- Title: The Last Gladiatrix
- Author: Eva Scott
- Genre(s): Historical
- Publisher: Escape Publishing (Harlequin Australia), April 2013
- Source: NetGalley
- Length: 77 pages (or maybe 109? it’s a novella anyway)
- Trope(s): Kidnapped Warrior Woman, Studly Centurion, All the Usual Stock Roman Characters, Insta-Lust, Insta-Love
- Quick blurb: Soldier offers to train a comely captive as a gladiatrix to save her from the shame of becoming a courtesan.
- Quick review: Cheese-fest from beginning to end, with a major “Oh, FFS!” moment that killed the entire book.
- Grade: F
The skin at the back of her neck prickled, as if in warning.
Yeah, that quote in the third paragraph should have been my warning of !!!Cliches & Caricatures Ahead!!! But I kept reading because it’s just a novella, how bad could it be? My status updates (below) sum up how bad it got.
I finished it (because I have enough fortitude to finish a damn novella, dammit), but even before the end of the first chapter, a bit of throw-away characterization made me lose all respect for the story and the author. This is our introduction to the general’s villainous aide-de-camp:
Maximus was slender and fine-boned, like a woman. He also possessed a woman’s love of gossip and — if rumours were true — a woman’s love of men. Yet Maximus did not like him, and Titus was happy to return the sentiment.
WHY was this included? It was completely pointless, because this temporary villain appears in only two additional (and very short) scenes. I’m guessing it was an attempt to make the FLAMING EVIL HOMO a glaring opposite of our MANLY AND OBVIOUSLY VERY HETERO AND MASCULINE AND DID WE MENTION MANLY? HERO, because, you know, how else would we grasp the immensity of his heroically heterosexual manliness? But at least the Flaming Evil Homo doesn’t have the hots for our Hero of Heterosexual Masculinity, because that would just be gross.
Badly done, Escape Publishing (an imprint of Harlequin Entrprises Australia). Badly done indeed.
Read With Me Vicariously: Status Updates
- 18% – Cliche + cariacature + insta-lust while chained = I’m not sure if I can finish this…
- 20% – Loins are heating and unnamed forces are compelling…
- 23% – Dream sex. On a bed of soft golden cloud. Fever pitch, waves of sensation, pinnacle of desire, etc.
- 36% – Primeval masculinity, primordial drums, molten ecstasy and synchronized heartbeats.
- 46% – It’s a trap!
- 69% – An “oh, BARF” moment in the middle of the freaking arena. Sheesh.
- 82% – Uh-oh, hero is summoned by the Senator’s wife. I wonder what she wants… *wink wink*
- 82% – “In his experience women, especially high-born Roman woman, were dangerous – more dangerous than a host of Huns.”
- 86% – Senator’s sexy wife is reclining on a bed eating grapes. I shit you not.
- 100% – Plundering lips. The end.