NetGalley Review: Curses and Smoke: A Novel of Pompeii by Vicky Alvear Shecter

Arthur A. Levine Books Published May 27, 2014 336 Pages
Arthur A. Levine Books
Published May 27, 2014
336 Pages

Tag is a medical slave back to Pompeii after being in Rome for a few months. He wants to be a gladiator so he can earn his freedom. Lucia technically owns Tag; she is the daughter of his master.  Lucia is being forced to marry a man 45 years her senior although she wants to study science and whatever enters her mind.

Tag and Lucia are old time friends who are no longer children. As their friendship rekindles and something deeper grows, Pompeii growing earthquakes are destroying the life they knew and the life they want. 

I normally don’t review books that I don’t finish but I feel the need to do so now. This book allured me because I love history and this book is full of it. History of Pompeii, facts about slavery and gladiators.

I thought that was a great aspect of the book however, Lucia was an unlikable character for me. She had mix feelings about slaves and although she had a friend and a forbidden love with one she was content with having slave women dress her and bathe her. Lucia really didn’t want to change any of that. The only thing she wanted to change was the fact that she was going to married a old man.

Tag was a interesting character because he was skilled medic and they way the author described him I pictured him as extremely handsome. But he lacked . . . passion for me. But I liked him better than Lucia but he couldn’t hold the book for me to finish it.

The book was dull; I expected more hysteria, earthquakes, and drama. Because I didn’t finish this book it gets no rating.

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