about the world of the novel are pretty easy to convey: loved it. It was fun, intricate with a spider-web of hidden agendas and so called political intentions, and spiced with the conflict that the Roman Empire couldn’t help but provoke. We’re talking slaves, gladiators that will fight till death for public entertainment, wild passions, and loss.
The plot brings us stories that just might be less fiction then one might expect, and by that I mean, I can totally see someone having each of the characters’ life, somewhere, somehow, in the vast history of the Empire. There are some parts that are actual historical facts, but I won’t tell you about them or I’ll spoil your reading experience. This being a (hot) romance, the focus falls heavily on the couple, on Gaidres and Caelius, on their relationship. It’s that sort of love/hate connection for a while, on one part, and pure unadulterated awe on the other. There’s some twists and turns, some dramatic in fact, but I dare say la piece de resistance in this book is the dynamics of their relationship, the nuances it goes through, the metamorphosis it triggers in both of them.
If there’s something slightly bugging me about the story, it’s that the ending felt a tiny bit rushed, while the middle was sort of slow-paced. If I were to pick my favorite part, rhythm-wise, it would be the beginning, but since I’m so partial to their couple dynamics, my favorite part actually is the middle. But that’s a very personal view, of course, because a really well made hot pair will trump a lot of other cards in my deck.
As characters, both Gaidres and Caelius are quite strong, each in his own way. Where Gaidres is rough, intense, and bursting with a sort of raw charm that is undeniable, Caelius is refined, smooth, strong in a velvety way; one could say they both are quite good representatives of their cultures, for they come from very different worlds. The chemistry between them is undeniable, and being a power-play shameless glutton, I was glowing with satisfaction each time they were together, and more and more as the story progressed, culminating with some of the most hot scenes I’ve read in a while. But what I also loved about their dynamics is the emotional connection, and its beautiful effect on them both.
I had to chuckle each time the vow of not taking a life was made between them; Caelius was very brave to throw himself at a lion’s mercy, I think. Of course, a huge part of the allure of the whole thing is that undeniable sheen of danger, Gaidres seems to have it as a second skin. Which is, of course, horribly hot. These guys make a fabulous couple, and a blow-your-mind-awesome&hot read, as well.
One thing that will grab your attention is the writing style. It’s perhaps a bit dry, a bit pretentious you could say; but it’s Historical Romance and a great part of its charm is exactly the fact it reads in a roman-esque way. Trust me, it’s a lot more “vulgar” then latin, you could cross your eyes and spin a bottle and still be lost if it were half as pretentious as the time’s language rigors would have demanded. In this, of course, I might be of different opinion then some, because the “read-easy”, sort of facile style of writing is cool by me, but not necessarily the best. So I really loved the writing, and felt it was a great match with the plot.
Aaaand, yes, you know it’s coming…that cover is SO yum!! Yum, yum yum.
All in all, the book is yum, yum, yum, and if you like smutty books with cool plots and awesome characters, you should check this out. (Also if you love some power-play, but only a bit, and without it getting violent-ish, just uber hot and possessive and fab, this would be a good read xD)
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