In a realm where one’s magical power determines one’s worth, Lady Everleigh’s lack of obvious ability relegates her to the shadows of the royal court of Bellona, a kingdom steeped in gladiator tradition. Seventeenth in line for the throne, Evie is nothing more than a ceremonial fixture, overlooked and mostly forgotten.
But dark forces are at work inside the palace. When her cousin Vasilia, the crown princess, assassinates her mother the queen and takes the throne by force, Evie is also attacked, along with the rest of the royal family. Luckily for Evie, her secret immunity to magic helps her escape the massacre.
Forced into hiding to survive, she falls in with a gladiator troupe. Though they use their talents to entertain and amuse the masses, the gladiators are actually highly trained warriors skilled in the art of war, especially Lucas Sullivan, a powerful magier with secrets of his own. Uncertain of her future—or if she even has one—Evie begins training with the troupe until she can decide her next move.
But as the bloodthirsty Vasilia exerts her power, pushing Bellona to the brink of war, Evie’s fate becomes clear: she must become a fearsome gladiator herself . . . and kill the queen.- Goodreads
Jumping right into this, I didn’t think I would like this book. For the first 4 chapters, I wasn’t into it. I was having a hard time figuring out how gladiator connected with Evie’s story. But not too long after I mentally said, this isn’t going to work, everything started to work.
Such a great read. What pleased me the most about this book was Evie is a grown woman. 28 years old and not some 17 year old girl trying to get by and have a better life. I loved the fact that this was centered around an adult. But most importantly, I loved Evie.
She was such a likable character; sassy, strong, knowledgeable and not whinny. She did what she had to do to not only to survive but to help those as she can. She was honest with herself and with those, as need be.
Man, she was great and I rooted for her throughout the entire book.
Let’s talk about the gladiator aspect of this book. The author made this an important part of the book but it wasn’t exactly the center. What I mean by this is Evie didn’t jump in being a fighter, therefore, it wasn’t always about blood, swords and fight. This was more of a behind the scenes with fighting that transitions into something more. It was well done and the fighting scenes came you exactly what you want and expect when you think of gladiator. The only thing missing was someone shouting “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!”
Another high point of this book was the romance and the lack thereof. It was great to not have to see two people trying to save the world but also trying to fall in love. Evie knows what she wants; especially after being denied so many things after so many years. However, with this been said, I do suspect that the author will add romance within the next novel. It would honestly make sense after some things not happen.
Once I got through my reading hump in the beginning of the book, I couldn’t put it down and didn’t. I was kept at the edge of my seat as Evie kept growing and kicking butt. Were there twists and turns? After the explosion, not really but that is perfectly okay because you don’t leave this book wanting any other than the second book. I was sucked into this story; between the surrounding characters, the fighting and just genuinely good writing I throughly enjoyed myself.
As much as I love history, this is one of this rare cases, I am glad the author did not spend a lot of time dipping into the past.