Review: Mask of the Gladiator by Georgie Lee

Filed in 3 Stars , Georgie Lee , Review , The Needy Lover Posted on February 27, 2012 @ 11:00 am 3 comments

Format Read: e-book provided by publisher
Release Date: Jan. 30, 2012
Publisher: Carina Press
Formats Available: ebook
Length: 17,000 words
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author’s Website, Publisher’s WebsiteAmazon, Barnes & Noble

Book Blurb:

Rome, 41 AD

Livia Duronius is driven to seek out a gladiator after watching him triumph in the Colosseum. His touch arouses a sense of hope she hasn’t felt since Rome fell under the tyrannical rule of Caligula—and her late husband betrayed her. Though in danger of losing more than her heart, she vows to see him again, even after she learns her uncle has arranged her marriage to a senator.

Senator Titus Marius cannot resist indulging in a passionate encounter with the veiled woman who waits for him after the games, though he faces execution if his true identity is discovered. Bound by honor to wed another, and embroiled in a plot to free Rome from madness, he never expects to see the mystery woman again.

When the fates reunite them in the marriage bed, Titus vows to protect Livia at all costs—even from the lecherous eyes of the emperor…

My Thoughts:

This book starts right in the thick of things, opening with a swift and brutal win for a gladiator in a Roman arena. The gladiator is immediately noticed by a widowed matron who is drawn to his raw strength. The two later meet, setting off a chain of events involving the very emperor himself.

It would help to have a little bit of knowledge of Emperor Caligula and the time frame that surrounded his rule. The story gets of to a quick start, and while the cruelty of the leader is very quickly established, there is no exposition to orient–which is to be expected in a story of a shorter length. Basically, either come prepared with the context, or just relax and enjoy the ride. :o)

It did take a little while for me to get into the story, for some reason. I did feel like the early portion of the tale had some mechanical bumps, and the story moved fast–I mean, really fast. Of course, this is a story of abbreviated length (just under 20k words), which necessitates economy of explanation and description. But even the soft, tender moments of budding romance and emotional connection (and the deliciously lusty bits ^_^) moved dizzyingly quickly to me. All told, I didn’t immediately get absorbed into the story, and didn’t ever completely feel connected to the emotional aspects–namely, the romance.

Where the quick pace did work well for me was in relation to the plot against Emperor Caligula. This was particularly the case in the last third of the story, in which the political intrigue takes center stage. Even knowing the historical events surrounding Caligula’s demise, it was quite interesting getting to see that plot thread unfold with excitement and danger laced throughout.

The author certainly did her research, with historical facts mixed in with small, humanistic details that brought life to the setting. Such additions definitely helped provide something to stop and revel in as the plot plowed ahead.

I did enjoy following Livia and discovering the depths of her strength and courage. She herself is like a gladiator, showing support those who prove their bravery and taking steps to defend justice even in the face of grave peril. She was an easy character to like, and to me she stood out against the exciting backdrop of Rome under the oppressive rule of Caligula.

Bottom line: All told, this is an easy read, full of excitement and bits of well-placed detail on a fascinating time period. There’s a decent dose of sensuality laced with intrigue and mystique. It’s very, very fast paced, so expect to breeze through it. You should defiitely check out Stella’s very excellent 5-star review of Mask of the Gladiator for some more insight on this tale.

PhotobucketI give Mask of the Gladiator 3 stars

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

About Alisha

Alisha, the bespectacled and ever nerdy California girl, simply won't leave home without a book in hand. She loves language learnin' and is working toward becoming a bonafide grammar ninja. On any given day you'll find her haunting local libraries or baking scores of cupcakes and sweet treats.

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Join the Discussion
  • aurian February 27, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Still, nice review. I used to read a lot of historical fiction as a young girl, so I do know quite a lot of this time period. But if it does feel rushed, it will not be to my liking.

  • Stella February 27, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    Nice review Alisha, and really interesting how you perceived different aspects of the story I haven’t noticed at all. I had no problem with the lack of background explanation, maybe because of my previous studies. But of course if the story were longer I would have loved to read it on for more pages (sorry if I sound incoherent, I’m way too exhausted *yawns*)

  • Lisa Kessler February 29, 2012 at 1:27 am

    Great review!

    I have this one in my kindle just waiting to be read… 🙂


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