First off, the cover is beautiful! Caught my attention immediately and the typesetting is good.
The story is set in ancient Rome. Ares accepts a challenge to spend a month as a human gladiator in Rome. The Olympian gods devised the challenge to prove the Romans weren’t as mighty as they (the Romans) thought. Ares’s first act to gain some gladiator glory came in the form of a reenactment of Sabines.
The story flows, although I would definitely recommend boning up on Roman history and Greek mythology so the characters make sense. I am a history buff so I rate it five stars. The author paints an almost tangible picture—as I read, I could see the gladiators in the Coliseum.
The wrench in the works comes dressed as a woman named Eirana, one of many women enslaved by the Romans. This was almost predictable. Typical guy-meets-forbidden-girl-and-must-rescue-her scenario.
Due to the setting, it didn’t come off as cliché as I expected, which was a very pleasant surprise.
Even with my penchant for mythology and general enjoyment of the supernatural, it took me four chapters to really get “into” this book. While the action is fantastic and the scenes are well-written, had I judged it by the very beginning, I would probably not have finished.
Overall I rate this novel three out of five stars, because without a background in mythology the story would be hard to follow. Readable but definitely within the niche of history and mythology buffs who don’t mind a slow build.