Written by: Brooklyn Goodrich
Category: Action, Black Leading Lady, Book Review, Brooklyn's Favourite, Historic, Lesbian Fiction, Period Piece
Tags: Faith L Justice, Raggedy Moon Books
Sword of the Gladiatrix by Faith L Justice is so compelling. I read it so quickly. It’s one of those books I ignored life so I could read it. Now that I’ve finished it I’m just sitting here staring at a wall and all I can do is think about this book. I really appreciated all the work that went into making this book.
Two women who have been enslaved by the Romans come together and find love only to be thrown into the coliseum and forced to fight to the death.
Afra is a huntress from the Kingdom of Kush. Her connection with animals has made her wise and gentle. Her stature and prowess is what saves her from dying in a prison.
I get a sense of great knowledge and compassion from her. She really represented a character I looked up to.
Cinnia isn’t as tall as Afra but she is a warrior from Britannia. Her journey through this story is a rough and cruel one. I admired her strengths and courage. She compelled me to read more so that I could know what becomes of her.
The Writing Style
The story is historical fiction although some scenes are based off of real historical events. The writing is REAL. It dwells on all the right things. Faith L. Justice paints a beautiful picture of Rome without overdoing it all the while sticking to the story.
The characters were strong and I really cared what happened to them. The set up the prologue delivers for the book is genius.
When I say in the writing style this story is REAL. I mean REAL. It gets a little rough at times. Just as any woman who is captured by the Romans Cinnia is raped. It’s not like the book goes into detail but it is confirmed. Other situations include men grabbing their crotches or farting. Animals die as well as men, women, and children.
To me this is not a con that would make me put this book down. I like to see a book with realism. Women get their periods and have hair on their arms and legs and that always seems to be missing from books.
I really liked this book! I cared for the characters a lot and it has tones of realisms in it. The prologue sucked me right in. If your dare pick up this book and read the prologue I am 100% sure u will be intrigued and need to know more just like I did.
Excerpt from Sword of the Gladiatrix by Faith L Justice
“AFRA! AFRA!”THE CROWD IN THE AMPHITHEATER CHANTS MY NAME, calling me forward to kill or be killed for their amusement.
The Romans call me Afra—“woman of Africa”—because they don’t care to wrap their tongues around my real name. Or perhaps the fact that I am named after Amanirenas the one-eyed warrior queen, who wiped out the Roman garrison at Aswan two generations ago, gives them pause. It matters little now.
A slave wraps my lower legs with felted wool and straps a gilded greave to my left shin, because I fight as myrmilla. He smells of sour sweat, as do I. I’ve already fought once today, tested fate, and won. The gold sand that Nero favors in the arena still crusts my hair and rasps the skin under my sweat-soaked breast band. I will go again before the ravenous crowds to satisfy their bloodlust. For what? An emperor’s whim? The crowd’s passing fancy? A sacrifice to their gods?
I swallow the bitter gall that surges into my mouth. Across the room, another slave straps armor on Cinnia, my beloved. She looks at me with pride in her eyes and a brief smile on her lips. We said our goodbyes last night, clasped breast to breast, thigh to thigh, a stolen moment before being sent to our lonely cells. My heart beats an irregular rhythm.
My love. Light to my dark. Fire to my ice.
Cinnia is goddess-given to me; from a land of mists and forests, so different from my country of desert and blistering sun. Without her, I would be dead. Without me, so would she. We have suffered, struggled, lived, and loved. Now we go out upon the sands of the great arena to die. One by her lover’s hands, the other by her own.
It is not the life or death I chose for myself, but it is the one the gods gave me.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9780692386491
- Publisher: Raggedy Moon Books
Faith L Justice Online
Note: I received a free review copy of Sword of the Gladiatrix by Faith L Justice. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.