Monday, May 14, 2012

SANDS OF THE ARENA by Jade Assante

Publisher: Siren
Date published: April 2012
ISBN 161926451X
Historical romance
Reviewed by Helen
Obtained via publisher

Aella, is a daughter of Boudicca. Her father Macrinus was a great hunter. Although she was a princess the Romans defeated their tribe, killed her father and took the three daughters into captivity. Aella becomes a gladiatrix and a favorite of the Emperor Tacitus. She is trained to fight by Braxus, a retired gladiator, who she admires and respects. When she meets the Emperor’s son, Brutus, they fall in love, even though she is only a slave and may die in the arena at any time.

The preceding paragraph makes it clear this book does not attempt to follow history. The characters are not historically accurate. Boudicca had two daughters, was married to Prasutagus, and lived about two hundred years before Tacitus was Emperor. I found it difficult to warm to either Aella or Brutus. I completely understand that if Aella hadn’t killed people in her day job she’d have been dead in chapter one. But knowing that, I found it hard to understand why she’d act in a manner guaranteed to throw her life away after the death of a girl she scarcely knew.

While the actions that brought the book to its ending are typical of that time period, they didn’t endear the characters to me either. Apart from that, and too many grammatical errors, the book was littered with weird word choices. Some were quite wrong, others just strange. Not merely not the best word for the sentence, but not helpful at all. “His cock stood before her in a glory.” “Her sword shot out like a banshee”. There were also four head-banging POV changes mid-scene.

Neither plot, characters, nor the writing seemed to me to be as good as should be expected.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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