The first word that came into my head when I finished reading this was: WOW. Roma Victrix is just as good as Gladiatrix, if not better. But again, a warning: there is some swearing and slightly more mature stuff in this book, but if you skip it then you’ll be alright!
Years have passed since Lysandra was made Gladiatrix Prima in Halicarnassus. Now she’s the founder of the Deiopolis, a haven for women and a place to worship Lysandra’s goddess, Athene. But she’s turned to drinking and had almost completely stopped training. Then a letter from Rome arrives, and the Emperor Domitian himself invites Lysandra– or Achillia– to Rome to fight the newly-opened Flavian amphitheatre’s (better known to us as the Colosseum) Gladiatrix Prima, the fearsome and adored Aesalon Nocturna– the Midnight Falcon. Will Lysandra become the gladiatrix she once was and take Rome, and Aesalon, by storm? Or, will the challenge of training be too much?
The book started amazing, and ended amazing. The middle was tense, because you knew that the two women would fight each other, and the POV switching from Lysandra to Illeana (Aesalon Nocturna) made it more exciting. There were also a few subplots that made the story richer, and in the climax, they came together, just like Lysandra and Illeana. The action was VERY exciting, and Russell Whitfield excels when he does fight or battle scenes. The brutal, uncensored gore makes it more real, and gives the fighters a more human side, rather than simply describing the fight as it’s happening. Instead of seeing a wound open, we feel it, as much as the character feels it. We’re not just a part of the screaming Flavian crowd, we’re right there on the sands fighting with our characters.
As with Gladiatrix, a LOT of people die. A LOT. Just when you start to like a character they go and get killed. Or something bad happens to them. You don’t want to become too attached, like the gladiatrices of the Flavian say, in case they get killed. It was also interesting to meet lots of new women fighters, and we see that it’s becoming more popular. And when Lysandra has to introduce and explain who she is to everyone, it’s a knock to her Spartan pride and it makes the reader, and Lysandra, realise that she’s not the most famous person in the world. In fact, when she steps onto the Flavian sands, most people aren’t cheering for her. Since she was so famous in the first book, it’s quite weird to see this.
Lysandra is still the same selfish Spartan that she always was, and it was a flaw that made her realistic. In lots of books, the heroine is perfect, selfless and doesn’t realise she is so amazing. But Lysandra is just like ‘don’t bother flattering me. I already know I’m the best’ and it wouldn’t make sense if she weren’t like that. If she forgave people, it wouldn’t make her the vicious fighter that improves the book. Her patriotism for her homeland drives her to train harder, fight harder and then win, and it’s that factor that makes the book a million times better!
If you get this on Kindle, be warned, there are some formatting errors, which is quite annoying, but it doesn’t take anything away from the actual writing.
Roma Victrix has made me really want to write LOADS of Tacita, so I’m going to do that right now. This was just a warm-up.
So, if you like gory, heart-pounding, fast-paced action, Roma Victrix is the book for you! I give it… 10/10!
Your Roman blogger, Jaz